MissPres News Roundup 1-26-2015

You know what a two-week gap in news roundups means? Lots of catch-up!


The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation recently gave a $2.5 million gift to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, now under construction in downtown Jackson. This is the largest donation to the Two Museum project so far, according to the Clarion-Ledger. This comes on the heels of a $2.3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a $1 million pledge from Entergy.


According to the Meridian StarMeridian’s City Council was supposed to vote on a proposed re-platting of a site just south of the Poplar Springs Road Historic District for a Family Dollar store. This location appears to be about a block south of the lot that caused controversy a couple of years ago when a Dollar General wanted to plunk a store down at the intersection of Poplar Springs and 24th Avenue. After neighbors banded together to protest this incursion into the residential historic district, the Dollar General opened a new store a few blocks south on 24th Avenue in a more commercial location. I can’t find any follow-up on the Meridian Star to see if the vote took place this last Tuesday as the article indicated it would.

The proposed Family Dollar would be on the right in this Google Streetview image.

The proposed Family Dollar would be on the right in this Google Streetview image.


If you’re in the mood to get your hands dirty and do preservation at the same time, make plans to show up at Rodney in Jefferson County on February 7, 2914, at 7 AM, or 8 AM, or even 9 AM if you’re not an early bird. According to the Facebook event post, bring rakes, gloves, loppers, brooms, and anything else you can think of to help clean up Rodney Cemetery, Rodney Presbyterian, and Mt. Zion Baptist Church.


Volunteers in the Threefoot Preservation Society held their own cleanup of Meridian’s iconic skyscraper, the Threefoot Building, last weekend, as shown in this WTOK video.


I.T. Montgomery House, Mound Bayou (c.1910)If you or someone you know was born, worked at, or was a patient at the Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou, you’re invited to attend the first “T-Babies Sweetheart Ball” on February 14, 2014 at 7:30 PM. This event, sponsored by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor and the Mound Bayou Historic Preservation Commission, will be held at the Fred B. Clark Family Life Center on Highway 161. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased via PayPal at http://www.kdtrestore.org. CONTACT INFO: Email: kdtrestore@yahoo.com or call Devoyce Morris, (662) 719-0090 or Myrna Smith-Thompson (708) 308-3849. Proceeds will support the restoration of the National Historic Landmark I.T. Montgomery House.


white-houseCongratulations to Biloxi’s White House Hotel, recently renovated and reopened after decades of abandonment, for being named to Southern Living‘s “The South’s Best New Hotels 2015” list!

Today, this grande dame of Southern stays is once again taking her curtsey. Guests enter on a dramatic circle drive (parking is in the rear), where a baby blue 1954 Buick Skylark convertible is on permanent display. Inside, you’ll find a lobby bar with white leather couches and low-slung lights. Black-and-white photos of the hotel’s heyday hang on the walls. In the rooms, the minimalist design with a chalk gray color palette and modern, silver furnishings lets the true star shine—the bed, my goodness, the bed!

I’ve had the pleasure of staying at the White House recently, and I can attest to the bed’s amazingness. I slept like a baby, and I am far from being a baby-like sleeper.


Historic Randolph School After, 315 Clark Avenue, Pass ChristianAnother coastal renovation snagged national attention this month on PreservationNation, the blog of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “From Devastation to Revitalization” tells the story of the restoration of the Rosenwald Randolph School in Pass Christian after it was badly damaged in Katrina’s storm surge. We told the first part of the story in our Katrina Survivors series, but the project that took it from battered to beautiful deserves a national audience and I think national awards. Congratulations to all involved!


The Clarion-Ledger’s Jana Hoops gave a nice shout-out to the authors of the Greenwood, Mississippi: Memories series, in her “Greenwood history: Friends united to keep past alive.” Mary Carol Miller, Allan Hammons, and Donny Whitehead (author of the always interesting and helpful Greenwood, Mississippi website) have got three books under their belt, and expect to tackle the 1950s and later in their next two books to bring the series to the nice round number of five. Something unique about the books is the amount of ephemera like restaurant menus, matchbook covers, advertising posters, and the like sprinkled throughout to round out the photos.

What started as an idea for a coffee table book to preserve a few hometown memories of Greenwood’s past has quickly grown to a series expected to include five books, documenting much of the town’s history over the past century-and-a-half — making this Delta community the most thoroughly documented in Mississippi, and possibly the South.

When it’s all said and done, hopefully by the fall of 2016, the five books in the “Greenwood: Mississippi Memories” collection will contain around 1,000 pages and about 3,000 photos of Greenwood life, captured between the late 1800s to the early 1970s. Also scattered throughout the pages are other glimpses of the times, offered through an incredible assortment of collectible memorabilia, including menus, ticket stubs, signs, magazine covers, recital programs, local newspaper headlines and much more.

If you missed their talk at History Is Lunch last Wednesday, you missed the opportunity to buy one or more of the books, but you can pick them up at Lemuria for sure, or many other bookstores around the state.


Another Clarion-Ledger story about the thousands of graves on the campus of University Medical Center in Jackson came out in yesterday’s paper, and although I thought we had covered this before on MissPres, I can’t see any previous posts about it. In a nutshell, these graves date to the site’s occupation for over 80 years by the State Insane Asylum, and UMC is befuddled about what to do about them. It has been known for a long time that there are numerous unmarked graves, which is not surprising given that the asylum housed thousands of patients over its lifetime, but apparently only recently has the full extent of the cemetery become clear. According to “UMMC bound by thousands of bodies buried on campus.”

Thousands of bodies of mental patients remain buried on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and officials are stymied about what to do.

They asked the attorney general’s office for permission to cremate the more than 2,000 bodies found east of the dental school. The office’s opinion was no.

They asked the attorney general’s office for permission to move the bodies, most believed to be from a cemetery outside what was known as the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum. The office said in an opinion that the bodies could be moved — but only on campus.

The problem? There is no room for that many.

Dr. Luke Lampton, chairman of the Board of Health, wants to move the graves to the cemetery out at Whitfield, where the state hospital moved in 1935. The problem? That costs a lot of money. This is what’s called “between a rock and a hard place.”


Way up in the northeast corner of our fair state, the little town of Fulton will be unveiling six historic markers on April 17, an event that will include the unveiling, a gala to raise funds for ongoing preservation projects, and open houses of all six locations receiving markers, according to the WTVA report:

The sites — each of which played some significant part in the area’s history — include Itawamba Community College, Fulton Grammar School, Aeolian Grove, The Cedars (more commonly known as the Gaither House), downtown Fulton and the Catholic church (designating the site as that of an early area church).


And finally, if all of that wasn’t enough reading for you on this Monday morning, check out this history on the Made in Mississippi blog of a distinctive subdivision of Jackson’s Belhaven neighborhood, evocatively named Sylvandell when it opened to development in the late 1920s.

Entrance to Sylvandell

Entrance to Sylvandell




Categories: Biloxi, Fulton, Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina, Jackson, Meridian, Mound Bayou, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Rodney


2 replies

  1. Wow, this is a lot of checking out to do on a day I have to head off to work–the one that pays the bills that is–I am always at “work.” What ever happened on the grant on the ITM house from a couple of years ago? Was anything ever done with that, and if so what? Anyone with news, please give us an update.


  2. Thanks for the shout-out, EL. More Greenwood books are on the way, along with some other possibilities in the pipeline. All the support, from Greenwood and statewide, is much appreciated.


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