From Former Canton High School to Canton High Apartments

entrances front elevation

The original portion of Canton High School was constructed in 1923, designed by architect N. W. Overstreet (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory).  The Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works funded an addition to the building which was completed November 1, 1937 (Report # 5, Status of completed non-federal allotted projects, Mississippi, January3, 1940).  The project was originally approved in November 1936 (The Daily Herald, November 23, 1936, p. 8).  Overstreet, and his partner, A. Hays Town, were the architects for the new addition.

The total cost of the addition was $148,200, of which $66,690 was funded by the grant.  The original building was

embellished with some Tudor Revival detailing while minimal Art Moderne detailing is evident in the later addition….facade, encompassing both the original building and the later addition, stretches for almost 400 feet.  Overstreet’s rather austere design blends a strong sense of horizontality, which one associates with Prairie architecture, with minimal decorative treatment one finds at the natural juncture points of the building; at the parapet, the windows, and in particular, the entrances. (Nomination form, National Register of Historic Places)

Both the original portion of the building and the addition were T-shaped, with a rectangular front and rear ells.  The original building’s rear ell contained an auditorium and cafeteria; the addition rear ell served as a gymnasium.

The building has not been utilized as a school since it closed in 1969.  The Brownstone Group plans to submit an application for housing tax credits for the acquisition and rehabilitation of the Canton High Apartments I.  Brownstone Group recently redeveloped the former Carr High School on Cherry Street in Vicksburg, which is now the Carr Central Apartments, and the historic Aeolian Apartments on Cherry Street, Vicksburg, which are now the Aeolian Senior Apartments.  In Tallulah, Louisiana, they redeveloped the 1925 Bloom’s Arcade–thought to be the first indoor mall in the US, and also designed by Mississippi’s N. W. Overstreet.

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Categories: Canton, New Deal, Renovation Projects


6 replies

  1. Interesting read.

    One slight correction about the building’s last use: I can’t speak about the remainder of the 1969-70 school year after desegregation was put in place after the Christmas break, but at least for the 1970-71 school year, this building was used as Canton School District’s 7th-grade school. (I was one of those 7th-graders.)


  2. There is a mistake, commonly-repeated, that the Bloom’s arcade in Tallulah was the first indoor arcade. Sorry, that honor belongs to the Westminster arcade on Weybosset Street in providence, RI, dating from 1828 . Here are details and photographs:


  3. I remember it being sold to a furniture company rather than be integrated.


  4. I attended Junior and senior High School in this building. My class was graduated from the stage in 1964.
    Ours was the last segregated class to attend school here. There are a lot of wonderful memories with in its walls and in my heart.
    it is a wonderful feeling that this fine old building will be made useful once again.


  5. I pass by this building often, and have been wondering what it would rehabilitated as. I’ve always admired it and am glad it isn’t being torn down.


  6. Where can I get leasing information I would love this..

    Liked by 1 person

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