Mississippi Builders: A.C. Samford Company

Today’s post sheds light on a construction company that was fairly active on the Coast during the 1920s and early 1930s.  The projects the company was bidding on and constructing were and are landmarks in the communities of Gulfport and Biloxi.

A.C. Samford Building Contractor Advert from Biloxi Daily Herald, February 21, 1925

Amos Carl Samford was born in Rome, Georgia on Aug. 13, 1886. In the 1900 census he was a young cotton weaver, while his father was a house carpenter.  He claimed exemption from the draft in 1917 because he had a wife and baby to support.  On the draft registration form he listed he was a farmer who also did work for the postal service.  By the 1920 census he was living in Macon, Georgia, employed as a construction superintendent working for a wage.  That experience he gained in a few years as a construction superintendent must have been valuable because by the early 1920s, A.C. Samford began working on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the A.C. Samford Construction Company.  Although the firm and its owner was busy on the Coast, it was headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama.  In the 1930 census Samford was living in Montgomery Alabama, was employed as a “Contractor of Government Buildings,” and owned his own business.

fmr Gulfport High School, Gulfport, Harrison County c.1993 from MDAH HRI database accessed 11-7-2017

Cumberland Telephone Building, 24th Ave. Gulfport, Harrison County. JRosenberg, MDAH 5-16-2007 from MDAH HRI accessed 11-7-2017

fmr National Bank of Gulfport. Gulfport, Harrison County 2011 David Preziosi, MHT from MDAH HRI accessed 11-17-2017

Elks Home Gulfport, Harrison County from Biloxi Daily Herald, February 21, 1925

Below is a list I’ve crafted from newspaper clippings about places associated with the A.C. Samford Company.  It is possible there are many more structures associated with the company.

1923
Gulfport High School (credited, not documented)
1924
Biloxi Public Library (unsuccessful bid)
Gulfport VA (various projects)
1925
1926
Tivoli Hotel, Biloxi (unsuccessful bid)
Mobile Quarantine Station, Mobile, Alabama
1928
1929
Biloxi Hospital (low bidder)
Cotton Mill Buildings, Gulfport (unsuccessful bid)
1931
Biloxi VA (various projects)
1949
1957
1959

Possibly due to the effects of the Great Depression on the Mississippi Coast, after 1930 Samford was spending less and less time on the Coast and more time in Montgomery, AL bidding on and building structures all over Alabama, and as far north as Pennsylvania.  The company was involved with work, albeit unknowingly, on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, TN during the early 1940s.  By the end of the 1950s the company would be located in Albany, Georgia, but was still bidding on and building projects on the Mississippi Coast.  A.C. Samford passed away in 1962, but I believe the company he founded continued to operate into the 1980s.  Are you familiar with A.C. Samford Company’s work in Mississippi?

Standard Block Company, Gulfport, Mississippi Advert. Biloxi Daily Herald, June 19, 1959



Categories: Architectural Research, Banks, Biloxi, Building Types, Gulf Coast, Gulfport, Historic Preservation, Hospitals/Medical, Schools

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