New Deal in Mississippi: Coxburg School

Two of the buildings for the Coxburg Consolidated School were constructed with New Deal Administration funding.  Holmes County considered a $20,000 bond issue for the Coxburg Consolidated school district to erect, repair, and equip “school buildings and teachers’ home for the white children and teachers of the Coxburg school” (Tchula to vote on school bond issue, Clarion-Ledger, Jul. 25, 1930, p. 4).  By 1932, the new administration building had been constructed, according to the MDAH Historic Resources Inventory.  A short 3 years later, the building was destroyed by fire.

The main building and teachers home of the Coxburg Consolidated school, largest school in this county were completely destroyed last night by flames.  Loss was estimated at approximately $20,000 and was partially covered by insurance.

Discovered about 9:30 last night by some residents at a tourist camp nearby, the flames were too far advanced to be brought under control.  The teaching staff was at a meeting in the Ebenezer community.

Classes will be held temporarily in the science hall of the school and nearby churches.  It was not readily determined whether or not the buildings would be replaced soon. (Fire destroys Holmes school. Clarion-Ledger, Nov. 23, 1935, p. 3)

Coxburg main building

Coxburg Administration and Classroom Building II. MDAH Digital Archives Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks

Application was made for a new administration and classroom building to be funded by PWA, and in July 1936, Senator Pat Harrison was advised it would be approved–along with 12 other projects–provided construction was begun by October 1.  Project W1204 was approved July 21, 1936 in the amount of a $20,000 loan and a $17,590 grant.  Construction began October 12, and was completed December 29, 1937 for a total cost of $41,043 (Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, Jan. 3, 1940, p. 105 of Region 3 Mississippi report).

Coxburg school rear elevation

Coxburg Administration and Classroom Building II Rear Elevation. MDAH Digital Archives Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks

According to the MDAH Historic Resources Inventory, Robert William Naef was architect.  The school building was destroyed by a fire of undetermined origin in 1959, and the principal estimated replacement at $100,000 (Fire razes school at Lexington. Clarion-Ledger, Feb. 1, 1959, p. 1).

Coxburg teacherage

Coxburg Teacherage. MDAH Digital Archives Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks

The earlier teacher’s house at Coxburg was destroyed in the 1935 fire.  Included in the PWA project that rebuilt the administration building and classrooms was a new teacher’s home (PWA gives state almost $900,000. Clarion-Ledger, Jul. 29, 1936, p. 1).

Coxburg gymnasium

Coxburg Gymnasium. MDAH Digital Archives Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks

The gymnasium was constructed in 1938 as a National Youth Administration project.  Cost was approximately $5,000 and it was 80x 100 feet (Coxburg school will build gym. Clarion-Ledger, Aug. 11, 1938, p. 11).  The MDAH HRI indicates the gym was destroyed in 1952 when a new gymnasium was constructed for Coxburg, but I cannot locate information about either of those in the newspapers.  The embedded map further down shows the gymnasium building above still extant, and the Phay photographs of the Coxburg schools were taken 1955.

Coxburg lunchroom and vocational building

The lunchroom and vocational building were constructed c. 1940 according to MDAH HRI.

Coxburg library and auditorium

Coxburg Library and Auditorium. MDAH Digital Archives Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks


Categories: Historic Preservation, New Deal, Schools


1 reply

  1. Coxburg was a favorite of James T. Buck, who wrote for the Lexington Advertiser in the 1930s of his travels by bicycle and by foot around the county before he was, I think, hit by a car and killed.This is what he said about the school in the Nov. 4, 1937 edition of the Advertiser:

    “Arriving in Coxburg about the middle of the afternoon, I stopped first at the new high school building and was glad to learn school had started off nicely with the largest enrollment of pupils in its history, in the neighborhood of three hundred being registered. This is the largest rural school in the county and is in charge of the following instructors: Prof. J.C. Brister, superintendent; R.A. Luter, Mrs.Carra Reedy Loague, Mrs. Merrill Eakin, Miss Katherine Shirley, Miss Mary Robel Stennis, Mrs. Lillian Hocutt, Miss Vesta Pettus, Mrs. W.E. Hearn, Mrs. Nadine Robinson, and Miss Christine Grantham.”

    Liked by 2 people

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