Pat Harrison Waterway Building before Forrest County destroyed it

Back in 2013, I encountered the Pat Harrison Waterway Building while it was still the Pat Harrison Waterway Building, and since it was a beautiful blue-sky day that showed its tile mosaic and modernist details, such as its metal screen (bris soleil) and concrete bridge, to full effect, I stopped to take some photos. These are the best from that group, and the last photos I have of the building before it was demolished 10 days ago without permits by Forrest County, ostensibly so Forrest County General Hospital (seen looming in the background in a couple of these pictures) can expand and the highway can be re-oriented at that entrance (although it is not clear that MDOT has plans to re-orient the highway at that entrance). What a great building this was, and what a shame the powers that be in Forrest County were so short-sighted and willing to break the law to demolish it.

Categories: Demolition/Abandonment, Hattiesburg


9 replies

  1. At the risk of sounding obvious, there is a lot of that going around these days.


  2. That’s a beauty. Sad to see the loss.


  3. Unforgivable transgression against the past, art, architecture, Forrest County, the state of Mississippi and everyone who loves beautiful buildings.


  4. These pictures show that Mississippi has lost one of its best Mid-Century Modern buildings due to one of those two natural enemies of great architecture that Richard Nickel warned historic preservationists about: stupid men. Mid-Century Modern architecture is not my favorite style (it has grown on me a little over the years), but this building was a stunning expression of that era’s optimism. It was the type of building that could only be envisioned on a sunny day; gray skies just clashed with its whole ethos.

    People today, particularly conservative public officials, like to bandy about the term “law and order” to show how tough and virtuous they are (and why we should vote for them). Now what is good for the goose is good for the gander; so, it is time to make sure that the public officials who did this are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thanks for those ‘now-sad’ photos. i remember when the building was constructed, and, yes, at the time, it was certainly unusual.–a great big ‘painting’ with a smallish building to the side and back,, behind screens. and, it ‘worked’ with a big highway nearby! very much in the idiom of what the late robert venturi, denise scott-brown, and steven izenhour discussed in ‘learning from las vegas’ (did i spell izenhour’s name correctly?)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. my apologies to mr izenour—i added an ‘h’.


  7. It is incomprehensible that they would have torn down a building like this. Richard Becherer


  8. OMG, this makes me sick! I was hired to repair that mosaic while I was there for grad school (1990’s). Had to do it from a huge lift and it scared the +”*& out of me. It was a true work of art and craftsmanship. We have no appreciation for the amazing talent in structures like this. Shameful!!


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