Preservation in Mississippi celebrated its 8th birthday last week, but the Mississippi Heritage Trust is celebrating its 25th this week, and according to this press release, they’re throwing a party in Columbus to celebrate. Congratulations, MHT!
The Mississippi Heritage Trust (MHT), the state-wide non-profit organization for historic preservation, invites media professionals to attend the announcement and celebration activities recognizing its 25th anniversary on the campus of Mississippi University of Women (MUW), Columbus. The press conference will take place on Friday, February 17th, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. in historic Poindexter Hall. Guests will be welcomed to campus by MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig who will be joined on stage by MHT’s Executive Director Lolly Rash and Visit Columbus’ Executive Director Nancy Carpenter. MUW was chosen as the appropriate location for the announcement since MHT’s inaugural membership meeting was held on campus on February 17, 1992.
The anniversary celebration activities will begin on Thursday, February 16th at 4:00 p.m. with a tour of the future site of the Columbus Children’s Museum (formerly the Elks Lodge) led by Lisa Castleberry. Visit Columbus and home owners Carol and Joe Boggess will then host a membership gathering historic Whitehall, 607 Third Street, Columbus.
After the press conference on February 17th, attendees will be entertained by a MUW chorale ensemble led by faculty member Dr. Phillip Stockton and enjoy refreshments and birthday cake. The post-conference activities include a guided tour at 11:00 a.m. of the stunning Italianate home Rosedale by owners Gene and Leigh Imes, 1523 Ninth Street South.
Background on the Mississippi Heritage Trust
Back on February 17, 1992, when a group of dedicated preservationists gathered at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus to form the Mississippi Heritage Trust, they envisioned an organization that would work with local preservation groups and support them in their battles to save Mississippi’s rich architectural legacy. What an incredibly journey! With programs like the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi, the Listen Up! Historic Preservation Conference, Mississippi Heritage Awards, MS MOD and Save My Place, the Mississippi Heritage Trust shines a spotlight on the need to save the treasured historic resources that make Mississippi such a special place.
There have been many proud moments for the Mississippi Heritage Trust over the past 25 years. Some important milestones in the organization’s history include:
· Worked to save dozens of historic places in Mississippi. One of the most popular successes was the Cutrer Mansion in Clarksdale, the result of a three-year awareness effort.
· Inaugurated 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1999, which has raised awareness of the plight of 100 historic treasures big and small and resulted in amazing preservation victories.
· Showcased some of Mississippi’s many preservation-minded places to historic preservation conference participants, including Natchez, Church Hill, Columbus, West Point, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Pascagoula, Carrollton, Greenwood, Mound Bayou, Clarksdale, Meridian, Cleveland, Hattiesburg, Tupelo, Water Valley and Jackson.
· Recognized over 200 preservation success stories of Mississippians who have done their part to protect the irreplaceable with the Mississippi Heritage Awards.
· Worked with local, state and national partners to help the Gulf Coast recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina through efforts such as the Pilot Stabilization Program and the Good Neighbor House Painting Program. MHT developed the Save My Place educational outreach program to tell the stories of restoration and renewal of historic places after the storm.
· Developed a strong educational outreach initiative that includes a Historic Preservation Curriculum for use in Mississippi schools to educate children about the value of preserving our precious historic resources and programs such as Whole Places, a partnership with the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, designed to teach students about the shared values of historic preservation and environmental conservation and What Makes Us Mississippi, an educational initiative funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council and Visit Mississippi in celebration of Mississippi’s Bicentennial.
· Successfully listed the Belhaven Historic District in Jackson, Raymond Historic District, Ripley Historic District, Cleveland Founders Historic District, Como Commercial Historic District, Highland Circle Historic District in Tupelo, Broad Street-Church Street Historic District in Columbia, Columbia North Residential Historic District, Eupora Historic District, Baldwyn Historic District, Forest Downtown Historic District and the Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
· Completed Historic District Guidelines for Philadelphia, Ripley, Columbia, Cleveland, and McComb to help local historic preservation commissions make informed decisions.
· Successfully nominated the Center for the Study of Southern Culture’s Barnard Observatory and the Natchez Bluff Stabilization Project for a National Trust Preservation Honor Award.
· Successfully nominated the City of Natchez to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 2003.
· Undertook an eleven-year, $750,000 restoration of the Lowry House in Jackson, once listed as endangered and now the headquarters for MHT and Jackson’s newest event venue.
· Launched Elevation: The Journal of the Mississippi Heritage Trust to tell the stories of the people who are saving Mississippi’s rich architectural heritage.
· Developed the MS MOD educational outreach program to build awareness about Mississippi’s modernist marvels.
2017 will be a momentous year for preservation in Mississippi. As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, the Mississippi Heritage Trust will proudly premier the Preservation Toolkit, designed to demystify the real estate development process. Also in 2017, the Mississippi Heritage Trust will announce the 11th list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi and shine a much-needed spotlight on historic treasures that are at risk of demolition through owner neglect or misguided public policy. With fun and educational events in the coming year like MS MOD and the Listen Up! Historic Preservation Conference, the Mississippi Heritage Trust will inspire property owners and community leaders to roll up their sleeves and tackle that daunting restoration project.
To learn more about the Mississippi Heritage Trust and its work to save and renew places meaningful to Mississippians, please visit the following websites:
Mississippi Heritage Trust
10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi
Save My Place
Listen Up! Historic Preservation Conference