On Thursday, October 22, the Mississippi Heritage Trust will announce the 10th listing of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi at the Lowry House in Jackson, once endangered and now undergoing a remarkable transformation.
Is there a historic place in your community that is in danger of being lost? Is this place worth fighting for?
Please share your story with us at www.ms10most.com.
Elbert Hilliard*Ken P’Pool*Governor William F. Winter
Brad Reeves*Stella Gray Sykes
Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi for 2015 will be selected by a jury of preservationists from around the state. The deadline for submitting nominations is July 31.
Categories: Abandoned Mississippi, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation
Don’t know if the M&O Rail Road Section House in Crawford is worth the time of the folks at MDAH, but I submitted a Letter of Intent back in May when I learned that Mayor Tolon of Crawford had concluded a “done deal” to convey title of the section house to Tom Soyoa Grain Company of West Point. The Town of Crawford gained possession of the property by deed from Wells Fargo, after foreclosing on the 1,9 acres which included mid-1800s house. I was told that the Mayor was negotiating on the basis of swapping title to the property for something of equal value. I appeared before the town council meeting on the first Tuesday of May to mayor the “done deal” and to inform of the protocols that must be met before conveying public property to private ownership–the Letter of Intent. The mayor is a retired Mississippi National Guardsmen and knows that this is no way to handle the disposal of government property.The town attorney, Coleen Hudson, was present during the exchange with the Mayor Tolon and said nothing. The mayor denied that it was a “done deal” but offered no further explanation; instead he turned to his secretary and told her to list the property in “classified ads.” I then filed a Letter of Intent with the MDAH via USPS with signature confirmation. I never received the signature confirmation and the tracking number revealed zilch. I had sent an e-mail to Ms. Anderson earlier explaining the situation in Crawford. She replied that “it sounded like the building had undergone extensive alteration of the floor plan” and may not qualify. I don’t know where she got that information, but it is inaccurate. Having the sinking feeling that MDAH was doing nothing and the fact that the bidding closing date was 6July2015, I called Ms. Anderson office and left a message. I never received a reply. At that point, I contacted the State Auditor’s office. with my concerns. I received an immediate response and met with a field agent. The field agent told me in a follow up call to his office that the mayor told him the sale would go through if Ms. Hudson gives him the green light to conduct the sale. The next day a small 3″x2″ ad was placed in the mayor’s office window, along with other clutter.
Bottom line: I received word that the mayor had tabled the sale of the property and that Tim Hudson, Coleen’s father with Sims & Sims Law firm, was to “look into the legal matter.”
Hats off to the State Auditor’s office.
Last week Mayor Tolon of Crawford was given the “green light” by Sims & Sims of Columbus to sell the M&O Section House through a sealed bid process, but limiting the participants to only the three who had previously submitted bids from cancelled sale. I suspect that Tom Soya Grain Company ended up with the high bid. I sent two comments to the Auditor’s office informing them that MDAH had reviewed the M&O Landmark and sent a letter to the mayor offering to set up a meeting with the mayor and interested parties to review the building’s future. I never heard from the Auditor’s office. I asked that the “under-the-table” “done dealings” that the mayor conducted with Tom Soya be investigated. No response from the office. Part of that “done deal” involved the transfer of “something of value” to the town of Crawford in exchange for deed and title transfer of the house and property to Tom Soya. I never received a response from the auditor’s office or their field agent. he Mayor of Crawford never submitted a Letter of Intent to MDAH after my two appearances before the board. A law with no teeth is no law at all–it’s window dressing for public consumption! I’ll try to get MDAH permission to post the letter that was sent to Mayor Tolon.
What does the $ 200,000,000 building boom mean for Ole Miss architectural landscape. More ethnic cleansing?