Lets jump right in to this week’s roundup.
In Hattiesburg, concerning statements were made about some of the oldest buildings on the campus of William Carey University. The Hattiesburg American reported University President Tommy King said “…this morning’s review showed they might be salvageable,” but went on to say that “some of the university’s most historic buildings may have to be demolished.” President King, all I can recommend is an example set by your neighbor USM after they were hit by a the 2013 Hattiesburg Tornado. Ogletree Hall was looking mighty rough in the days immediately after that tornado but looks to be in great shape today.
Rick Cleveland wrote an article concerning the fate of the WCU Clinton Gymnasium. From the photograph included with the article, a portion of a two-story wall is knocked out, but the building appears otherwise sound. As nostalgic as Mr. Cleveland was for the building in the article, I was surprised he wrote it off as a total loss so quickly. http://hubcityspokes.com/front-page-slideshow/wcu-gym-held-more-just-seats#undefined.uxfs
Looking up the Clinton Gymnasium in the MDAH HRI database, I found out that it was built in 1963 and was “one of the first folded in place roofs in the state …. The same building also featured the use of light weight aggregate concrete,” according to a 1963 article in the Hattiesburg American.
Some positive thinking to come out of Hattiesburg comes from Rev. Archelous Knox of the Cottrell Memorial CME Church. Despite the destruction of the gable end and losing a portion of the roof, he is confident it will be rebuilt. This Gothic Revival building was built c.1950. http://www.wlox.com/story/34326483/pastor-vows-tornado-damaged-hattiesburg-church-will-rebuild
In Oxford, the University of Mississippi is looking to expand two historic buildings. The College Board approved plans to hire architects to design additions for both Farley Hall(1929), and Conner Hall(1961). These are the University’s the main business and journalism buildings. http://hosted2.ap.org/MSGRE/Article/Article_2017-01-29/id-7165cf425df740b6a7c36ffaaa246ac0/recordType-Spot%20Development
The Natchez Democrat ran a story about the addition of an archaeologist to the Historic Natchez Foundation staff who will also serve as curator of the Foundation’s growing collections. http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2017/01/26/digging-into-history-archaeologist-joins-foundation-staff-as-curator/
Also in Natchez, the local chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity is looking to spend approximately $133,000 to renovate and lease an old clubhouse at Duncan Park from the city. The article doesn’t go into the details as to what the renovation would cover. The alderman were described as being supportive of the proposal but held off making a decision, asking to see plans for what the fraternity would do with the building as well as the exact terms of the lease. http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2017/01/26/kappa-alpha-psi-looks-to-renovate-lease-duncan-park-building/
A new law for Jackson’s abandoned properties in works. This law would allow the city to demolish derelict property, and if the owner is considered an habitual offender, the city could take ownership of the property. Currently the city will spend $70,000 to demolish 9 houses. The city hopes to make the money back through an assessment to the owner’s property taxes. http://www.msnewsnow.com//Clip/13052013/new-law-for-jackson-abandoned-properties-in-works
Plans have been announced by Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to raze the Mississippi Trade Mart on the State Fair Grounds and replace it with a new exhibit hall attached to the Mississippi Coliseum. The exterior of the trade mart might be a hard building to love, but it is in that perilous period between 30 to 50 years old where a building is in danger of being demolished simply for being out of style. I am curious to learn how the new trade mart will be attached to the coliseum. http://yallpolitics.com/index.php/yp/post/46072 …
And lastly the good news coming out of Jackson. Several articles noted the commencement of construction on the Capitol Street Lofts project. These commercial buildings in the West Capitol Street Historic District, originally built between 1885 and 1929, will be converted into 31 loft-style apartments that are priced to attract artists and others in a broadly defined creative category, including the medical field. Amenities include community areas, art gallery/studio spaces, a business center and fitness center. I had to do a double-take to make sure I read it correctly but I was glad with the quote from Gov. Bryant about the project, “These architecturally significant buildings will have new life breathed into them, thanks to the power of historic preservation and utilization of the Mississippi State Historic Tax Credit and the Mississippi Home Corporation’s allocation of Low-Income Housing Credits.” This project had been originally announced in 2012 but stalled for several years and reasons, including the unavailability of Mississippi Historic Tax Credits. Just goes to show how important our State and Federal Tax Credits are to the economy.
In Pascagoula, the Mississippi Maritime Museum is raising funds to restore the mid-century Math & Science building, built in 1963 and designed by C.H. Lindsley, at the old Pascagoula High School Complex. When completed the building will serve as home to the museum. http://www.wlox.com/story/34335461/mississippi-maritime-museum-about-to-set-sail
In Pittsboro, the Historic Hardin House was destroyed by controlled burn. The Calhoun County Journal didn’t go into details as to why the house was intentionally burned. http://www.calhouncountyjournal.com/pittsboro-controlled-burn/
In Picayune, similar to Jackson story above, the city is demolishing vacant buildings. It just seems that there is a missed opportunity simply demolishing these buildings rather than making repairs and placing these buildings back on the tax rolls. http://www.picayuneitem.com/2017/01/state-owned-house-demolished-on-abrams-ave/
In Gautier, a 1922 Craftsman style log house will make a move to Shepard State Park to become a new park welcome center and general store. Originally built in Orange Grove, north of Gulfport, the building was moved once already from its Gulfport location to the intersection of Highway 57 and Interstate 10. With recent development taking place at this interchange I am gladdened to see that the house will be moved rather than demolished. Not only that but it will become a public resource at Shepard State Park. http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/jackson-county/article128341919.html
Elevations: The Journal of the Mississippi Heritage Trust – Winter 2017 is now available and can be found here… https://issuu.com/webzadvertising/docs/issuu_elevation_winter_2017
Like always 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.