MissPres News Roundup 5-30-2017

Since its been two weeks since our last roundup, we’ve got quite the round-up this week.

Threefoot Building, October 2010.

A mayoral race is on in Meridian. At a forum sponsored by the Meridian Star and WTOK, the candidates addressed how they would encourage businesses to invest in downtown restoration.

[Percy] Bland mentioned the Threefoot Building, that recently cleared a hurdle in development, and the MAXX, both located on 22nd Avenue.

“That’s going to help people party, or hang out or be entertained in the downtown area,” Bland said.

[William] Compton said he didn’t have a plan but loved historic buildings as a former history teacher.

“But where’s the money (for this) coming from?” He asked. “I don’t know but I’m willing to listen and encourage people to reclaim these old buildings.”

[Dustin] Markham said he would ask the people what they wanted before moving forward.

“What do people want to see? What should downtown be?” He said. “But we can’t pour all of our resources into downtown and forget our residential areas.”


Staying in Meridian the city council moves forward with tax exemption for the Threefoot Building Project. According to Tray Hairston, an attorney for developers, the exemption will “rebate certain sales tax back to the project over the span of 15 years. Projects like the King Edward Hotel in Jackson, the District Midtown in Hattiesburg, have all utilized the program.”


Our last story from Meridian is about the Lauderdale County Courthouse, and the county’s Ulmer Building.  The County has decided to pursue grant opportunities to help restore the historic courthouse.  Representatives from MDAH toured the building and provided ideas for restoring the Courthouse & Ulmer Building.



The Tupelo Historic Preservation Society held a fundraiser for the society on May 18th.


MHT has announced this year’s Statewide Preservation conference will be in Cleveland, June 8th-9th. Below is the conference schedule.

Thursday, June 8, 2017
Studio 230, 110B Court Street

9:00-9:15 a.m. Welcome-Mayor Billy Nowell, City of Cleveland

9:15-10:15 a.m. Malcolm White, Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi’s Historic Places Have A Story to Tell

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break

10:30-11:15 a.m. Mary Margaret White, Visit Mississippi, Mississippi’s Heritage Tourism Program

11:15-11:30 a.m. 10 Most Update-Sarah McEwen, Mississippi River Basin Model

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Lunch-Choice of Three Downtown Restaurants

1:00-1:45 p.m. George Bassi, Director, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and Larkin Simpson, Jones County Chamber of Commerce, Innovative Ways for Places to Tell Their Story-Home Town Laurel

1:45-2:00 p.m. 10 Most Update-David Abbott, Indian Mounds

2:00-2:15 p.m. Break

2:15-3:00 p.m. Belinda Stewart, Holly Hawkins, Belinda Stewart Architects, Innovative Ways for Places to Tell Their Story-Emmett Till Memory Project

3:00-3:15 p.m. 10 Most Update-Jessica Crawford, Prospect Hill

3:15-4:00 p.m. What’s Next? Heritage Tourism Panel

4:00-5:00 p.m. Break

4:00-5:30 p.m. 10 Most Update and Tour-Amzie Moore House

5:30-7:00 p.m. MHT Annual Membership Gathering at the home of Hilda and Kirkham Povall

Friday, June 9, 2017
Studio 230, 110B Court Street

9:00-9:15 a.m. 10 Most Update-Myrna Smith-Thompson, Isaiah T. Montgomery House

9:15-11:30 a.m. Mickey Howley, Water Valley Main Street, Amber Lombardo, MS AIA, Lolly Rash, Mississippi Heritage Trust, Teach Your Town To Fish-Cleveland

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Judson Thigpen, Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Cooley, Cleveland Main Street The New Old Cleveland

12:00-2:00 p.m. Downtown Cleveland Walking Tour

2:00-2:30 p.m. Jessica Crawford, The Archaeology Conservancy, Can You Dig It?  An Archaeological Adventure in the Delta

2:30-3:00 p.m. Travel-Cleveland to Gunniston

3:00-4:00 p.m. Tour and Dig, Blanchard-Harris Place-Nancy Armstrong, Jessica Crawford, Sam Brookes

4:00-4:30 p.m. Travel-Gunniston to Benoit

4:30-5:30 p.m. Tour, Baby Doll House-Eustace Winn


In Jackson, a developer is expanding a suburban style housing development in the Farish Street Historic District.  I am glad something is happening in the area but not at the cost of the existing historic structures.


6th Street USO, Hattiesburg (1942). Significant as the only USO club in the state for African American soldiers during World War II, the USO building was recently re-restored after damage from the 2012 Hattiesburg tornado.

In the Hattiesburg Business Today, an article highlighted the 75th anniversary of the Hattiesburg African-American USO.


This is a good segue to encourage you to nominate your favorite preservation project for a Southeastern Architectural Historians “Best of the South: Preserving Southern Architecture Award,” nominations due July 1, 2017.  The Hattiesburg African-American USO won the “Best of the South” award in 2010.


On a national note that will have an effect on us locally is the President’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018.  While this budget goes to Congress to be transformed into reality, it doesn’t paint a good picture for Preservation. According to the lobby group Preservation Action, here is the break down for national funding.

– SHPOs [State Historic Preservation Offices]: $42.1 million ($5.8 million below FY17 levels)
– THPO [Tribal Historic Preservation Offices]: $8.9 million ($1.5 million below FY17 levels)
– Civil Rights Grants: funding not requested ($13 million below FY17 levels)
– HBCU [Historically Black Colleges & Universities] Preservation Program: funding not requested ($4 million below FY17 levels)
– Save America’s Treasures: funding not requested ($5 million below FY17 levels)
– Underrepresented Community Grants: funding not requested ($500,000 below FY17 levels)

Total funding for Historic Preservation for FFY 2018: $51 million, versus FFY 2017: $80.8 million.  What can we do as preservationists to help fully fund programs and agencies that aid historic places?  According to Preservation Action here is how you can help.

How can you help?

The steep cuts to the HPF [Historic Preservation Fund], and the elimination of funding for NHAs, NEA, and NEH are very troubling, but Congress still controls the purse strings. Many members of Congress from both parties expressed criticism of President Trump’s budget. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are now beginning to draft FY18 Appropriations and they need to hear from you. Reach out to your members of Congress and tell them to support funding for the Historic Preservation Fund and critical history and preservation programs. Let them know how these cuts impact you and your community. It is especially important if your members of Congress serve on the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee or Senate Appropriations Interior Subcommittee.

I probably missed a story or two.  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, Civil Rights, Cleveland, Courthouses, Demolition/Abandonment, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Hotels, Jackson, MDAH, Meridian, Mississippi Heritage Trust, MS Dept. of Archives and History, National Park Service, News Roundups, Okolona, Preservation Education, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Tupelo, Universities/Colleges


1 reply

  1. Farish Street is not a historic district anymore, at least not in its current configuration. Monument Street has fewer than ten contributing resources left. East Church Street has Mt. Helm Baptist and about half a dozen houses. West Church has nothing left. Lamar along the cemetery has seven buildings left, four of which will probably be demolished. George Street has one building left. That does not even count the large swaths of demolition on Farish Street at Oakley Street and Bloom Court/East Church Street.

    It turns out that what you get after decades of disinvestment and poor social services by Jackson’s business elite and local government is the opportunity for Jackson’s business elite and local government to make a substantial amount of money and garner numerous votes through rebuilding and fixing the problem they created.


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