MissPres News Roundup 10-5-2015

Well, at our last news roundup, times were good in Mississippi football. This time around, not so much. You win some, you lose some, but as we know in preservation, you must get back on your feet, adjust your helmet, and return to the game. Here’s what else has been happening in our little world the last two weeks.


First, some horrible pictures from Tupelo of the demolition of two sweet Craftsman bungalows on Madison Street, a block north of the library, by First Baptist church. According to the Daily Journal

The two houses and their lots are properties of the First Baptist Church, which plans to turn the area into a green space for the surrounding neighborhood.

“The debris will be carted off Thursday,” said First Baptist associate pastor Lee Allred. “The next step is to level the property and green it up.”

The church’s property committee submitted the necessary tests and paperwork to City Hall late last month to acquire a demolition permit. He estimated the project will be complete in just a few weeks.

Read more . . .


St. Francis Xavier Convent, Vicksburg (1868)

St. Francis Xavier Convent, Vicksburg (1868)

In Vicksburg, the Southern Cultural Heritage Center submitted a grant application for the MDAH Community Heritage Preservation Grant, which was due last Friday. The SCHC occupies the city block-sized campus of the former St. Francis Xavier School and Convent, which contains the antebellum Cobb House, the Academy building (1885, William Stanton), the amazing Gothic Revival convent (1868), elementary building (1936, R.W. Naef), and the Modernist O’Beirne Gymnasium (1955, Jack Canizaro).

According to the Vicksburg Post,

The SCHC needs roof repairs or replacement on the academy building, the gymnasium and the convent totaling $181,500. In the grant, they are asking for $145,200 with the foundation and the community working together to raise the last $36,300 or 20 percent.

Read more . . .

Here’s wishing good luck to the SCHC and all the other applicants for this year’s grant round, which will be announced in early December.


Speaking of the Community Heritage Preservation Grant, work on the Columbus City Hall, partially paid for by CHPG funds, has gotten underway, according to an AP story on MSNewsNOW. The project, which includes new doors and windows (replacing some bad 1960s replacements) and other exterior and ADA work, has already raised some hackles, according to this Dispatch article, “City Hall constrction in violation of ordinance.” Apparently, the construction firm, Burks-Mordecai, has been working two shifts, and neighbors have complained about the noise after midnight.


The MDAH Sense of Place blog continues its “Time and Tide” series on Katrina’s aftermath with two posts that show many before-and-after shots of historic buildings saved and restored with Katrina grant money.


And finally, a little history I didn’t know from a Mississippi State University press release entitled “First female African American MSU architecture grad memorialized.” The Sheila Rene Jackson Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design honors the memory of Sheila Jackson.

In 1984, Sheila Jackson became the first female African American receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture. She went on to a professional design career with the City of Atlanta and Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute, among other organizations.

I wonder who was the first African American male graduate of the School of Architecture?


And really finally, check out this amazing house for sale that just sold on 4.5 acres in Simpson County. Wish I could have toured this one, which combines treehouse, Hobbit, rustic, and round styles into one fabulous creation!

Categories: Architectural Research, Columbus, Demolition/Abandonment, MDAH, Vicksburg


7 replies

  1. The Craftsman Bungalow homes were in Tupelo, not Columbus. However, I fully expect that the M&O RR section house will meet the same fate in Crawford…and there’s not any legal way that’ll stop that juggernut -of- a -town- mayor in building his Crawford Gazebo.


    • Whoops, I blew that, didn’t I? Thanks for pointing it out. I had pictured Tupelo in my head as I was writing, but somehow my hands typed Columbus. I’ve fixed it in the post above to avoid casting aspersions.


      • “… to avoid casting aspersions.”

        I recognize that line! It’s from Woody Allen’s Bananas, where Fielding Melish is on trial, and the first witness against him is a NYC cop.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Have you heard any word from MDAH? You mentioned they wrote a letter but that they hadn’t gotten any response? Anything since then?


      • The Crawford Town Council meets today at 6:00 p.m.. I cannot be there, but I’ll try to find out what Mayor Tolon and city attorney Tim Hudson decided on the future of the M&O RR section house.


      • I received, today, this e-mail from Bill Gatlin at MDAH.

        Mr. Gentry:

        We have received a Notice of Intent from the City of Carwford announcing their intent to sell the M & O section house to the highest bidder. The NOI was signed by Collen Hudson, attorney for the City. The NOI did not include any information about the bid process. If you are interested I suggest you contact Ms. Hudson at 662-328-2711 or PO Box 648, Columbus, MS 39703.Vi

        Crawford’s ZIP code is 39743

        I will be in Crawford Friday and attempt to get more details on the bidding process.
        The section house and property would be a quiet sanctuary for MSU sports enthusiasts and alumnae to relax and lie back between sporting and social events; and it is only a twenty-minute, scenic drive from Crawford to the south Montgomery entrance of MSU via Oktoc road. The section house is located at the end of a dead-end road next to the M&O rail line–very private with, towering pecan tree shading and no other housing on the road. A nice place to bring pets, too. It will be a day if the grain elevator is awarded the bid and demolishes this landmark–that is local rumor. I cannot understand why Rufus Ward and the preservationist in the area are not involved. Two Letters to the Editor of the Commercial-Dispatch went unpublished!


  2. That convent building is sweet, hope they get their grant.


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