The leading news story this week is the deadly tornado that struck Hattiesburg & Petal Saturday night. The areas worst hit appear to be in south Hattiesburg around the campus of William Carey University, Edwards Street, and in Petal along Main Street. With MEMA reporting nearly 500 houses damaged and reports still coming in, there will probably be more tornado and preservation-related news to report in the coming days and weeks.
In Biloxi, the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, a program of Mississippi State University, has received a grant from the Knight Foundation. The project entitled “Witnessing the Beach” is a way to engage people across race, income and age differences, to bring attention to Biloxi’s part in the civil rights movement. The project proposes building movable platforms or surfaces that can be rolled out onto the beach where the 1960 wade-in protests were staged. This would allow residents and visitors to bear witness to the wade-in protests and discuss today’s racial challenges. Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/harrison-county/article126859624
Also in Biloxi on January 12th a public meeting concerning an African-American Historic Resource Survey was held at Our Mother of Sorrows School. The city is a recipient of a 2016 MDAH CLG grant, the goal of which is to complete a historic resources survey of approximately twenty-two African-American historic resources in East Biloxi. http://www.wxxv25.com/2017/01/12/historical-public-meeting-biloxi-2/
In Bay St. Louis the 100 Men Debating and Benevolent Association Hall is up for sale. The hall was a stop on the “Chitlin Circuit” in the 1940’s 50’s & 60’s. The event venue was most recently restored after Hurricane Katrina. http://www.wlox.com/story/34300959/own-a-piece-of-mississippi-blues-history
The Natchez Democrat ran a story about the current threats to the federal tax credit program, and what you can do to help save them. http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2016/12/23/federal-historic-tax-credits-at-risk/
A project relying on such tax credits is the Threefoot Building in Meridian. WTOK reported that the tax credit application has been submitted to the National Park Service for review. If the National Parks Service approves the interior demolition plans, the project is anticipated to start late February or early March. http://www.wtok.com/content/news/Bland-Threefoot-project-moving-forward.html
The Greenville Historic Preservation Commissioners report that the Y & MV Railroad Depot rehabilitation work is moving along smoothly and is expected to be completed in late spring. http://www.ddtonline.com/news/article_ca133c0e-d81c-11e6-9465-d3cf2b56d104.html
In Columbus, the City Hall rehabilitation project that W. White mentioned in the 1-9-2017 news round-up is expected to be complete this week, by January 25th. Originally the project was slated to be completed January 9th but the discovery of asbestos delayed the project only two weeks at a cost of $3,125 to the $1.93 million overall project. http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=55525
In Tupelo, a proposed interchange between Thomas Street and Highway 6 is moving forward. Late last year, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History determined that no culturally significant sites would be disturbed and granted its approval. http://djournal.com/news/delay-proposed-interchange-moving-forward/
In Starkville, Developer Mark Nicholas could get a bill from the City of Starkville after missing a deadline to complete infrastructure improvements associated with the October acceptance of his Cotton Mill Marketplace plat. http://cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=55393
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, these two stories have had their own posts here on Preservation in Mississippi, but are worth mentioning again, because they are such big news.
Two Mississippi projects have receive NPS Civil Rights Grants. The National Park Service has awarded $500,000 to the Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County in Sumner to restore the first floor of the Tallahatchie County Courthouse and $50,000 to the Historic Natchez Foundation to research and preserve the civil rights history in Natchez and Adams County. http://hottytoddy.com/2017/01/13/cochran-wicker-announce-grants-civil-rights-projects-mississippi/
The National Park Service also announced that the Medgar and Myrlie Evers House in Jackson is now an National Historic Landmark. http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2017/01/11/medgar-evers-home-national-historic-landmark/96449162/
Two stories contributed by W.White: Also, the City of Corinth passed a resolution calling for fully funding the National Park Service, an issue important to Corinth, Natchez, Vicksburg, the Gulf Coast, and numerous communities along the Natchez Trace that depend on revenue from NPS sites. “City asks Congress to adequately fund National Park Service”
In some old news from November that I did not have time to put in my last news roundup, the Jane McAllister house at 1408 Main St. in Vicksburg was cleaned and renovated by AmeriCorps workers and volunteers. Dr. McAllister was born and raised in Vicksburg and was the first black woman to get a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her Vicksburg house has been deteriorating for many years as the current owner had the will but no money to restore it. “McAllister home undergoing renovation“
I am sure I probably missed some stories, so if you know of any preservation related news items not mentioned, or if you have more information about a story above please let us know in the comments below.
Categories: African American History, Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Blues Sites, Demolition/Abandonment, Disasters, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Jackson, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, National Park Service, News Roundups, Starkville, Universities/Colleges