Two Architects Nominated for Mississippi Hall of Fame

William Nichols' Old Capitol (1836-1839)

William Nichols’ Old Capitol (1836-1839)

From the MDAH website this week. Two of our favorite architects, William Nichols (1780-1853) and N.W. Overstreet, are among the 47 nominees for consideration by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to the Mississippi Hall of Fame. William Nichols came to Mississippi after designing the North Carolina and Alabama state capitols, and he left us with our Old Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and Lyceum, to name just his three Greek Revival National Historic Landmarks. Overstreet became the “Dean of Mississippi Architects” in the 20th century, probably designing more schools, courthouses, armories, and commercial buildings in his almost 60-year career than any other architect in our history, schooling many Mississippi architects in his firm, helping found the Mississippi chapter of the AIA, and introducing Mississippi to Modernism for good measure.

Taken on the face of it, both Nichols and Overstreet are worthy of recognition in the Hall of Fame, but I understand (although it’s not mentioned here) that only five people from this list can be put on the list in each election, and elections only happen every five years. This is indeed a strong list and seems like a competition between apples and oranges. You could choose just five from the arts without any trouble, or five from the civil rights period, or five African Americans, or a number of other categories, and not go wrong. It doesn’t sound like public input other than the nominations is part of the process.

For more information about our two nominees and a list of their designs that still impact Mississippi, see the MDAH Historic Resources Database for William Nichols and N.W. Overstreet

Bailey Junior High School, Jackson (Overstreet & Town, 1937)

Bailey Junior High School, Jackson (Overstreet & Town, 1937)

Mississippi Hall of Fame – posted October 10, 2016

More than forty nominations have been received for the 2016 class of the Mississippi Hall of Fame, which honors women and men who made noteworthy contributions to the state’s history.

“We are excited to have such a strong slate of nominees for the Hall of Fame,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “This list shows the deep and far-ranging nature of the accomplishments of these Mississippians.”

A technical issue may have prevented some online nominations from being received. If you nominated someone but do not see them in the list below, contact MDAH by Friday, October 28, at or 601-576-6998.

The Hall of Fame contains 131 distinguished Mississippians, including Gulf Coast artist Walter Anderson, author Eudora Welty, civil rights hero Medgar Evers, Choctaw chief Pushmataha, early feminist Nellie Nugent Somerville, physician Arthur C. Guyton, and federal judge Burnita Shelton Matthews. The most recent additions, elected in 2011, were medical pioneer Arthur Guyton, civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, groundbreaking judge Lucy Somerville Howorth, author Walker Percy, and musician Muddy Waters.

Any Mississippian—native or adopted—deceased at least five years may be nominated for the Hall of Fame. Nominees will be voted on by the Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History at a special meeting on December 2 in Jackson.

The list of Hall of Fame nominees is as follows:
John Alexander
John K. Bettersworth
William W. Blanton
R. Jess Brown
Blanche K. Bruce
William Turner Catledge
Kate Freeman Clark
Peggy Jean Connor
Joshua Giles Clarke
Fannye Cook
Vernon H. Dahmer, Sr.
Andrew “Sugarman” Daniel
George Evans
Maurice Evans
Shelby Foote
James A. Ford
Evelyn Gandy
James Hardy
Aaron Henry
Jim Henson
Robert A. Hill
William Henry Holtzclaw
John Lee Hooker
Marie Hull
Charles Price Jones
Newt Knight
Muna Lee
Charles Henry Manship
Thalia Mara
Chief Phillip Martin
Gilbert Mason
Joshua Meador
Ethel Wright Mohamed
G.V. Sonny Montgomery
William Eugene Morse
William Nichols
Perry E. Nussbaum
N.W. Overstreet
Charley Patton
Elvis Presley
John C. Robinson
Jimmie Rodgers
James W. Silver
Margaret Walker
Erwin Ralph Wedel
Jamie Whitten
Ida B. Wells Barnett

Categories: MS Dept. of Archives and History


2 replies

  1. Bailey Junior High School has a cameo in the current feature film “The Hollars,” directed by and starring John Krasinski. The entire movie was filmed in Mississippi.


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