As you know, we at MissPres are fascinated by concrete block and all the forms it took before it became boring old cinder block. Lately, I was driving around McComb and noticed a number of very finely detailed concrete-block houses, and it was such a fine day that I stopped to take a few pictures.
When I got back to Jackson, I went digging for information to see if there was a concrete-block manufacturer in McComb that would explain this widespread use of the material, and I found a paragraph in a document at MDAH called “Historic Resource Survey Report, McComb, Pike County, Mississippi” by David Preziosi of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, dated 7/20/2011:
B.V. Slader came to McComb in 1904 and established a modest contracting and building business. McComb was not expanding as rapidly at that time as it did in later years, but Mr. Slader secured his fair share of work. In 1906 Mr. Slader added to his equipment molds for the manufacture of concrete building blocks, and the amount of that material employed in the constructiong of McComb residences and business buildings indicate that his business was more than ordinarily successful. General concrete construction, curbings, sidewalks, floors and other work, including foundations, were also done by Slader’s company. Mr. Slader’s plant developed as the needs of McComb and surrounding communities demanded his products. In addition to standard concrete work his company was also able to make artificial art and building stone, of every description, special detail stone of intricate design and pattern. Among the notable achievements of the plant are the great Corinthian columns of the First Baptist Church. [I don’t quite understand the use of the present tense here since the church was demolished long ago.] The plant also turned out a great variety of patterns of art stone, building stone, vases, columns, light posts, ornamental brick, window sills and caps, and numerous other products. Many of those materials were used on buildings in McComb.
Want to become a concrete block nerd? Read on!
- When Concrete Blocks Were the Latest Fad, Part 1
- When Concrete Blocks Were the Latest Fad, Part 2
- Concrete Block Structures of Biloxi, Part 1
- Concrete Block Structures of Biloxi, Part 2
- In Praise of Masonry Screens
Categories: Architectural Research, Industrial, McComb
Basil V Slader’s memorial is at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Slader&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=92698142& He incorporated the business in 1916. http://www.bizapedia.com/ms/B-V-SLADER-SON-INCORPORATED.html He sounds like a real innovator. Very nice find!
Thanks Mr. Malvaney for the interesting article – answers some questions I have had, but never quite knew how to pursue. And thanks john c for the additional information.
You are kind, Mr. Cox. I am not sure that knowing about Mr. Slader adds anything to the architecture. That may be a pathetic fallacy on my part, pure and simple.. However, I am amazed that someone born in England (and there for a number of years after his birth in 1869) could then come to the USA and, after that major innovation in his personal life, tackle innovating in his trade as Slader did. I suppose I transfer a bit of that amazement at him to the structures shown us today. IIf that is a logical error, I guess I will live with it: more importantly, neither the structures nor Slader will suffer for it. .
Oops — forgot the source: http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gl=allgs&gsfn=Basil%20V&gsln=Slader&gss=seo&ghc=20
Does the information you provided add anything to the architecture? Perhaps not. But it is the human interest regarding the players that adds immensely to our appreciation of the architecture and her varied elements. I happen to know the gentleman who posted the photographs of Mr. Slader’s tombstones – Larry Ray, and plan to have further conversations with him. Also, I shared the initial post on FB, and have since learned that my wife’s deceased uncle and his father actually worked for Slader. You just never know.
I suspect you have many interesting thoughts and reflections ahead. The long reach of coincidence exceeds, I think, all the influence and grasp of Adam Smith”s “invisible hand”. And a post following yours might indicate where your wife’s relatives reported to work for Sadler.
Mr. Slader’s shop was located on the corner of 7th St. and La. Ave.
Thank you for sharing these gems with us! Its amazing that they all have remained unpainted, which is great to see. The window hoods are an interesting feature I don’t believe Ive seen before.
There is another great concrete block house on Delaware Avenue that was being rehabilitated last time I was in McComb.
There is a post card of the two story house in the MDAH Cooper Postcard Collection.
It used to have a third story tower with crenelation on top. I’m glad to see the house still stands but now worry about for how long
What a great image to compare with the house today! Love that Cooper Postcard Collection! I think the house on Delaware is in the photo spread above, the house with the concrete patio out in front that has been turned into a restaurant very recently?
The house on Delaware is the structure with the massive patio? Wow I wish I would have stopped to take a photo that day before that thing was added. You would think its a minor change but I didn’t even recognize the building because of it. When you said they were the same building I thought the photos might have been of the rear elevation I had never seen before.
The Cooper Postcard Collection is a great resource, especially now being digitized for for everyone with computer access to utilize and enjoy. But I still rather see the buildings in person!
Quiz time! Speaking of concrete, we all know it’s made of portland cement in powder form plus sand and gravel of various sizes, along with some water to get the chemical reaction known as hydration going. SO what do cinders have to do with it. Why do they call ’em “cinder”blocks?
My understanding is the use of cinders, also known fly ash, is where the name comes from. If you were not making block you would just call the mix cindercrete. “Cinders” are usually added to the mix to increase strength, and decrease weight.
Cinders were also free. Where as a filler, such as sand, cost money.