New Deal in Mississippi: Edgar Lucian Malvaney’s Vaiden High School

Vaiden High School auditorium

E. L. Malvaney’s Vaiden High School has been profiled previously on Preservation in Mississippi for its placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.  Mary Howard and architect Belinda Stewart (2008) wrote the nomination for the

…two and a half story, U-plan symmetrical structure consisting of poured monolithic concrete with a low slope roof hidden behind parapet walls.

Construction began in 1941 after $25,000 was bequeathed to the Vaiden Separate School District by R. C. Weir, and the district purchased the land for $1,000.  Work stopped due to lack of money as a result of the war.  The Works Administration Project No. 7233 completed the construction in 1943.  The concrete for the building was mixed onsite by WPA workers, and carried in wheelbarrows (Howard & Stewart, 2008).

Now named the R. C. Weir Memorial Building, pictures of the interior can be viewed at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory. The auditorium projected forward, with a separate entrance, and had two connecting classroom wings, typical of the U-plan (Howard & Stewart, 2008).  The auditorium doors featured pedimented stucco surrounds, and four square columns front the entrance.  The interior of the auditorium, restored in 2009-2009 with a grant from MDAH and funds raised by the town, contained “several hundred opera seats” and a full stage, with hardwood floors.  The school remains the only Art Moderne architecture in Carroll County, and it has not been used as a school since 1999.

Categories: New Deal, Schools, Vaiden


2 replies

  1. Wow! My high school did not look like this! Hope some of the graduates will see this post and be so happy they had the privilege of attending one of Mississippi’s prettiest high schools.


  2. My Aunt Shula Armstrong taught there for many years. It was indeed a beautiful school.


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