April is wrapping up quickly – which means that Preservation Month will soon be here. If any Miss Pres readers have events to share for our special month – let us know and we’ll get them on the calendar.
One event we already have seen for Preservation Month comes from our friends in Carthage. They are hosting a Jane’s Walk this coming Saturday, May 4. This is their 2nd year hosting a Jane’s Walk event – and they are one of the smallest communities to take part in the annual event.
Jane’s Walk is an event that honors the legacy of Jane Jacobs who promoted the idea of community and walk-ability. Events are as varied as the places that host them.
Our friends in Carthage are doing a walking tour around the Square with 12 specific stops. At the end of the walk, participants will gather for refreshments and a historical display. The theme of the Carthage Walk is “Out Past is Our Future” – the perfect idea for an event to take place in in Preservation Month.
If anyone ventures to Leake County to take part in the walk on Saturday, take some pictures to share with Miss Pres!
An interesting story out of Jackson about the restoration of some crafted artwork that once adorned the private office and living spaces in the Governor’s Mansion during Governor Ray Mabus’s administration. As subsequent administrations have removed the artwork, the pieces have been in a warehouse for nearly 20 years.
Now, some local artists (including some that worked on the original pieces) are repairing and restoring them for new life as displays in other locations – from the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Mississippi Craft Center. According to the article, the works reflect a period of when a “fresh generation” took an interest in crafts such as quilting, metalworking and woodworking.
The article sparks an interest for Miss Pres because the original pieces were described as “architectural features” in the private wing of the Mansion. While these pieces were not in place long enough to gain historical significance in their own right, it can start an interesting dialogue about what happens to sections of our landmark buildings when administrations change and want to remodel. The artists also see this story as a way to talk about commissioned art pieces and what should happen with them long term.
Down in Laurel, the 90 year old Lauren Rogers Museum has a new addition designed by local architect Michael Foil. The article has a slide show of images featuring the new addition – which looks drastically different than the oldest part of the building. Foil’s interest in working on the addition and the influence of the art museum on him is the major focus of the write-up. Looking at the images, my best guess is that the addition is to the rear of the existing building, connected by a “hyphen” – both of which are good things when it comes to adding onto historic buildings. I do wonder, however, if the new addition otherwise “overshadows” the historic structure, but cannot tell from the images I have seen. Anyone around it in person to tell us about the balance of the old and new in the design?
In Vicksburg, the Beck House is in the news. At a recent Board of Aldermen meeting, the City decided to grant an extension of the owner’s expired building permit to help encourage the stabilization and repair of the dilapidated property. The owner also attempted to appeal the denial of a Certificate of Appropriateness request made to the local preservation commission – but the City did not as the appeal period had expired. The CoA request was to place a metal roof on the house – which the Vicksburg commission said was not keeping with the historic character of the house. They also denied a request to apply stucco to the brick because the brick was starting to deteriorate. The Mayor & Board of Aldermen encouraged the owner to reapply for the CoA – and if denied again appeal within the time period required. To me, it sounds like the preservationists have acted according to their guidelines and the appropriate Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, so I hope that the elected officials recognize that if the appeal does go before them.
An upcoming renovation project in Jackson caught our attention this week. Starting next January, Thalia Mara Hall will get a face-lift worth $5.5 million. Sounds like the work will be focused on the interior spaces – with specific attention paid to the lobby, restrooms and seating. It also sounds like all of the work is planned to be done before Jackson hosts the International Ballet Competition in June 2014. I know we have plenty of Miss Presers in the Jackson area, so I’m sure that we’ll have plenty of eyes on this project once it starts to keep us in the loop.
Also in the Jackson area, the Natchez Trace was featured in a couple of articles as local students spent some time learning some of the history that is associated with the Capital City’s section of the parkway. Specifically, the two articles (here and here) talked about the students’ visit to the Choctaw Agency site. I know that the National Parks are going to take some hits from the budget issues and sequester fall-out, so I’m glad that, at least for now, the Park Service staff who work the Trace could still get students out for a day of history.
If you’re the type to start planning vacations and trips well in advance, you might want to consider joining in on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Mississippi Delta Tour. It will take place in late September / early October and hit sites from Vicksburg all the way up to Memphis. As you would expect, a lot of music related stops (mostly Blues of course) as well as some key Civil Rights sites are slated for the tour. I haven’t looked to see what the pricing is, but would be interested to reading any thoughts on the tour from a Miss Preser who does decide to go along!
Categories: Blues Sites, Carthage, Cool Old Places, Delta, Heritage Tourism, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Laurel, National Park Service, National Trust, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Vicksburg