New research available on Mississippi’s oldest building

Yesterday, a colleague pointed out to me that two new reports on the de la Pointe-Krebs House in Pascagoula were now available online.  If you’re unfamiliar with the state’s oldest standing documented building, the MDAH Historic Resource Inventory Database entry provides the Bona fides…

de la Pointe Krebs House, Pascagoula, Jackson County c. 2017

Dated to 1757 through dendrochonology in 2016, the house is the oldest surviving building in Mississippi. The East Room was added around 1762, and the West Room probably around 1820. In the 1990s it underwent a substantial restoration to return it to its appearance as of about 1820. Owned by Jackson County and operated as a museum. Listed on the National Register on 3 September 1971. Designated a Mississippi Landmark on 5 January 1984. This building received an Historic Preservation Fund grant of $20,000 in 1978 and a grant of $45,000 under the Emergency Jobs Act of 1983. It received flooding damage from Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005, including damage to the porch that exposed previous termite damage. Included in Historic Architecture in Mississippi (pp. 102-103). [HABS: MS-18 (1936/1940): photos and measured drawings]

Since Katrina, the building has undergone stabilization and phased restoration. Earlier this year it got a much-needed boost from a one million dollar funding bill signed by Gov. Bryant.  There has been a lot of work that has gone into determining the best course for preserving such a rare survivor.  The first is the dendronchonology that was conducted on the building.  Completed in 2016, this work determined, scientifically, when the wood used in the building was felled. Completed by the Dendrochronology Lab of the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Southern Mississippi, the report compiles their findings.  One interesting detail of note was that the oldest tree used in the building had been alive in 1572.  You can download the 10 page report here… https://www.academia.edu/36589237/Precision_dating_and_cultural_history_of_the_La_Pointe-Krebs_House_22JA526_Pascagoula_Mississippi_USA

The USM report references another in-depth study of the house completed by architectural conservator George T. Fore.  Weighing in at 78 pages, this report covers the entire architectural development of the house, a worthy look at our state’s oldest standing European structure.  There are several diagrams such as the one shown above that really do a great job of explaining how the building evolved over time.  For sure, I’ll be pouring over this one for the next few days.  This report can be downloaded from the MDAH HRI Database here… https://www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/upload/rptdocs/prop/14996/LPK%202017%20Arch-Interp%20StudyScott.pdf

Check these two reports out and let us know what you think!



Categories: Architectural Research, Cool Old Places, Historic Preservation, MDAH, Pascagoula, Preservation Education

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2 replies

  1. i know i will enjoy reading all of this… the structure is one of the first ‘really old mississppi places’ i visited as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yes, misspelled ‘mississippi’–but, was typing in a rush! please forgive me, friends.

    Like

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