MissPres News Roundup 3-23-2015

A few preservation doings over this latest rainy Mississippi week.


The MDAH Historic Preservation Division Facebook page announced on Friday that the Mississippi National Register Review Board has recommended five nominations for listing on the National Register:

  • Confederate Redoubt at Grenada
  • Winona Historic District
  • Lameuse Street Historic District (Biloxi)
  • East Howard Historic District (Biloxi)
  • Upper West Central Historic District (Biloxi)

MDAH notes that these will be forwarded to the National Park Service, which has the final say on the National Register of Historic Places.


According to the Brookhaven Daily Leader, Brookhaven may become a Certified Local Government (CLG), a designation that “extends the federal (National Park Service) and state (Mississippi Department of Archives and History) partnership to any city, town, or county that has enacted a historic preservation ordinance and enforces that ordinance through a local historic preservation commission.”

Barry White with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History told the Board of Aldermen Tuesday in special work meeting that joining te program could help the city receive grant funds to repair the roof of the old train depot on South Whitworth Avenue.

. . . .

The board had concerns about the timeframes for getting certification and applying for grants in time to stop further damage to the roof of the train depot-the need that spurred interest in the program. Other concerns were possible obstacles businesses and homeowners would face when making changes to buildings on their property if that property is part of one of the districts that fall under the preservation ordinance.



The Delta Queen in Memphis, Tennessee in May 2003. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com.

Remember the Delta Queen? Built in 1924, it was the last of the great paddlewheel steamboats on the Mississippi before it was forced to dock in Chattanooga in 2009 because of federal safety regulations. I wrote about the situation back in the early days of this blog:

For those of you who love old steamboats, the National Historic Landmark Delta Queen is the gold standard but its future is in doubt because Congress has refused to exempt it, as it has in previous years, from fire safety standards. It’s been left at the dock in New Orleans since October 2008, and just this month has been moved up to Chattanooga to be used temporarily as a hotel until the owner and its many supporters hope to work out a compromise or regain the exemption.

According to the Times Free Pressthe Delta Queen is leaving Chattanooga for New Orleans, where her new owner, Cornel Martin, plans to spend millions rejuvenating the old girl in expectation that that long-delayed exemption will pass in this year’s Congress, after having once again failed in the Senate last year (Rep. Boehner is a known supporter). New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, and Cincinnati are vying for the designation as her home port.

The Delta Queen is scheduled to start offering three-, four- and five-day trips in 2016 for around $350 per night — the price includes everything except alcohol and shore tours — and could bring in an estimated $20 million per year in revenue to the Delta Queen Steamboat Co.

For her home port city, that translates into about 300 jobs, $13 million in direct economic impact, plus another $30 million to $40 million in indirect impact, Ingram said.

This paragraph struck me especially:

The big condition to the passage of the Safety of the Sea law’s exemption is that her owners replace 10 percent of her wood structure every year with a more fireproof material that satisfies the spirit of the law, which they’ll have to do without destroying the historic character that makes her unique.

Not sure how replacing all of her wood in 10 years will satisfy the spirit of the National Historic Landmark law but . . .


Greenville High School (built 1914, R.H. Hunt, archt.). Photo Jan. 2013.

Greenville High School (built 1914, R.H. Hunt, archt.). Photo Jan. 2013.

The Delta Democrat-Times reports that the old Greenville High School that stands adjacent to the E.E. Bass Cultural Center “may be on the verge of a new lease on life.” The two-story brick building, designed by Chattanooga architect R.H. Hunt in 1914, suffered a roof collapse in the early 2000s after several years of abandonment, but since then it has a new roof and a steel skeleton inside holding it up. Now, according to the article “GHS, New Lease on Life,” efforts are underway to re-create the interior as a performing arts theatre that will build on the success of the E.E. Bass’s larger auditorium space.

Architectural work for the project is being performed by Greenwood-based Beard + Riser Architects. The I-beam endoskeleton erected to stabilize the walls, which was installed before the firm was brought on board, will remain, he said: “It’s a bit tricky, but we’ll find a way to work with it.”

Chicago-based Morris Architects Planners, a firm with a national reputation for expertise in creating intimate and acoustically impressive theater spaces, is consulting on the project.

. . . .
Several members of the E.E. Bass Education and Development Foundation intend to travel to Jackson this week to meet with members of WashingtonCounty’s legislative delegation in a final push for support of the building’spreservation and repurposing.

The foundation has formally submitted a request, its second in two years, for a $6 million allocation from the so-called bond bill, typically one of the final pieces of legislation passed in any given legislative session.


Finally, if you’re a Frank Lloyd Wright fan (and if you aren’t, why aren’t you?), you may be interested in the Wright Society’s Virtual Summit being held online this Wednesday and Thursday.

This event is the first of its kind—an opportunity for 1000+ geographically dispersed Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts to gather online and conveniently watch daily expert interviews (for free) over the course of two days with well-known scholars.

The theme of this first virtual summit is STARTING WRIGHT and we’ll explore Wright’s early roots to gain a deeper understanding of his design genius.

Registration is free, and each session will be streamed for 24 hours only, so don’t procrastinate!

  • March 25, 2015
    Starts 11am EST

    Tim Samuelson: Wright’s early years in Chicago and his connection to this iconic architectural mecca.

  • March 25, 2015
    Starts 11am Eastern

    Margo Stipe: A look at early Wright interiors plus how and why Japanese art prints were so important to him.

  • March 26, 2015
    Starts 11am Eastern

    Pauline Saliga: Was it Sullivan or Wright who had the most design influence over the Charnley-Persky house?

  • March 26, 2015
    Starts 11am Eastern

    Sidney Robinson: How did music, nature, and art inspire Wright’s early design development and philosophy?

  • March 26, 2015
    Starts 11am Eastern

    John Eifler: Insights into Wright’s early designs after restoring over 24 structures spanning his career.

Categories: Biloxi, Greenville, Grenada, MS Dept. of Archives and History, National Park Service, National Register, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Renovation Projects, Schools, Winona


2 replies

  1. All items in this post are good news!!! Thank you for giving us the registration site for the FLLW summit. Looking forward to seeing it. Very astute observation regarding the Delta Queen’s restoration requiring wood replacement with fireproof material. That’s a lot of wood. Take away all the original wood and what do you have?


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