As more and more old newspapers get scanned and put online, it’s amazing the little gems of articles you can find with a few clicks. Here’s one from September 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, just a little article about the town of Clinton and its most ambitious new building just then getting finished. Will researchers 150 years from our time be able to find these kinds of articles, the kind that describe buildings under construction with such detail, down to the entablature? These used to be fairly common newspaper topics, but now when I open my Clarion-Ledger, I see national stories off the AP wire filling the few pages and maybe a story about the Legislature or JPS or the latest murder.
This place was once the centre of a flourishing trade. It had a wider reputation than almost any other town in the State, and came within one vote of being selected by the Legislature as the site for the permanent location of the Capitol of the State. Its trade languished, but its fortunes have been revived by its having become the seat of learning and of prosperous schools, in which its citizens take a not less deep than commendable interest. It might be not inappropriately styled the Athens of Mississippi. A feature of the town is a magnificent new church and college building, which is near its completion, under the immediate auspices of the Baptist denomination, and for the use of the Mississippi College. The cost of this building, we learn, will fall little short of $30,000. It is a hundred feet long, and fifty-six feet wide. — The first story is divided into recitation rooms and a large chapel. The second story is formed principally into one hall, 100 by 56 feet, with arched ceiling 33 feet high, with galleries at side and front, and two vestry rooms in rear. The roof and cornice extend over in front, forming an entablature supported by six round brick columns, and coped with iron Corinthian capitals. The whole structures presents a fine appearance, and reflects credit alike upon Mr. Larmour, the architect; our townsman, Mr. McLaughlin, the builder, and the enlightened and public-spirited community by whose liberality the work has been commenced and carried out.
Under the same auspices, a magnificent new building is in process of erection for the use of the female school. Situated on a beautiful eminence in full view of the railroad, it cannot fail to strike the eye of the traveller, and to impress him with an appreciation of the enlightened public spirit of the community in which it is located.
Not far from the village, in a healthy and retired spot, is Mt. Hermon Female Institute.
Semi-Weekly Mississippian (Jackson, Miss.)
Tuesday, September 4, 1860
If you think you’ve heard me whine about the state of newspapers before, you’ve been around this blog since its beginning. Remember “Already Missing Newspapers” and the wonderfully descriptive 1950s article about the controversy over architect R.W. Naef’s “smutty buff” brick? Classic!
Categories: Churches, Clinton, Universities/Colleges
The wealth of newspaper archives is amazing. I can absolutely get lost in the old newspapers, and sometimes have to stop myself from running down an interesting rabbit trail and get back to the purpose of the research.
Having grown up in Clinton being steeped in the tales of the Chapel and it’s use by Grant to stable his horses when he passed through the area, I appreciate your research and deep dive into the building. Of course the “enlightened“ citizens of Clinton, were outraged by this atrocity. I have shared this bit of history with many over the years, and my husband has never quite believed it. Thanks for confirming my report. I am visiting Clinton (having moved away 50 years ago) and appreciate the rich history and culture of the area. Mississippi College was also the first co-educational institution of higher learning in the country, primarily because the president of the college had a daughter. Of course he wanted her to have a fine education.