Let’s jump right into this week’s roundup.
Starting with bad news from West Point, the Daily Times Ledger ran a story with the headline titled “Mary Holmes alumni react to demolition.” This demolition alluded to by the headline is that of the Mead Holmes Administration Building. The article interviews Mary Holmes alumni who state their heartbreak over the building’s demolition. Strangely enough the article isn’t quite clear if the building is demolished, stating “Demolition of the building has been taking place during the month of July.” We reported back in April that the building would have to receive a Mississippi Landmark permit from MDAH for any work, demolition or otherwise, could take place. The Facebook page for the group Mary Holmes College Alumni Preservation Project confirmed with a post last Saturday that the building was indeed demolished. Looks like some incredibly expensive asbestos abatement going on in the photo (that last sentence is sarcasm.)
I would be curious to find out more about how this demolition was permitted by MDAH. You can see from this aerial photograph what a significant part of the campus this building was.
Bad news out of Hattiesburg last week. The city has determined that the Mount Carmel Baptist Church is in imminent danger of collapse, and the city will close portions of Main Street over safety concerns. Mayor Toby Barker said, “This will allow us to secure the area from immediate danger and harm while allowing our team to make the best decisions regarding the future of the property and structure.” You may remember that the church was badly damaged in the 2013 Hattiesburg tornado, and that little, to no work has been done to the building since then. You can watch the video below of the Mayor’s statement about the building. I’m glad to hear such measured language and thinking, and not jumping automatically on the demolition bandwagon. Hopefully the city can help the building be stabilized.
Down in Gulfport, not only is 2017 the 75th anniversary of the establishment of a SeaBee base in the port city, it is also the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Navy Construction Training Center, which has been training men and women to both fight and build for our freedom.
The buried news lead I missed in the last round-up was that the Heritage Guild of Vicksburg and Warren County celebrated their one year anniversary with guest speaker preservationist and former Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett. According to the ABOUT tab on the HGV&WC Facebook page:
The Guild is composed of private individuals of like interests in preserving the Cultural and Structural Heritage of the Vicksburg area.
On July 11th, the U.S. Congress House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. This version of the bill proposes $74.4 million for the Historic Preservation Fund (federal money earmarked to States for preservation efforts). This is $6.5 million below FY17 levels but $23.3 million above the administration’s FY18 budget request we reported on back at the end of May. While $74 million may sound like a lot, when it is split up between 59 State Historic Preservation Offices (yes, 59) and 171 Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and grant programs, this is not a large amount of funding. Here’s the breakdown.
- -SHPOs and THPOs: $56.41 million, $2 million below FY17 enacted levels
- -Civil Rights Grants: $10.5 million, $2.5 million below FY17 enacted levels
- -Save America’s Treasures Grants: $4 million, $1 million below FY17 levels
- -HBCU Preservation Program: $3 million, $1 million below FY17 levels
- -Underrepresented Communities Grants: $500,000, equal to FY17 levels
This is certainly not all the preservation goings on in Mississippi. 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, Building Types, Churches, Civil Rights, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Lost Mississippi, MDAH, Military, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, News Roundups, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Universities/Colleges, Vicksburg, West Point