Mid-Week Mid-Century: Modernism in the Mississippi Delta

One thing that surprised me when I moved to Mississippi and ventured into the Delta–a place that I had understood from various news stories had been forgotten by time–was how much the region had changed over the latter half of the 20th century. Historic pictures show dirt roads lined with tenant shacks and workers by the hundreds out in the fields. Today, the tenant shacks are almost all gone, and you can go for miles without seeing a soul.

Far from being stuck in the early 20th century, the Delta has a number of examples of Modernist architecture. Towns like Greenville, Greenwood, and Clarksdale must have been booming in the 1950s and even into the 1960s, because they boast some fine Modernist buildings. On a recent trip up into the heart of the Delta, I found a few little “vernacular Modern” gems and a few ultra-Modern, and even a couple of round buildings. Enjoy!

This post is a throwback to November, 2010.  You can read the post as it originally appeared here. Unfortunately, the Vandiver Student Union at Moorhead was demolished around 2011.

The Delta’s modern architecture has been featured on MissPres several times since this post debuted with interesting posts such as Yazoo City’s Delta National Bank and Its Place in American Architectural History, but most notably with the report on the 2016 Mississippi Heritage Trust Mad Mod Delta Tour.

Categories: Architectural Research, Cleveland, Cool Old Places, Delta, Greenville, Modernism, Recent Past, Universities/Colleges


5 replies

  1. Great photos!!! Enjoyed seeing these buildings as we don’t travel that part of the state.


  2. LOVE the Mississippi Delta!


  3. Wonderful post—thank you! I hope you saw the two Wade John Deere buildings (and signs). How they beguiled me as a teen—and still do! I would love to know how these striking Miesian edifices came to be in rather unlikely loci, Greenwood and Indianola. I sure hope they (the buildings) still exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are great buildings! I’ve since photographed them but hadn’t gotten to in 2010 when I first posted this. On the Mississippi Delta Mod tour (see review here: https://misspreservation.com/2016/04/28/mad-mod-delta-tour-review/), someone mentioned they thought those were product of Overstreet’s firm, but I’ve not gotten confirmation on that. Would love to dig into the newspapers and see if there was any coverage of their construction that might shed light on the designers.


      • Thank you for providing the link in your reply. How your pictures kindled memories! I traveled past those structures numberless times in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and they always gladdened me. I do hope you have the opportunity to do some reporting on the Wade buildings; there are many besides me, I bet, who would love to learn more. Again thanking you, dcc


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