On Thursday, November 14, over 250 preservationists from around the state gathered in Jackson for the announcement of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi for 2013-2014. President Brad Reeves welcomed guests to the historic Cedars, once in danger of demolition and now a community arts center and event venue. Amid loud applause and a rousing performance of the 33rd Avenue High School fight song, Walt Grayson announced that the following historic sites have been placed on the list:
- Mendenhall High School Auditorium
- Isaiah T. Montgomery House, Mound Bayou
- Meridian Police Department
- Merrill-Maley House, Jackson
- Millsaps Hotel, Hazlehurst
- Moss Point Central Fire Station
- Southern Christian Institute, Edwards
- 33rd Avenue High School, Gulfport
- Webster County Courthouse
- West Pascagoula Colored School, Gautier
Followers of MissPreservation will no doubt know that the Mendenhall High School Auditorium is no longer threatened, it is lost, as the Simpson County School District demolished this venerable historic building in October. The Mississippi Heritage Trust and the jury that selected this year’s list back in August felt that, despite its imminent destruction, this important story should be told. Threats to other buildings on the list range from lack of funding to a complete and utter lack of understanding about what makes a building historic and worthy of preservation.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann urged guests to take an active role in helping to save endangered historic resources around the state. “I am committed to preserving the heritage and culture of all Mississippi,” said Secretary Hosemann. “As State Land Commissioner, our Agency works tirelessly to preserve our State lands and protect our natural resources. As Honorary Chairman of this initiative, I look forward to protecting Mississippi’s cultural resources as well.”
Following the announcement, guests enjoyed a bountiful fall dinner, surrounded by children’s artwork depicting the places that matter in Mississippi. Preservationists sipped a specialty cocktail made with Cathead Vodka and mixed by the bartenders from the Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs while tapping their feet to the Mississippi Zydeco music of T.B. Ledford and Dudereaux. As a souvenir of the evening, guests took home their own MHT mason jar and poster commemorating all 90 places that have been listed since 1999.
Exhibits on the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi will tour the state through 2014, stopping at city halls, libraries and visitors centers. The exhibits will be on display at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, the Biloxi Visitors Center and the Mendenhall Public Library through January.
Intrepid preservationists looking to explore Mississippi can sign up to participate in the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most scavenger hunt at www.waymarking.com under MS Heritage Trust.
The Mississippi Heritage Trust was established in 1992 to be a statewide voice for preservation in Mississippi. The organization is the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and works closely with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Main Street Association to save and renew places meaningful to Mississippians and their history.