Let’s jump right into this week’s roundup.
Tonight in Hattiesburg there is a public meeting to determine a course of action for the former Mount Carmel Baptist Church on Main Street. Hattiesburg City Council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Aug. 15 in the council chambers at City Hall to address whether buildings on the property should be demolished. Friends of preservation in the Hattiesburg area should attend the meeting tonight in support of stabilizing the building and against demolition.
At the end of July, the city council voted in favor of receiving quotes for the cost of demolition of the Mount Carmel Baptist church. The requested bids cannot be opened until the end of August.
Councilperson Delgado objected to immediate demolition, saying if the former Hattiesburg High School building, which was heavily damaged by arson in 2007, can be shored up, so can the church building.
“I know (the church) is in bad shape, and I understand there is possible danger,” she said. “The point is, people have rallied to find a solution for that historic (school) building. “But now with Mount Carmel, a different sort of discussion is being had, and that’s, ‘Let’s see how quick we can get that thing torn down.'”
Brava councilwoman, hopefully cooler heads will prevail and a strong turn out in support of stabilizing the building will show up tonight. If you can be there tonight the meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the council chambers at Hattiesburg City Hall at 200 Forrest St. Hattiesburg, MS 39401. Here is a link to the agenda.
In Port Gibson, after being rained out on the first attempt, the First Presbyterian Church will be reinstalling the hand atop their steeple at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, August 16, Lord willin’ & weather permitting. Come by 8 a.m. if you want your picture made with the hand before it goes up!
This year the Natchez City Cemetery’s Angels On The Bluff tour will feature some builders who lived and are buried in Natchez. If you want to hear their stories be sure to get your tickets soon, as it sounds like they’ll sell out fast.
Also from Natchez, the owner of the former Natchez Community Hospital has announced plans for demolition of the hospital unless a new owner is found by the end of the year. Having been built in 1973, let’s hope a buyer materializes. The demolition is estimated to cost a whopping $500,000 to $750,000. That is one pricey hole in the ground.
In Meridian, after years of neglect, three cemeteries along 10th Avenue will get some much needed attention. They are Elmwood, St. Luke and the Tenth Avenue Masonic Cemetery. These may be the biggest African-American cemeteries in Meridian.
In Vicksburg plans to repair an erosion issue in Vicksburg National Military Park are available to the public for review. Area residents have the opportunity to examine the environmental assessment and alternative plans to repair an erosion problem affecting a bluff adjacent to the Texas State Memorial and Railroad Redoubt earthworks in Vicksburg National Military Park. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 30, and can be submitted on line at the Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/VICK, or submit written comments to Sarah Davis, Acting Superintendent Vicksburg National Military Park, Attn: Stabilization Environmental Assessment, 3201 Clay St., Vicksburg, MS 39183.
Other news out of Vicksburg is a story we’ve reported on previously. The plans for the tech center to be housed in the former Mississippi Hardware Building have been released, with the rehabilitation estimated to cost $19 million project. According to the article, funding for the project will use a combination of a loan and Delta Regional Authority grants. Money also will come from federal and state tax credits for historical structures and new market tax credits.
Down in Gautier, the 80-year-old elementary received some new upgrades before the start of the new school year. To quote the WLOX piece: Remembering that history while modernizing the school is important to Pascagoula-Gautier Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich. He was pleased that all of the original windows and doors were preserved during the renovations. “We’ve been able to keep the aesthetic pure, while we modernized the facility with upgrades to the lighting, plumbing, and all those other areas,” said Rodolfich. By preserving the past and linking it with the present, teachers say these bright young minds will be prepared for a great future.
Thank you, Pascagoula-Gautier School District, for being such great stewards of a great building!
An interesting article looks into how air-conditioning conquered america and shaped architecture, lifestyles, and many other things in the last quarter of the 20th century.
We haven’t had a preservation quote of the week in a while, but I think these quotes from Pascagoula-Gautier Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich and Hattiesburg Councilwoman Deborah Delgado make up for the lull.
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: Abandoned Mississippi, African American History, Building Types, Cemeteries, Churches, Demolition/Abandonment, Disasters, Gautier, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Hospitals/Medical, Meridian, Modernism, Natchez, News Roundups, Port Gibson, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Schools, Vicksburg