Cataloguing Mississippi for HABS: Early Recording Efforts

This is the appendix to a three-part series by Virginia Price, originally presented as a paper at the 2009 meeting of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians in Jackson, Miss. See Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.


Appendix 1. Early Recording Efforts: The following list of buildings and sites was taken from documents in Record Group 515 at the National Archives. Twelve buildings were recorded through measured drawings in the 1930s, and in 1939 additional places were considered. The resulting list, entitled “Structures Proposed for Measurement,” was compiled by the state office led by District Officer Emmett J. Hull. Of those places identified only the Hope Villa (HABS No. MS-46) was drawn by HABS. Many on the list were photographed for the collection, although twenty-eight of them were never recorded at all.

The first twelve were assigned HABS Nos. MS-17-1 (Rosalie) to MS-17-11 (House at 311-13 Market Street, Natchez). They include: Rosalie, Shamrock (Vicksburg), Chapel of the Cross (Mannadale), Gilbreath’s Hill Tavern (Natchez), Gloucester (Natchez vicinity), D’Evereux (Natchez), Vancourt House (Natchez), Arlington (Natchez), Arrighi (Natchez), Linden (Natchez), and the House at 311-13 Market Street. The twelfth was a map of the city of Natchez (HABS No. MS-17-12).[18]


The list was compiled on December 9, 1939; the list of buildings measured was followed by a list of those photographed, a list which added another 152 buildings to the documentation totals. In 1940 Charles Peterson recommended that ten sites in Vicksburg be photographed: Shirley House, Willis House, Luckett House, Balfour House, Klein House, Allein House, Plain Gables, Warren County Courthouse, and the Blakely House and gin. Of these, all but the Willis House and the Allein House have been recorded. By July seven more numbers were assigned, adding four more sites in Natchez plus the Catholic Church in Port Gibson, the Gillis House in Biloxi, and the Saucier House in Bay St. Louis. No. 38 (the Burris House in Columbus) and No. 56 (Lakewood near the Alabama border) were referred to in later correspondence as MS-17-21 and MS-17-22 respectively.[19]

Structures Proposed for Measurement (c.1939)

Adams County


1. Marsh Hall
2. Lawyer’s Row
3. Herman Blennerhasset
4. Conti House
5. Laurel Hill
6. Auburn
7. Hope Villa
8. Belmont
9. Pine Ridge Church
10. Old Catholic Church
11. Trinity Church
12. Choctaw
13. Green Leaves
14. Dunleith
15. Airlie
16. Henderson or Britton Home
17. The Elms
18. The Oaks
19. Brandon Hall
20. Longwood (“Nutts Folly”)


21. Cowles Meade Home
22. Jefferson Military College
23. Old Brick Church

Alcorn County


24. Elgin

Carroll County


25. Malmaison

Claiborne County

Port Gibson vicinity

26. La Cache

Harrison County

Biloxi vicinity

27. Beauvoir

Hinds County


28. Chapel, Mississippi College


29. The Julian House
30. Old Baptist Church
31. Col. Power’s House
32. Old State Capitol


33. Peyton House
34. Courthouse

Jackson County


35. Pollock Home

Jefferson County


36. Presbyterian Church

Lafayette County


37. University

Lowndes County


38. Burris Home
39. Home of General S.D. Lee
40. Waverley

Madison County


41. The Rucker Home
42. The Priestly Home
43. Comfort Home
44. The Harvey Home
45. Percy Parker Home


46. Anderson House
47. Cauthern House

Marion County

Columbia vicinity

48. Ford House

Noxubee County

Between Macon and Brooksville

49. Soule Chapel (Cockrell’s Church)

Pontotoc County

50. Lochinvar

Tippah County


51. Blue Mountain

Warren County


52. John A. Klein Home
53. Blakely
54. Wexford Lodge (Shirley House)

Washington County


55. Longwood

Near Alabama border

56. Lakewood

Back to post 18 Malvaney’s note: This map appears to be the basis of the full-color 1934 Natchez Pilgrimage map published by Mississippi architects J.T. Liddle and Harry E. Weir, who both worked on the HABS team in Natchez in 1933-1934. The map is featured at “Natchez Pilgrimage 1934.”

Back to post 19 See RG 515 HABS, Records of the District Officer, District and State Correspondence, Box 2, Mississippi folder, and RG 515 HABS, State Organizational Files, 1933-50, Mississippi, folder 3 & 4, both at National Archives and Records Administration, College Park.

Categories: Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic Preservation, Natchez


1 reply

  1. From Mimi Miller of the Historic Natchez Foundation:

    “Marsh Hall stood at the southwest corner of N. Commerce and Jefferson and fronted N. Commerce. I have attached two photos. The house survived until the 1960s when it was demolished. The first photo is a mid-20th century photo. The second photo is by Henry Gurney and dates to ca. 1866. The house was named for the Cyrus Marsh family who once owned it.

    I am sure that Herman Blennerhasset should be Harmon Blennerhasset. He had a great mansion on what is now known as Blennerhasset Island in the Ohio. He was involved in the Burr conspiracy which cost him everything. He re-established himself in Claiborne County, Mississippi, where he named his plantation La Cache. Ultimately Blennerhasset returned to Europe and died in Ireland. Correspondence in the Winthrop Sargent papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society documents the strong relationship between Blennerhasset and Winthrop Sargent and Blennerhasset’s role in the evolution of Gloucester in Natchez.
    I think I may have heard someone in Port Gibson mention Blennerhasset with some building other than the plantation La Cache but I am not sure.”

    Liked by 1 person

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