Bonds in the amount of $20,500 were passed in Greenwood for the purchase of land to build a new and larger city hall in May 1929. By July 6, moving of the “old Ed Bryan home” was underway from the lot on the corner of Main and Church streets. The former Bryan house was moved to property in South Greenwood owned by the city, with plans to convert into two residences for city employees (“Bryan Property Made Ready for New City Hall.”(Greenwood Commonwealth, July 6, 1929). Not unlike city governments today, the land had been purchased prior to the holding of a special election February 3, 1930 for voters to determine if a new city hall would be erected at a cost of $85,000 (Greenwood Commonwealth, Jan. 9, 1930, p. 1). The proposed city hall would house the fire department and city jail in addition to other city departments. In November, the City Council prepared to ask for architectural designs and bids to replace the 1904 city hall at 103 E. Market. The fire department was housed at Carrollton and Howard street.The City Hall constructed at the start of the Great Depression is an Art Deco Stripped Classic design by Greenwood architect Robert James Moor (MDAH Historic Resources Inventory). Moor (1892-1971) was the architect for at least 12 Greenwood buildings, seven other Delta area buildings, and an associate architect for the War Memorial Building in Jackson (E.L. Malvaney was the principal architect on that project). The building contractor was Howell Brothers Construction Company and mechanical contractor was J. D. Lanham, both of Greenwood. The building, its terra cotta decorative medallions and other ornaments (cresting, door surrounds) was designated as a Mississippi Landmark in 2017.
In May 1930 while the building remained under construction, the Commonwealth offered a $10.00 prize for the winner of a contest to select
an emblem or slogan descriptive of Greenwood. This emblem will be worked into the rubber tile on the floor.
What this emblem will say, what it will depict, will depend upon the ingenuity of the people of Greenwood, for they will be given an opptrunity [sic] of suggesting the emblem or slogan, and they will be paid for their trouble.
Mrs. G. L. Ray won the contest with a suggestion of the Greek letter Delta Δ with the inscription “GATEWAY OF THE DELTA” and a bale of cotton in the center. The winning design selected by the judges had to be “workable in the rubber tile with which the floors will be covered” (Greenwood Commonwealth, Jun. 18, 1930, p. 8). Was the tile floor completed with the design, Greenwood? The city hall history page describes visitors to the newly opened city hall as being greeted with a sign bearing the design, and the Commonwealth reported:
The main entrance is on Church street, where the visitor is greeted by a sign bearing in the outlines of a Greek Letter Delta, the legend, “Greenwood, Gateway of the Delta” and in the center of the letter a bale of cotton. (Greenwood Commonwealth, Nov. 1, 1930, p. 1)
Church and Main streets around the post office were widened by six feet, intended to reduce traffic congestion. The Greenwood Commonwealth proposed
With the post office addition nearing completion, it would appear that a continuation of the wider Church street through the block would facilitate traffic and afford greater convenience to those who have business at the postoffice. (May 26, 1930)
Here is an Art Deco City Hall/Fire Department from Weatherford, Texas that has similar details, along with its Art Deco doors that have been retained. How do these compare to Greenwood’s original doors?
Love that Art Deco? How about Stripped Classic?