MissPres News Roundup 5-2-2017

Let’s start this week’s roundup with the news on the damaging storms that crossed the state over the weekend. On Monday we reported some on the damage that occurred to historic places in Durant and Flora, but reports of the extent are still coming in.

House damaged by fallen tree, Washington Street Natchez, Adams County. image from Natchez Democrat accessed 5-1-17

The Natchez Democrat had several stories regarding the damage there.  The images show several mid-century houses damaged by falling trees.  In another Democrat story there are images of an older home on Washington Street that appears to be significantly damaged by a fallen tree.  Does anyone out there have any additional storm damage to report?



Leake County Courthouse (1935-36, E.L. Malvaney, PWA project Miss. 1042), Carthage, Leake County

In Carthage, the Main Street Chamber of Leake County will be conducting their 6th annual Jane’s Walk on Saturday, May 6 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. The walk entitled “Working together for a Better Community” will be a walk around the Historic Courthouse Square starting at the Old Main Office of Carthage Bank and will proceed around the square and end at the Leake County Chamber of Commerce Center with refreshments and a historical display. Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, citizen walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. For more information, call Carthage Main Street at 601-267-9231 or 601-267-6763.

The Vicksburg Post reports on the benefits and incentives to restoring a building in downtown Vicksburg.  They specifically mention the aid and assistance the Historic Vicksburg Foundation can give to property owners looking to apply for the Main Street Program Façade Grant, city of Vicksburg Tax Abatements, Mississippi Historic Tax Credits, and Federal Historic Investment Tax Credit.


The Meridian Star featured a piece on all the historic sights one could see on a day trip to Yazoo City.


Kolb’s Cleaners, Fondren neighborhood, Jackson. Built 1955, Robert Overstreet Archt.

In Jackson the Mississippi Heritage Trust will host its “Mad Mod Fondren” event on Thursday May 4, 2017 from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm.  This is MHT’s architectural walking tour during the Arts, Eats and Beats festival. Stops will include several mid century modern places including  Kolb’s Cleaners. This might be your last chance to see the building in its historic appearance before it is reconfigured as a hotel with a big 9 story tower.  Tickets are $25 for MHT, AIA MS and FRF members and $35 for non-members.  Space is limited, so secure your spot today by registering at http://www.lovemsmod.com/event/ms-mod-mad-mod-affair-fondren/

Natchez General Hospital Natchez Adams County from Google Street View accessed 4-11-17

In Natchez, the city held a public hearing regarding a proposal for the reuse of the former Natchez General Hospital as a senior living apartments.  While the city is uncertain about whether or not they can accept the proposal and have looked to the Attorney General’s office for guidance, some local residents are not in favor of the proposal.


According to the Mississippi Business Journal the plans for the Eola Hotel in Natchez and the Markham Hotel in Gulfport have changed, but still do not have an estimated start date.  Virginia Attorney Robert Lubin bought the Natchez building in 2014, and won approval for turning the building into senior apartments last year, but hasn’t started work.  He is considering restoring the Eola as a hotel but reducing the number of rooms from 125 to 75.  The Natchez Democrat reports Lubin was asked to appear Tuesday by Mayor Darryl Grennell to discuss concerns about the empty building’s condition.

Concerning the former Markham Hotel in Gulfport, Lubin says he had planned to convert the building into apartments, but is now renovating it into a modern hotel with fewer, larger rooms.


Perkins & Williamson Architecture posted on Facebook that they are working on the former Arthur’s store in Laurel.   The building appears to be a handsome turn-of-the-20th century commercial building.  Historic pictures in the post show a c.1930 beautiful Art Deco structural glass front with retractable awnings that was added to the first floor.  According to the MDAH HRI database the building received its metal slip cover c.1965.  It will be interesting to see which period of significance is chosen for the restoration. Bar100

The National Trust for Historic Preservation featured an article on the legacy of pioneering African-American architect Wallace A. Rayfield.  Rayfield designed at least 15 buildings in Mississippi.


Remember there is still a $5,000 Reward being offer by the Port Gibson Heritage Trust Battlefield Committee for info leading to the arrest and conviction of thieves responsible for damages done to the Shaifer House.

Let’s nail the thieves who did this to the Shaifer House

A reader shared with us this curious story of the Mississippi Legislature appropriating funds to the tune of $100,000 to a Confederate cemetery in Jefferson County.  Only problem is that there doesn’t appear to be a Confederate cemetery in the county and no one is sure what the money is for!  According to the story;

“…the scuttlebutt among preservationists said the Legislature couldn’t get its act together to pass bond bill this year to fund a number of worthwhile projects but managed to secure $100,000 for a Confederate cemetery that doesn’t exist.”

Read the story to find out how this language ended up getting passed (what’s the saying about not wanting to know how sausage is made?), and what the funds may have really been for.


It is once again time to nominate your favorite preservation project for a Southeastern Architectural Historians “Best of the South: Preserving Southern Architecture Award,” nominations due July 1, 2017.


Past Mississippi winners have been; Beauvoir (2009), the Hattiesburg African-American USO (2010), the Charnley-Norwood House (2014), and the Tallahatchie County Courthhouse (2015).

A story in the Clarion Ledger tries to estimate how many churches there are in Mississippi.  It is curious to ponder how many of these might be historic places. A search of the MDAH HRI database lists 2208 surveyed structures with the word “church” in the title.  Nine are listed under “synagogue,” and nineteen listed under “temple,” and 220 as “chapel”.  These numbers not only represent surveyed buildings but also include demolished structures.  They also include buildings that might have been constructed as places of worship, but are no longer used as such.  Based on my completely unscientific methods of deduction, MissPres has had 589 posts with the utterance of the term “church”, 22 posts with the term “synagogue”, 81 posts with the term “temple”, and 81 posts with the term “chapel.”


Arkansas is out to make historic water towers a tourist draw.  Maybe something like that would be popular in Mississippi & be a way to preserve historic water towers?  This might be good encouragement for the restoration of the damaged historic water tower in Flora?


The termites were swarming bad on the Coast last night so don’t forget to keep an eye on your historic places that may be affected by these nasty little buggers.

Like always, I probably missed a story or two, 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: Cemeteries, Churches, Civil War, Cool Old Places, Courthouses, Demolition/Abandonment, Durant, Gulfport, Historic Landscapes, Historic Preservation, Hospitals/Medical, Hotels, Jackson, Laurel, Leakesville, MDAH, Mississippi Heritage Trust, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, National Register, News Roundups, Port Gibson, Renovation Projects, Rodney, Universities/Colleges, Yazoo City


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