Happy Birthday, N.W. Overstreet! Just like Yankee Doodle Dandy, he was born on the 4th of July. Today would be N.W. Overstreet’s 130th birthday, as he was born on July 4th, 1888. Overstreet has left an indelible imprint all across Mississippi with his buildings. He has been featured on MissPres on multiple occasions.
N. W. Overstreet c. 1908 from the 1908 Reville MSU yearbook
Naef, Gates, Matthes, and Overstreet (1970)
N.W. Overstreet, Architect Daily Clarion-Ledger Jackson, MS Oct. 14, 1923
Starkville City Hall, Starkville, Oktibbeha County. Starkville’s Art Moderne-style former armory and City Hall, built 1940-41, has a two-story central mass with one-story wings to each side. is historically significant because of its association with the military, WPA, and Starkville local government. The building is one of seven armories built in Mississippi built on a Moderne-style prototype design prepared for the Mississippi National Guard by the Jackson firm of Overstreet and Town. N.W. Overstreet was the dean of the architectural profession in Mississippi and A. Hays Town was one of the state’s most gifted designers during the 1930s and was particularly adept in the Modern style. Overstreet and Town were also pioneers of poured-in-place concrete construction in the state in the 1930s. In “Design for Concrete Armories-Mississippi,” Overstreet described the advantages of the design: “in many small [Mississippi] towns the armory is the only community center, the only theatre, gymnasium or public place of assembly.” For this reason, the prototype design included a stage with a proscenium in the drill hall.
Port Gibson High School (1924)–reminds me of the late lamented Inverness High School, designed by N.W. Overstreet
Dedwyler Memorial Health Center, Cleveland (1950), N.W. Overstreet & Assoc., archts.
Tunica Penal Farm (1934), possibly Overstreet & Town’s first concrete building in Mississippi.
Church Street Elementary (1936, Overstreet & Town, archts.)
Holmes County Jail, built in 1936 as Public Works Administration (PWA) project #1019, this jail was designed by the Jackson firm of N.W. Overstreet & Town (this was after Town became a partner in the firm–when he designed the hospital, he wasn’t yet a partner). The jail is a designated Mississippi Landmark.
Tippah County Jail (1938), Ripley [Overstreet & Town, archts.]–one of seven concrete jails designed by Overstreet & Town.
Bailey Junior High School, Jackson (Overstreet & Town, 1937)
Eudora Welty House, built 1925–I think this was designed by N.W. Overstreet, although the official literature doesn’t agree with my opinion
What an amazing collection! I loved the Holmes County Jail the second I saw that on my first and only trip to Lexington. It is good to be back in MissPres territory after my long absence.
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GREAT WAY TO START THE 4TH; WONDERFUL TO SEE THE PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLAGE. THANKS.
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neglected to mention that i was happy to see the group photo of elderly, pioneer professional architects naef, gates, mathes, and overstreet; am proud to be related to mr gates, and was priviledged to know him in the latter part of his life.
but, more importantly, while this is ‘off’ the topic of mr overstreet, it is on the topic of ‘mississippi’s history and environment’–natural and built. this week is the last week of the very important bicentennial exhibition, “picturing mississippi/1817-2017/land of plenty, pain, and promise” at the mississippi museum of art, jackson. it opened back in dec, 2017, very near the actual anniversary date of our statehood, and it runs through july 8th. i had certainly hoped to be able to come down and see it, since it is a ‘gathering’ of art about our state, by about 100 different artists, that will never happen again. i know this isn’t going to happen, but i urge all of you who can make the trek to jackson–or, who live in jackson and haven’t made your way to the museum–‘go’! (and, it’s free!) if you can’t get there, the fine catalogue will continue to be available after the show closes. (needless to say, various mississippi buildings appear throughout the graphic media presented.)
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Mississippi State Teachers College’s Demonstration School finally gets its place in the sun. It was my parents’ alma mater in 1935. The USM Liberal Arts building now sits on the site (3105 Pearl Street) that our home occupied when I attended that school there from 1946 to 1954, with a two-year interruption at Jeff Davis Elementary School.
In 1959, Columbus’ Lee(Jr.) High School burned. It had become a junior high school when S. D. Lee High School was built in 1953.The new high school is now the “Lee Middle School” on Military Road.
The original Lee High was built circa 1919. It has all the appearance to me of an Overstreet creation. He would have been thirty-one years of age at the time. Maybe Mona at the Lowndes library can tell us, but not today.
Any chance that Fritz Behn’s bronze work will be on display at the art event? Seriously,
I suspect, though, Behn’s work would end up like “The Scaffold” art work at the Mankota, Minnesota Arts Festival last year with a mob demanding that “The Scaffold” be dismantled, burned, the ashes buried and the artist verbally tarred, feathered and run out of town. I guess that that Minnesotans didn’t want to be reminded that while their glorious militia was in the Southland freeing the slaves in 1862, the State was busy handing out bounty monies to its citizenry for bringing in scalps peeled from the heads of its native population. The case of Little Crow is very sad. Maybe Bob Dylan can come up with a Blowing In the Wind” musical eulogy to Little Crow.
Behn’s bronze work of worldly peoples and animals is legend. And speaking of legend and bronze figures, I came across a website relaying the good news that the Filleni Brothers bronze statues–thought to have been stolen during the NATO bombing– have been found in Libya and secured from any further theft attempts by art thieves, unlike what happened at Iraq’s Museum of the Antiquities in 2003, when the museum was the the first target hit by Bush’s cruise missiles. Robert Fisk claims the first-fired missile stroke the museum NOT the Presidential Palace.
To a novice, the statues appear to be Behn’s art work. I haven’t found where provenance has been determined for the statues but the Marble(really, a sedimentary material) Arch was dedicated by el Duce to honor the event of Italo Balbo’s completion of the Tripoli-Benghazi coastal highway in 1937. The Arch marked the ‘legendary” demarcation line between the provinces of Carthaginia and Cyrenaica. Behn had already done works for Mussolini, Hitler, Albert Schweitzer, Oswald Spengler, Bismark and numerous post-WWI war memorials. At the top of the Arch is a “cutout”–a tomb where the two bronze statues were lying in repose, barely visible from the ground. The Arch is 100 feet in height.
As a spec/4 with the U.S Army in 1962, our convoy passed under the Marble Arch at Marsa Brega near Sirte, Libya when travelling from Tripoli to Benghazi. I was unaware until years after the deployment that the Marble Arch had been taken down, and that the Fellini Bronzes statues had been atop the Arch.
Still puzzled as to the circumstance that brought about the meeting between the “The Man” and Fritz Behn?
first things first— the only architectural drawing class i ever took –you were expected to know how to do this before studying architecture at rice in the 1960s–was from a usm prof in a classroom in mr gentry’s grammar school==mr overstreet’s ‘demonstration school’—–between high school and my freshman year— no a/c but the building didn’t seem impossibly hot—‘july in ms’—which, is cooler than ‘july in upstate ny’ right now!
secondly, for toniclifton– i was unfamiliar with the name, fritz behn, but immediately went to the ‘painting ms’ catalogue, for ms-related sculpture is certainly in the show. no luck in the list of artists, however. then, onto ‘reliable?’ wiki, and quite a bit about him— and, in fact, i have seen some of his work in germany without knowing about him. on the other hand, i didn’t see any connections to ms, so, that’s probably one reason why his work isn’t in that show.
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At Demonstration were there ten ft. ceilings, dark-stain wood interior, transom windows doors, wood floors and real brass hardware gutted? You can see a likeness of old Demonstration furniture in the WPA American Legion Hut # 24 across from Hawkins, Jr. High…now Hawkins Elementary. The USO stage curtains with the American Legion logo are still extant. The absence of a/c leads me to believe that the architectural Re-Constructionists had not targeted Demonstration at that time you\ were there.
I can see from Jennifer’s photo that the presence of exterior aluminum window frames and doors frames would lead me to believe that the interior had been bubba’d at some point in time. Did you know any of the Overstreet family(six kids) in town that were from Moselle? The head of the family was from Moselle but had gone North in the 1930s to Cincinnati and rob banks for a living, and take an immigrant German wife. He got caught, spent time in prison and wrote a book: From Prison to Pulpit by Phillip Overstreet. The family moved back to Moselle and Hattiesburg(across from Jeff Davis) in 1951 and Philip made a living hauling pecans North in a bob truck and bringing back player pianos. he suffered a fatal heart attack in his forties. My family bought one of the pianos. That Bob-truck was not equipped with a “Tommy-Lift” and the heavy lifting stress probably brought on that heart attack. Too late to inquire about Overstreet family connections.
I think Mr. Clinton would tell you to look in Rm 113 at the Capitol building for Behn’s Mississippi-related bronze statue of The Man. William Winter removed the bronze statue from its proper place in the Capitol Building. MIRA cloaked the face of the statue with a Mexican blanket and posted it to the net. The photo has since been taken down.
Having the bronze statue as star attraction would show that the folks of Mississippi have more tolerance than those Minnesotans who destroy and censure unpopular art themes and scalp their own people for fun and profit.
I contacted Laurel Mississippi artist and unindicted grandmeister art forger Mark Landis to see if he was aware of the bicentennial art exhibition in Jackson, but he that said he had not heard of it. He did say that he has an art exhibit of his own work scheduled for the Coast later this month.
An example of Mark’s own work: Madonna… oil on wood sans colored pencils
morning, mr gentry–i know of mr landis, and i am surprised that he hadn’t heard of the ‘picturing mississippi’ show—perhaps there was a lot of publicity around the time it opened in december of last year and little subsequently. it is an exhibition that was years in the making, etc. there were many people involved, and the guest curators included historian mimi miler from the historic natchez foundation, who, i presume, helped to arrange loans from collections in natchez. go to the museum’s website and scroll until you find the blog on the show. so many of our readers here on mspres would enjoy the show, i think, so, i say again, ‘if you have n’t seen it and are able to get to jackson by the 8th, go’!
How do I know if the house that I live in now was built by N.W. Overstreet ?? I was told that my house has been built by N.W. Overstreet, I would appreciate any help. The house is in Fondren over Kings Highway Street