Itta Bena Craftsman

This week’s foray into Mississippi’s wealth of Craftsman bungalows takes us to Itta Bena.

Itta Bena, Itta Bena, Itta Bena.

You can hardly keep from saying it over and over, like Nitta Yuma or Yalobusha or Tchoutacabouffa.

Anyway, back to Itta Bena.

These two little beauties stand near each other in Itta Bena’s historic district, which was listed on the National Register in 2009. The peach one is at 308 Lamar, just south of First Baptist Church. According to the National Register nomination, it was built around 1920. Even though it has a very simple boxy shape, it has lots of interesting textures and geometries going on, with its exposed rafters, triangular knee braces, paneled gable ends (maybe an imitation of half-timbering?), paired boxed columns atop brick piers that grow up out of the ground, and those really unusual stacked-brick balusters.

The bungalow a block away at 206 Main Street is a close cousin, with a wider gabled dormer and a hip roof porch, but still sporting the exposed rafters, paired and tripled battered posts atop brick piers. Instead of the triangular braces in the dormer as at the Lamar Street bungalow, here we see demure decorative purlins, and notice how the vertical window lights contrast with the horizontal louvered vents at each end of the dormer. While the peach bungalow has 9/1 windows (9 lights in the upper sash and one big one in the lower sash), this Main Street bungalow has a more complex Craftsman-style window that you can see in the dormer and peeking out on the right side, with 8 unequal lights, vertically oriented, in the upper sash above one big lower sash. The National Register nomination estimates this house was built closer to 1930.

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Can’t get enough of Craftsman?



Categories: Architectural Research, Itta Bena

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6 replies

  1. I really like those paired boxed columns–there is something about the similarity of the lines, and yet the pairings look so cool on top of the sturdier column. Was the screening of the peach porch probably a later alteration?

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  2. A new construction right down our street on Eastabuchie Road ( bet ‘ya know where that is due to such a name). It’s a 2-story home with brick piers, tapered columns, etc. This home has a detached garage also that has been worked into the harmony of the style. I can’t wait until it’s finished. Going to stop by soon and welcome the new neighbors–hoping for a brief tour. haha
    ALSO: it may not fit into the sheer rhythm of saying Itta Bena, but I get the same type feel when I say Toomsuba !

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  3. In the process of deconstructing the 1922 Greenwood bungalow that my grandparents owned, a little research showed that the likely builder was a fellow named Z.O.Keenum. He apparently did a lot of the still-stunning Craftsman work in the Strong Avenue and Congress Heights neighborhoods of that era; my almost-always-reliable 94-year-old source, Mary Charlotte Clarke, knows that he built their South Boulevard house and most likely the one we took down. I just wonder if he was also building homes in Itta Bena at that time. So many talented folks who’s names have been lost to history.

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  4. 206 Main Street house was my great-grandparent’s home. It originally had two stories but the top story was lost in a fire. The rebuild was probably in the 20’s.

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