If you were not able to make it to the Modern Meridian Tour last Saturday, you really missed out on a special opportunity to see some places not generally open to the public.
The morning started in the Crestwood Elementary School(1965, Chris Risher) with introductions from Jennifer Baughn, Chief Architectural Historian for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Dr. Michael Fazio, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Mississippi State University.
From Crestwood two Risher designs; the Travel Inn (1957) and the remains of the RedHot Truck Stop (1955) were seen as a drive by on the way to the next stop: the Congregation Beth Israel (1964, Risher).
Next was a tour and spaghetti lunch at the Calvary Baptist Church. (1962-63 Dean & Pursell)
The after lunch stop was Hope Village (1962+ Risher). This property is a home for abused and neglected children so it is rarely if ever open to the public. The caretakers were gracious enough to allow the tour not only on to the campus but also through one of the dormitories.
Lolly Barnes did such a good job keeping the tour on schedule there was time for an unexpected stop at the PWA Meridian High School (1936 Krouse and Brasfield) and the NYA Ross Collins Career and Technical Center (1942 Krouse and Brasfield) to view examples of an earlier generation of Meridian Modern.
The last stops of the day were in Downtown Meridian. A walk past the Vise Clinic (1947 Risher) led us to the Meridian Police Station (1975-77 Risher). This amazing building is in surprisingly good shape for being abandoned. It probably has fewer roof leaks than the “brand new” Meridian Police Station in the old Kroger. It is a purpose-built police station, but with the right mindset there are hundreds of options for the structure’s adaptive reuse.
Barbaree Rosenbaum Heaster who not only graciously guided a tour through the Congregation Beth Israel but opened her home for a reception at the end of the day. No ordinary home, her condo is in the three-story Rosenbaum Building (1900 Walter Chamberlin & Co.) Originally built by her grandfather , she rehabilitated the structure into condominiums a little over ten years ago. With a cool Post Modern interior(future Post Modern Meridian Tour anyone?), it has great views of downtown, including the Kress Building (1934 Edward F. Sibbert) which MSU is in the process of… um…”restoring” by removing significant elements of the building.
If you were not on the tour last Saturday you surely missed out. The ability to see inside of buildings we’ve heard so much about was wonderful, and the tip of Meridian’s Modern architecture iceberg has only been touched. If now you are wishing you made the trip don’t worry there was talk of another tour in the spring, so stay tuned to MissPres.
Categories: "To . . . and Back", Churches, Civil Rights, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Heritage Tourism, Historic Preservation, Meridian, Mississippi Heritage Trust, Modernism, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Preservation People/Events, Recent Past, Renovation Projects, Schools