A couple of weeks ago, a reader named Mark noted in a comment to an Industrial Mississippi post:
The Jackson plant of Armstrong Flooring (formerly Armstrong Cork and Armstrong World Ind) is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017. It’s been almost continuously operating since 1947 and is expanding the operation. Any stories about that?
Here at MissPres, we aim to please, so I went searching in the newspapers to see what I could find. Unfortunately, I still haven’t come across one of those great open house/grand opening pieces that were still common in the 1940s, when the reporter would walk the reader through the entire factory, explaining the whole industrial process as he went. But, I did find two images of the Armstrong plant as it was under construction: an unsigned rendering and a photo when the building was about finished, and both contain a few tidbits of information in the captions. Unfortunately, neither caption mentions the architect or contractor, which as a note to current-date journalists, IS FRUSTRATING!!
In the same comment string, Thomas Rosell reminded me that the Armstrong plant is pictured in a wonderful article published in the Architectural Record in September 1954 titled “Architectural Practice in Jackson, Miss.” This photo was probably taken by architectural photographer Joseph Molitor, whose travels through Mississippi in 1954 were the subject of a three-part series by Thomas Rosell in February 2012.
While most of the other photos in the article credit a local architect, as you would expect in such an article, this one has a more generic caption: “Power production and industrial development have stimulated and are being stimulated by commercial activity and increasing ease of transportation.” This, combined with the silence of the Jackson newspapers regarding the architect, makes me think that the building was designed by Armstrong’s own designers.
Congratulations to Armstrong on the occasion of your 70th year and keep on truckin!
To learn more about architectural photographer Joseph Molitor and his work in Mississippi: