2001


 

Greek Revival Homes of the Delta

2017 Update- In Progress

Burrus House- Saved

Benoit, Mississippi

Following a long and loving restoration, the Burrus House can be rented for special occasions and events. Eustace H. Winn IV, the proprietor of Hollywood Plantation, LLC, and descendant of the Burrus family lives on the property. He and other family members brought the house to its present state of restored grandeur.

Pugh-Blundell House-In Progress

Yazoo City, Mississippi

The Restoration and Beautification Foundation of Yazoo City owns the Pugh-Blundell House and has proven to be good, protective guardians. Exterior repairs and the first-floor and second-floor interiors are complete. The house has been restored, however, it is still without power and water. The Restoration and Beautification Foundation of Yazoo City hope to solve this issue quickly.

Griffin-Spragins House-Saved

Washington County, Mississippi

The Griffin Spragins House has been fully restored, is lovingly cared for and is the private residence of Walley Morse.


Hawkins Field Old Terminal

1936
Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)

The Terminal Building at Hawkins Field in Jackson was constructed in 1936 with WPA labor and is of national importance as one of only a few relatively intact civil aviation facilities surviving from the 1930s. While not as elaborate or as large as some other airports across the country, the Terminal Building is a well-preserved example of the facilities built in smaller cities during the decade before World War II at the dawn of commercial aviation in the United States. In 1941, Hawkins Field was designated as the Jackson Air Base, and the Netherlands Military Flying School used the base to train Dutch pilots during WWII.

2017 Update – In Progress

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority. The Jackson Airport Authority has plans to fully restore the old Hawkins Field Terminal. The designs for Hawkins restoration is being done by the Kimley Horn Aviation Planning Group. Airport management says they plan on having a museum and place for airport workers and patrons to relax and get a cup of coffee. They expect the bidding process for a contractor to begin soon.


Mississippi Industrial College

circa 1880

Holly Springs, Mississippi (Marshall County)

Founded in 1905 on the outskirts of Holly Springs, the Mississippi Industrial College trained young African Americans for 77 years under the sponsorship of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell established the school “for the literary and industrial training of the Negro youth, to train young men and women in Christian ideals, to furnish a practical education, and to make of them better citizens.” Between 1906 and 1982, when the college closed, the school expanded from its two original buildings – Catherine Hall (1906) and Hammond Hall (1906) – to include ten structures, including dormitories, classroom buildings, teachers’ houses, and a gymnasium. Today, four historic buildings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Mississippi Industrial College Historic District, stand unused and deteriorating on the west side of Highway 78, across from Rust College. Some stabilization work on the campus also threatens the buildings’ architectural integrity.

2017 Update – No Progress

At the request of the owners of the property, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the complex was designated a Mississippi landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on November 14, 2002.

Holly Springs-based Rust College purchased the property on which the Industrial College stands. A representative from Rust Collge expressed optimism about the future for the old Industrial College campus and its potential restoration and adaptive reuse. The Rust representative also stated that Rust had received a large Federal grant to be put toward the Industrial College campus. A later conversation with Dr. Ishmell Edwards who oversees the Mississippi Industrial College Campus revealed that the college has already used most of the Federal Grant money for stabilization.  Rust is currently in the process of getting bids on some much needed new roofs a and windows for the old campus’ buildings.


Moore Fire Tower

1940

Forest, Mississippi – vicinity (Scott County)

Located in Scott County on the Bienville Ranger District of the Mississippi National Forests, the Moore Fire Tower was constructed in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to identify forest fires and pinpoint their exact location with state-of-the-art equipment called a survey alidade. The 100 foot high tower, was constructed specifically for its site with steel A-frames, is the only one of its type in Mississippi. Its unusual features are the staircase located outside the tower, spacious cabin, hip roof with wood shingles, and wood observation deck surrounding the entire cabin. Faithfully manned since 1940, the tower was finally retired from service in 1996 due to the increasing use of aircraft for fire detection. The tower’s four-year vacancy has left it in a critical state of disrepair with rotting steps, a leaking roof, and failing metal frame joints. While it has the distinction of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Lookouts, the fate of the Moore Fire Tower remains at a critical juncture.

2017 Update – SAVED

The Mississippi Forestry Service has allocated funds to repair and replace many of the damaged steps, fix the twisted and rusted beams, and replace the roof. Some cosmetic repairs are still to be made to the interior of the structure, but at present it is structurally sound. The Forestry Service does not plan to open the tower up to tours but may incorporate visits to the tower with other tours so that interested visitors are able to at least see the structure.


Old Wesson Public School

1893

Wesson, Mississippi (Copiah County)

Joining Mississippi’s efforts to rebuild its post-Civil War economy, Colonel James Madison Wesson moved to Copiah County and established the Mississippi Manufacturing Company, later known as the Mississippi Mills. He became the engineer of a textile industry and the founder of the town of Wesson. Thousands of people were employed with the company during its peak years and as the town grew, new facilities were constructed to support its growing population. The Old Wesson School, a two-story brick veneer Romanesque Revival Style building originally built in 1889 and rebuilt in 1893 after it was destroyed by fire, is significant as one of three remaining public buildings associated with Wesson’s historic development fostered by the textile industry. A Mississippi Landmark and National Register of Historic Places property, the Old Wesson School has an unusual industrial appearance, and may have been designed by the same architect and in the same style as the original Mississippi Mills buildings.

2015 Update – SAVED

Exterior renovations of the building was completed in 2003 and made possible by funding from two grants: a Community Heritage Preservation grant through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and an Economic Development grant from the Mississippi Development Authority.  The Legislature approved an additional $1 million in funding to continue renovation of the interior of the school. Now, the Old Wesson Public School is home to a breathtaking event venue for weddings, meetings, reunions, and conferences.


Rosenwald-Schools-4-500x320.jpg

Rosenwald Schools

Statewide

In the 1920’s and 1930’s thousands of schools were built in very rural areas of the South for African American communities through a program that Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears at the time, and Booker T. Washington developed. The Rosenwald Fund was developed as a community assistance program to help bring education to the poorest parts of the country. Only fifteen of the original five hundred and fifty-seven schools in Mississippi aided by the Rosenwald Fund are known to still stand. Of these, about half are either greatly altered or in a deteriorated state. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Rosenwald Initiative, created to document the history of the Rosenwald Fund and aid in preservation efforts across the South, has resulted in renewed interest in these important community landmarks. In Pass Christian, the Randolph School (1928), the only remaining Rosenwald on the Coast, sustained serious damage from Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge. Understanding the significance of the building, the City of Pass Christian decided to repair the old school. Through the Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation, the school is being restored and is set to open in 2011 as a community center. Prentiss Institute’s Rosenwald building (1926) – the center of this “Tuskegee Model” institution in Jefferson Davis County—was awarded $190,000 through the Community Heritage Preservation Grant program in 2006 for a full rehabilitation. The building was vacant and in an advanced stage of deterioration, but now will be an active community center again. Other smaller schools, like the Ginntown School (1920) in Walthall County, have been “re-discovered” by their alumni and will be brought back to life again as vital cores of their rural neighborhoods. The Bay Springs School north of Hattiesburg, which sustained roof and foundation damage in Hurricane Katrina is about to undergo a major repair and renovation. There has been progress at many Rosenwald schools; however, the balance still remains endangered so those that survive are even more precious as landmarks of dedication and education in their communities.

2017 Update – In Progress

On June 10, 2014, the Mississippi Heritage Trust presented Heritage Awards to four Rosenwald schools- the Randolph school in Pass Christian, Bay Springs School in Kelly Settlement, Prentiss Normal Institute and the Walthall County Training School.

With 18 surviving Rosenwald Schools in the state, these buildings serve as a tool to teach about community and partnership in the face of adversity.


The Cedars

circa 1840

Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)

The Cedars is one of Jackson’s oldest residences. It was constructed around 1840 as a two-room galleried cottage. At some point, a one-room schoolhouse was attached to the north side of the house and additions were built on the rear, closing in the rear porch. Through several owners, one of whom was Governor Hugh White, and a few changes, one of the city’s few antebellum buildings has retained considerable integrity and conveys a great deal about the historical growth of the city and the formerly rural nature of areas surrounding downtown Jackson. Located on Old Canton Road south of Meadowbrook Road, the house’s proximity to Interstate-55 has already changed the surrounding neighborhood dramatically, and recent developments of zero-lot line residences on the adjacent properties leaves the Cedars more vulnerable than ever. Recently, the Cedars sold for a large asking price, which increases the probability that the location of the property will supercede the historical importance of the house and site.

2017 Update – SAVED

Having purchased The Cedars and surrounding property, the Coggins family donated the house to the Fondren Renaissance Association (FRA) with the stipulation that the building be moved so the lot could be developed with condos.  However, plans for the development fell through and the owners offered the lot to the Fondren Renaissance Foundation.  The organization took on the monumental task of raising the money to purchase the property and to restore the house.  The money raised was enough to buy the property and to receive a matching grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission Building Fund for the Arts to reuse the house as a community visual and performing arts center.   Renovation work was completed on the house in the summer of 2004 and it was dedicated on August 29, 2004.

Now, The Cedars is home to an art gallery and is used for community functions and fundraisers.  The open floor plan and versatility easily accommodates functions with up to 500 attendees. The Fondren Renaissance Foundation sponsors “Four Seasons of The Cedars” and Symphony at Sunset with the full Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The Cedars represents a tremendous effort on the part of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation and the many people in the Fondren neighborhood and others who gave time and money to save the house in its original location and to help bring it back to life for the community.


Dairy Farms of Oktibbeha County and the Old Co-Op in Starkville

Starkville, Mississippi (Oktibbeha County)

Opened in 1929 with great fanfare and high expectations, the Cooperative Creamery in Starkville, in Oktibbeha County represented the growth and importance of the dairy industry in Mississippi following the decline in the cotton culture. At its height in 1958, Oktibbeha County’s dairy industry relied on 123 family-run dairy farms. In 2001, the county has six dairy farms, and the once modern and gleaming Creamery is a roofless shell of a building. The Creamery’s steel frame and windows, gleaming interior tile, and yellow exterior are waiting for a new use and for recognition of their part in local and state agricultural history.

2017 Update – Lost

Unfortunately, the Cooperative Creamery was demolished in 2005. Development continues to occur on the lands formerly occupied by the Oktibbeha County Dairy Farms, erasing the agricultural history of the area.  In 2017, there are no remaining dairies in Oktibbeha County.

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The Watkins Museum

1901

Taylorsville, Mississippi (Smith County)

Owned by the town of Taylorsville, the Watkins Museum building is a Mississippi Landmark. The museum serves as a monument to early life in Taylorsville and the history of Mississippi journalism, as the site is the former office of the Taylorsville Signal. Constructed in 1901, it served as a newspaper office well into the 1960s and, today, still houses the 19th century presses and newspaper artifacts used to produce the Signal. Since 1972, the building has been utilized as a museum with the Taylorsville Historical Society at the helm of its preservation efforts. When listed on Mississippi 10 Most Endangered Places in 2001, the building, which is one of the few wooden structures to survive the fires that ravaged Taylorsville in the early 20th century, was threatened by deterioration to the foundation and sills, as well as a lack of funds to address the problems.

2017 Update – SAVED

In December 2002, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History awarded a $120,000 Mississippi Landmark Grant to the Watkins Museum, for exterior and interior repairs to the building. After repairs were made, Hurricane Katrina damaged the building, causing it to lean to one side. The city of Taylorsville has once again restored the building.

The Watkins Museum displays old printing equipment using brass type, wooden type, cooper plates advertising victrolas, early model refrigerators, patent medicines, and buckets of ink. Merchandise from the General Store is also showcased, including an assortment of high-buttoned shoes, lace-up boots, ladies hats, baby ointment, copies of vintage magazines, sheet music, caned and cowhide-bottomed chairs and a spinning wheel.


Rippy Road and the Turkey Creek Community

late 1800s

North Gulfport, Mississippi (Harrison County)

The Rippy Road Community near the Regional Airport in Gulfport is a rarity in Mississippi. It is a post-Civil War African American community that retains much of its original architectural integrity. As Gulfport grew in the late 19th and early 20th century, African Americans were drawn to the area in search of jobs. They were largely segregated from areas near the Gulf, so the community of North Gulfport was established, and a neighborhood grew in nearby Rippy Road. Over the years, the old character of North Gulfport has been lost, but the small Rippy Road community has managed to hold true to its origins. Nearby Turkey Creek served the community as a recreation area since the African American residents were not allowed to use the beaches. Both of these tiny areas are threatened by encroaching development pressure.

2017 Update – In Progress

Since the 2001 designation, the Rippy Road community has experienced a mix of success, setbacks, and unexpected new challenges like Hurricane Katrina. One of the homes, the Benton House, is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Turkey Creek community was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district in 2009. Nevertheless, escalating threats of urban sprawl, deforestation, and environmental problems continually must be faced. 12 acres of wooded wetlands abutting to the south have been slated for a rental car parking and car wash facility for the airport. Even worse, a proposed connector road between I-10 and the airport would bisect Rippy Road as well as run through both the historic “Colored School” grounds and the cemetery. The proximity to active and inactive chemical plants like the EPA-cited Gulfcoast Creosote Co., pose additional obstacles to community survival. However, hopes have been lifted by support from historic preservationists and environmental justice advocates who learned of the plight of the area largely through MHT’s timely concern and 10 Most publicity.


Laura Beth Lott