Plans for Gulfport’s 1918 U.S. Naval Camp buildings are available online

Several weeks back, when I came across the 1918 U.S. Naval Camp yearbook, I also noticed some plans for Gulfport’s 1918 U.S. Naval Camp buildings.  Thanks to the J. Murrey Atkins Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the Martin Evans Boyer Papers have been scanned and are available online, including several plans noted to have been part of the Gulfport Camp.  Martin Evans Boyer Jr. (1893-1970) was a North Carolina based architect who served in the Navy during World War I.  Boyer had just graduated with an M. A. in architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University when the U.S. entered the war, and presumably, his skills as an architect were put to use.  None of the plans are signed by their delineator, but since they were in Boyer’s possession we can attribute them to his hand.  While I’ve shared the plans here, on the library’s site you can really zoom in and see lots of details.

The eight plans available online show a variety of utilitarian buildings from kitchens, laundry facilities, sail lofts, and latrines.  I do not believe any of these buildings remain, as most of the remaining wood-frame buildings on the site were demolished about 2009.  As the property is known best for it’s buildings from the Mississippi Centennial Exhibition period (1916-1917) and it’s Veterans Administration Hospital period (1922-2005), the plans give us some insight to buildings constructed during the brief time the property was used as a Naval camp, buildings that our friend Carl E. Matthes Sr. might have had a hand in designing or building.

**Gulfport Veterans Hospital, Gulfport (1923-37)–Built on land originally developed for Mississippi’s first Centennial celebration, the old Gulfport Veterans’ Hospital, now being re-developed into a mixed-use zone called Centennial Plaza, is both architecturally and historically important.

Renovation plans for the property, rechristened Centennial Plaza, have had fits and spurts, never quite getting underway since the announcement of the reuse of the property as a mixed-use facility after the Feds turned the former VA hospital property over to the City of Gulfport.  The last news I recall about the property was that Virginia attorney Robert Lubin had acquired a stake in the project.  Lubin has two other high-profile and historic properties that have appeared to stall out in their rehabilitation: the Eola Hotel in Natchez, and the Markham Hotel in Gulfport.

Categories: Demolition/Abandonment, Gulfport, Historic Preservation, Hospitals/Medical, Lost Mississippi, Military


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