International Harvester’s International Style

A couple of weeks ago the excellent Facebook group Mid-Century Modern Arkansas had a great post about an International Harvester Dealership in North Little Rock, Arkansas that had been listed on the National Register back in 2009.  The International Style design of the dealership was based on a stock plan, perfected by International Harvester.  Apparently, the buildings were designed to provide both sales and service of International Harvester equipment.  The buildings seem to vary in some features, but all include a vertical pylon sign near the center of the building.  Recently I was in visiting Meridian and passed by a building of similar design on Highway 19.  This made me think, surely there were International Harvester Dealerships throughout Mississippi.

A friend confirmed that at one time the building housed a farm supply business, but couldn’t recall the brand.  Turning to the internet to learn if the building had indeed been an IH Dealership led me to the site   ihdealerspast.net/ a great collection of information on, you guessed it, International Harvester Dealerships of the past.  Two prominent lists are Dealer Listings and vintage photos of Prototype/Pylon Buildings.  Unfortunately, there are no vintage photos of IH Dealers in Mississippi.  There are, however, a few Mississippi entries on the map of existing Prototype / Pylon buildings.  Belzoni, Hattiesburg, Ripley, Rolling Fork, and Yazoo City are all identified as sites of existing Prototype / Pylon buildings.  The Dealer Listings entries are quite extensive and contain 13 sheets of information on IH Dealers in Mississippi.

The difference between the entries on the map and on the dealer list is staggering.  I’m sure there are some readers that could identify several others of these IH buildings in their neck of Mississippi.  Is there one near you?  The North Little Rock International Harvester National Register nomination dates the creation of this design to the late 1940s.  I wonder beginning when, and for how long were these designs were being built in Mississippi?



Categories: Historic Preservation, Meridian, Urban/Rural Issues

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13 replies

  1. There is a building in downtown Natchez on Canal St. of the same type that I was told, when I lived there, had been an International Harvester bldg.

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  2. Another wonderfully and delightfully enlightening post! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I saw the building, at first I thought that it looks like one that might be/have been around the intersection of Highway 80 and Gallatin St. in Jackson. Looking at the list on the website, though, it says there was a dealership at 1025 Terry Rd. That address is now 1025 University Blvd. and is where the Jatran bus barn was for many years. So if there was one of those buildings in Jackson, it’s been gone since the early 1990s, at least. The building looks familiar, but it isn’t the most standout style. Interesting find and post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve updated the gallery above to include the service centers listed on the ihdealerspast.net/ website and the Meridian structure. There seem to be variations between each building. Since they are not a uniform in their materials, fenestration, and dimensions, as say branded gas stations, these designs might prove more difficult to ID. The list of former dealers will go along way in helping identify these buildings.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m trying to remember if the Johnson Implement building on 49/82 bypass was of this design. It definitely looks familiar. Let me see what I can dig up.

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  5. If you’re curious about the construction of these buildings like I was, you might be interested in this former IH dealership in Independence, Texas that was caught by Google Street View in a state of disassembly.

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  6. Coming through Canton on Highway 51 last week, I noticed a classic example on the west side of the road, just across from the old Harrell Chevrolet building. Highway 51, between Canton and West, is just chock full of examples of your wonderful gas station series. It’s much more fun to spot these now!

    Liked by 1 person

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