To celebrate the beginning of the Natchez Pilgrimage, the grandmother of them all, this weekend, I’m posting this beautiful full-color map I came across in Mary Carmack Cunningham’s master’s thesis, The development and appreciation of historic architecture at Natchez, Mississippi, completed in 1937 at George Peabody College. To ensure that the words would be readable, I scanned the map at a high resolution and stitched it together, and I highly recommend viewing it in its full 119 mb glory on Flickr, which you can do simply by clicking the photo below.
Apart from a couple of exceptions (oh how I wish Homewood and Windy Hill Manor were still with us!), all of the pilgrimage sites depicted on the map are still around and many are still on tour. You can also see a few different names, especially for the house now known as “The House on Ellicott’s Hill” but formerly known as “Gilreath Hill Tavern” and later “Connelly’s Tavern.” In fact, that poor house has had so many names, it should probably just adopt a symbol like the artist formerly known as Prince did.
The map designers, J.T. Liddle, Jr., and Harry E. Weir, particularly interested me since they were young Mississippi architects who had worked with A. Hays Town on the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) in Natchez in 1933-34. This HABS work was a formative experience in Town’s career, and I think must have also had an impact on the junior architects who were busily engaged measuring the antebellum mansions of Natchez during the depths of the Depression.
This is what the MDAH Historic Resources Database has to say about the two men, who both eventually established their own practices in Jackson.
J.T. Liddle (1906-1967): Born in Slidell, LA, graduated from Tulane University with a B. Arch in 1927. Worked as a designer and draftsman for P.J. KROUSE, Meridian (1927-28), Chief Draftsman for Carey & Dowling, Mobile, AL (1928-31), and as an architectural engineer for the U.S. Treasury Dept., Procurement Division, Jackson, MS (1935-42). He also worked with A. HAYS TOWN on the first HABS documentation team for Mississippi, 1933-1934. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve in WWII, 1942-45, but returned to Jackson, working in the office of N.W. OVERSTREET & ASSOCIATES, 1945-1948, before forming a partnership with PETER J. TROLIO, which lasted until Trolio’s death in 1951. At that time, Liddle began independent practice, with associated architect CHARLES P. MCMULLAN, who had been with the firm since 1949, and who joined him as a full partner in 1954. VANCE D. CLEMMER worked in this office, 1954-56. GEORGE L. BROCK was an associate in the late 1950s. Liddle joined the AIA in 1947, at which time he lived at 916 Whitworth, Jackson. He traveled extensively, to S. America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as within the United States. Married in 1941, he had three children and was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson. He served as president of the MS AIA in 1951. In 1956, he resided at 132 Ridge Dr. (see 049-JAC-4628) and had his office at 3100 Old Canton Road. He was a friend of Gov. Ross Barnett (1960-64). See American Architects Directory, 1956.
Harry Edmiston Weir (1907-1979): Born in Clifton, TN, he attended Cumberland University, but only for two years (1926-28). He was a draftsman for FRANK FORT in 1930, for N.W. OVERSTREET in 1936, and with R.W. NAEF, 1936-1941. In the interim, he also worked with A. HAYS TOWN on the first HABS documentation team for Mississippi, 1933-1934. During WWII, he served in the U.S. Army, 830th Engineering Battalion (AUS), earning 4 Battle Stars, a Bronze Star, and a French Croix de Guerre. Returning to Jackson, he became a partner in BIGGS, WEIR, & CHANDLER in 1946. He served as president of the MS AIA in 1948. He was married in 1939 and had three children, residing at 1832 St. Ann in 1956, with an office at 336 Meadowbrook Rd. He published a plan in <i>Tomorrow’s Schools Today</i> in 1955. see also BIGGS, WEIR and BIGGS, WEIR & CHASTAIN. See American Architects Directory, 1956.