Did N. W. Overstreet ever live in the N. W. Oversteet house?

Several years ago, Malvaney posted some pictures of the beautiful house at 831 Gillespie Street in Jackson. According to the Belhaven Historic District National Register nomination the house was built c.1916 for Overstreet as his personal residence. The National Register nomination also mentions several other houses that Overstreet designed in the neighborhood that were built the late teens and the nineteen-twenties.

831 Gillespie Street Jackson, Mississippi

Recently, I was looking through some 1920 census records and was surprised to see the name of N. W. Overstreet and family listed as domiciled at 1264 North President Street, just a short distance from Gillespie Street. My initial thought was that perhaps the 831 Gillespie house was built a bit later than initially anticipated, but the house appears on the November 1918 Sanborn map, so I became even more puzzled. Checking the 1930 and 1940 census records show that Overstreet was still living 1264 North President Street. The 1943-1947 Jackson City Directories give Overstreet’s home address as 1529 Peachtree. By 1954-1959 the family address is given as 940 Bellevue Place. A Northside Sun article dated September 27, 1973, gives his home address as 747 Belhaven Street.

1529 Peachtree St. Jackson MS. Built 1927 James M. Spain Archt. N.W. Overstreet’s home from c.1943-c.1947

As for 831 Gillespie itself, a 1963 Clarion-Ledger article lists the house as the Owens family residence. In 1966 the house was listed for sale in the Clarion-Ledger. Conceivably, Overstreet bought his house back, yet moved to 747 Belhaven Street before 1973, the year of his passing? Not implausible but somewhat doubtful.

831 Gillespie Street Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson Daily News. Wednesday, November 18, 1914

So perhaps Overstreet’s personal association with the residence comes prior to 1920. Overstreet’s June 5, 1917 draft registration does state that 831 Gillespie is his home, as did the 1916 Jackson City Directory. Looking into the Clarion-Ledger, I found this gem of an advertisement, that places the date of construction to earlier than originally believed. In November of 1914, Overstreet offered the house for sale or rent.

For all anyone knows Overstreet was not able to find a buyer or renter for the house and lived there until he could? Unfortunately, the statement that Overstreet lived in this house for nearly 60 years just doesn’t seem to be the case. What is sad to see also is that so many of his documented residences have gone the way of the wrecking ball. The houses at 1264 North President, 940 Bellevue Place, and 747 Belhaven Street are just the ones we know about.



Categories: Architectural Research, Jackson, Lost Mississippi, National Register

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10 replies

  1. interesting ideas brought forward through your sleuthing. this shows that ‘facts’ are often ‘not facts’, and that statements made for publication should always be checked and re-checked. on the other hand, additional data can always ’emerge’ later.

    and, yes, it is unfortunate that so few of mr overstreet’s houses are left.

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  2. The brick is interesting. Too bad it’s covered with siding and paint now. The old darker color emphasizes some detail that is washed out with the light paint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does look like siding, but I think the horizontal brick joints are raked deeper than the verticle ones, giving that banded appearance. The lighter paint color really brings the shadows out emphasizing this.

      Frank Lloyd Wright used a similar detail to the 1908 Robie House and tuck-pointed the vertical joints with a red-tinted mortar to help the vertical joint disappear even more. It really lends to the horizontal appearance that was desired in the prairie style. Wright certainly did not invent the technique but he did use it to great effect.

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    • The brick is painted, which is unfortunate, as you note. That basketweave pattern in particular would be interesting to recover.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Now you’ve got me curious about the original colors. I assume the green tile roof is on the building in the 1914 photo(although you can’t see the prominent ridge cap on the front door hood.) Maybe a dark green or red for wood trim and windows. A light color for the stucco. But the brick I cannot figure out. perhaps a light red, or maybe a beige?

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        • You are right, of course, that the brick is painted. I obviously didn’t have the picture blown up enough. As for the color, notice how dark the bricks of the steps photograph in comparison. The house bricks (except for the contrasting ones) photograph similarly to the grass. If this picture was taken shortly before publication, the grass may have been beige as well, assuming there had already been a good frost.

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  3. Well, I guess I’ve learned I can’t rely on received wisdom even about architects’ houses. I didn’t check the directories to be sure he lived in this house his whole life, and yes, it appears that perhaps this was more of a spec house for him in the Gillespie Street development and that maybe when it didn’t sell right off, he lived there for a few years. So, he was more like the Scott brothers, moving around a lot, which is surprising to me.

    Also, I’ve had the song “Trailers for Sale or Rent” in my head all day because of that ad. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ha-ha. That is a good one, that you’ve now firmly implanted in my mind.

      I don’t know if Overstreet was as quite as transient as Tom B. Scott was. Scott moved three times in twelve years between 1928 and 1941. Overstreet would move four times (approximately) in fifty-five years between 1918 and 1973. But who is to say how often Overstreet moved between returning to Mississippi in 1912 and 1916 when he’s living on Gillespie.

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