Well, now that the Legislature has finally gone home, we can look around at what’s been going on around the rest of the state.
The Clarion-Ledger had a nice long article about the recent seven-year renovation of Galloway Methodist Church in downtown Jackson. The temple-front, neoclassical building was built in 1913 by Jackson contractor I.C. Garber and designed by Chattanooga architect R.H. Hunt, both of whom have been featured here on MissPres. The structure was completed in 1916, so is celebrating its centennial this year. In addition to creating an acoustical shell for the choir, the work included the insertion of wheelchair ramps, which uncovered some interesting history:
“We removed the steps in the balcony to widen them,” Shelton said, “and we saw that on one of the steps, a worker had dipped his finger into the paint stain and recorded the date. It was November 11, 1915, and we removed it exactly 99 years later on November 11, 2014. It’s a reminder of what we call the communion of the saints. The fact that his finger had touched that wood — for me — was a holy moment in that discovery.”
Up in Tupelo, according to the Daily Journal, the Thomas-Kincannon-Elkin Building, a contributing building in the Downtown Tupelo Historic District, has come under scrutiny from the city council after the city’s Code Enforcement division declared it a menace. But owner Thomas Carter claims he is being harrassed and that he has had an engineer sign off on the building’s structural soundness. There’s also something about a conspiracy to devalue the building so that a nearby restaurant could acquire it for cheap to add a little excitement to an article about a city code enforcement issue.
According to the Neshoba Democrat, Philadelphia (Miss.) hosted a historic marker unveiling recently for the former Booker T. Washington High School, once the town’s black high school. The one-story brick building, designed by Meridian architect L.L. Brasfield and built in 1948, was part of the state’s Equalization Program, designed to equalize segregated school facilities in order to fight integration.
Booker T. Washington School was constructed on Carver Avenue in 1948. It closed in 1970 due to integration.
It is now utilized as a Headstart Center and for parks and recreation programs.
The Booker T. Class of 1965 worked 18 months from the initial application to the approval for the marker on June 15, 2015 by the state.
“It was a long journey fraught with many twists and turns, nevertheless, it was worth the effort,” the class said.
“This marker is a physical manifestation of the hopes and dreams of our people. Our aspirations nurtured within Booker T. Washington High School walls changed the world for generations to come. As we fade into history, this marker will keep the memory of Booker T. Washington High School alive for years to come.”
A larger, private school for African Americans, Piney Woods School in Rankin County, was influenced by Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of teaching the mind and the hands. Today, its century-long legacy has fallen on its new president Will Crossley, the first graduate to lead the school in its history, profiled in the Clarion-Ledger article “Pupil to President:
The largest of only four historically African-American boarding schools left in the country, Piney Woods was founded in 1909 in an old sheep shed. Today the 2,000-acre campus includes a 500-acre instructional farm, five lakes, managed timberland and Mississippi’s only rock garden amphitheater. There are approximately 130 students on campus, which makes for class sizes of around 15 for Francine Haig-Jones, Piney Woods’ social studies chairwoman for grades nine through 12.
The home of Jackson architects Roy and Anne Marie Decker of Duval Decker Architects has won the 2016 National Housing Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and will be presented at the AIA national convention in Philadelphia (Pa.) in May. According to the Mississippi Business Journal:
The AIA Housing Awards program is a national peer-reviewed competition the association established to recognize the best in housing and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life. The AIA selected 10 projects in three categories, with the Oak Ridge House being selected for the category of One/Two Family Custom Housing.
The jury, consisting of highly regarded professionals from around the country, called the project an “understated, well designed home,” and remarked on the designers’ use of the natural materials slate and pecan.
Read more and see photos. . .
One of my favorite National Historic Landmark homes in Natchez, “Auburn,” is celebrating the completion of a major renovation of its kitchen and service wing. Located to the rear of the main house, and separated as most Southern kitchens were in that era, the c.1812 two-story building has not really been open for tours, but now it can be, after a Community Heritage Preservation Grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 2013.
Though the finishing touches are still missing, [Auburn Antebellum Home President Clark] Feiser said the dependency would have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. April 28.
It’s finished, but it’s not furnished the way we eventually want to have it furnished,” Feiser said. “Not only do we have to get the money for it, but we have to find the items.:
Feiser said the upstairs furnishings, which would reflect typical furnishings of a servant’s quarters from the house’s period, would be part of the home’s budget.
A few items are also needed downstairs, Feiser said, which will show the building’s historic use as a 1830s kitchen.
If you have relatives from the Vicksburg area, as I do, you’ve no doubt heard about the devastating tornado that ripped through downtown Vicksburg on December 5, 1953. But I had never seen these photos posted to the Vicksburg, MS Facebook group recently.
And last but not least, a story out of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that touches on Mississippi history: “Wood found in Arkansas thought to be remains of cross left in 1540s.” Apparently, journals from the Hernando de Soto expedition indicate that he and his men erected a large cross at a friendly Indian village called Casqui, now the site of Parkin Archaeological State Park in Cross County, Arkansas. An early excavation in 1966 found a post thought to be the cross, but a recent dig has uncovered more clues.
After clearing the wooden post, Mitchem and his team found the outline of a large posthole about 35 inches in diameter. They also found that the pit reached more than 5 feet below the surface — another indication that it was the mounting for the cross. Mitchem also found several Indian pot shards.
“The best indication we could have is if the carbon-14 testing says it’s from 1541,” he said. “But that wood may not be enough to tell.”Everything about it, though, indicates it is his cross,” Mitchem said. “The location, the baldcypress used and the Spanish artifacts we found there. Everything points to the fact that it is what we believe.”
Mitchem said he will take the findings to David Stalhe, a tree-ring specialist at UA, on Monday to determine the post’s age.