Before and After: MinTrads in Belhaven, 1940

I didn’t get interested in historic preservation because I loved the simple asbestos-shingled houses of the 1930s through the 1950s that have come to be called Minimal Traditional style, but I have to admit that over the years, I’ve really come to love this era of housing, probably because I’ve lived in a 1950 Minimal Traditional for 20 years now. These non-flashy houses are solid, American, and fiscally responsible (which is very important to me and, I’m told, Tate Reeves), but they have all the amenities I love in old houses, like conventional foundations, porches, wood floors, solid doors, and wood windows, along with original modern conveniences such as a decent-sized kitchen and nicely tiled bathrooms. So when I stumbled across this little notice in the Sunday real estate section of the January 21, 1940 issue of the Clarion-Ledger, I had to smile–and then go look at how these MinTrads have fared. Thankfully, Belhaven has a local historic district that has kept demolition in the neighborhood to a minimum and has done a good job at maintaining the huge variety of styles found here, including these 1940 houses.

Great job, Belhaven neighborhood and the Jackson Historic Preservation Commission!

Notice also that C.C. Scott, former attorney and brother of Thomas B. Scott, was the general contractor, and an architect I haven’t paid much attention to, H(enry) G. Markel, designed two of the houses. Turns out, when I search the newspapers a little bit, Markel had a busy single-practioner operation, with residential and restaurant designs as his specialties.

I think I’ve identified the perspective of the 1940 photo based on that second house from the left. Take a virtual drive down Piedmont Street and see what you think.

Something that surprised me was the identification of Piedmont as being in “Belhaven Heights.” This may have been just a real estate advertisement liberty, but my understanding is the Belhaven Heights has always been the area south of Fortification–some of these blocks are on one of the highest points in Jackson–while north of Fortification was just “Belhaven.” Surely some long-time Jacksonian can give us the low-down?

Need more Belhaven?

Categories: Jackson


7 replies

  1. I think you did locate the exact spot!


  2. Yes, Baptist Hospital, safeguard that building!


  3. My home on St. Ann street is listed on official documentation as being in Belhaven Heights. I’m not sure when the two became separate designations.


  4. Here is a map from the mid 20th century (anyone want to help pin down that date?) that shows 2/3 of Belhaven Heights on the Belhaven side of Fortification: (Once there click on “Link to Electronic Resource” to see the map) Notice the old street names and the missing part that was demolished to build the interstate. Also notice that this is only the back side of both neighborhoods; I think it is mostly the Sylvan Woods development of the ’30s, wasn’t it?
    I kind of think that the “Heights” was dropped eventually from that side to distinguish them from one another or to be exclusive …


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