Let’s start this week’s roundup big news of the National Historic Landmark plaque dedication ceremony at the New Capitol.
The plaque to be installed on the south side of the New Capitol states the case for inclusion among the most elite of historic places.
This site possesses national significance as an exceptional example of the Beaux Arts Style, vividly illustrating the nationwide spread of academic classical revival architecture in the early 20th century. It is notable among state capitols for its unity of design and construction, having been built by a single general contractor, under the direction of a single architect, within a single three-year program of construction by Governor A.H. Longino.
In Jackson the story of where the bodies are buried at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has arisen again, this time with a much higher body count than originally reported back in 2014. As many as seven thousands of bodies have been found buried beneath UMMC campus. The burials date to when the property was the grounds of the State Hospital for the Insane.
In Oxford, eight lots could be developed near William Faulkner’s home Rowan Oak, which is mostly surrounded by woods. The new homes would be on a large, partially wooded lot that would be divided into smaller parcels. The homes are described as 3,000 square foot “cottage style” structures.
The Pearl River County School Board approved an audit to examine all district buildings for renovation purposes. I was glad to see this quoted in the article concerning the district’s historic properties.
“…a couple of buildings are considered historical, such as the gymnasium on the McNeill campus. Instead of tearing the building down and ruining the historic nature of the campus [emphasis added], the audit will seek grants from organizations like the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to preserve the gym while keeping money in the tax payers’ pockets, Bowen said. “Sometimes when you get money elsewhere than the tax payers, the job still gets done, and that is what we are going to do,” Bowen said. “The audit will tell you how to preserve those historical buildings while keeping them up-to-date and safe for years to come. That gymnasium is gorgeous.”
Big props to the Pearl River County School Board for picking an auditor that clearly has experience in dealing with historic resources.
Biloxi Mayor “FoFo” Gilich, has sent a letter to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force requesting that an “1956 F-104 jet be placed on display at Keesler to the center median of U.S. 90 near White Avenue, just down the street from the Air Force base.” The City and Keesler AFB would need permission from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Mississippi Highway Commission to relocate the plane. Over the years Biloxi has had different fighter jets on static display in the median of highway 90 such as the F-84F Thunderstreak in front of the old Tivoli hotel. While I am supportive of the static display of the jet, the resolution put before the city council calls to remove the historic White House Fountain. Having been built in 1926, the fountain has been a fixture in front of the White House Hotel for nearly 100 years. It doesn’t seem very “old Biloxi” of the mayor to want to compromise an existing historic landmark. Considering the fountain is a contributing element in the West Beach National Register Historic District and it will require federal funds to move the F-104 jet, hopefully Section 106 will kick in and require the city to select a new site. There is certainly plenty of open highway median along this part of Highway 90 to install this fighter jet tribute.
Staying in Biloxi, the city has proposed using the former Beauvoir Elementary school building as a service center and shelter for homeless families or individuals. The school was built in 1959, but the MDAH HRI database doesn’t have any additional information about the school’s history. Finding a use for the school is certainly better than letting it stay empty.
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).
NPR’s Marketplace radio program had a feature story titled ‘When historic buildings make economic sense: how old buildings could grow the economy’ You can listen to the podcast in the link below.
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: Biloxi, Capitols Old & New, Cemeteries, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Landscapes, Historic Preservation, Hospitals/Medical, Hotels, Jackson, MDAH, MS Dept. of Archives and History, National Register, News Roundups, Oxford, Picayune, Renovation Projects, Schools, Universities/Colleges