Heritage Award Winners
We would like to recognize each of these individuals for working hard to make Mississippi a better place. Their efforts should not go unnoticed, and we could not be more proud to present them with the 2014 Heritage Award.
Heritage Awards for Preservation Education
A Time to All Things
This 24-minute documentary by filmmaker Rex Jones follows three rural African-American churches in the Mississippi Delta as they struggle to survive the tide of the region’s demographic shifts. Lockalonia, Johnson Chapel, and Samuel Chapel M.B. churches in the Greenwood area remain steadfast in the wake of an aging population and youthful outmigration. A product of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture’s Southern Documentary Project, A Time to All Things captures the love, longing and worry of church members as they work to preserve a way of life focused on faith and community for a future generation. You can view the film at http://vimeo.com/84990241.
Behind the Big House Tour, Holly Springs
Behind the Big House: Preserving the Histories and Architecture of Slavery is an educational program initiated by Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. Held in conjunction with the Annual Pilgrimage that explores the area’s rare extant inventory of structures related to slavery. Now in its fourth season, the tour has garnered rave reviews for its innovative, inclusive approach to heritage tourism. To learn more about the people and places behind Behind the Big House, please visit www.preservemarshallcounty.org.
By the Hand of an Unseen Poet:
The Design, the Mystery and the Restoration of the Charnley-Norwood House
In By the Hand of an Unseen Poet, filmmaker Ellis Anderson has captured the evocative historical background and dramatic preservation rescue of this architectual masterpiece in Ocean Springs. Produced by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the film can be viewed at www.savemyplacems.com.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
In Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, filmmaker Leah Mahan documents the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves back home to the historic African-American community of Turkey Creek when graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make room for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over a twelve year period, Leah captures the efforts of Evans and his neighbors to stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians, deal with the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and face the disastrous BP oil spill.
The story of Turkey Creek holds powerful lessons about the weight of responsibility Turkey Creek citizens felt as they worked through each hardship as a community, wielding historic preservation and environmental conservation as swords to fight “so-called development”. The film was awarded the Audience Award for Documentary Feature when it premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival and has been featured at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington D.C., the Carnegie Institution for Science and the American Film Showcase. Learn about when you can watch the film or purchase your own copy at www.leahmahan.com/comehellorhighwater.
Hub City Lofts Marketing Plan, Hattiesburg
Celebrating the rich history of the America and Carter Buildings, the Hub City Lofts Marketing Plan by Isis Development makes preservation the centerpiece of redevelopment efforts in downtown Hattiesburg. Visit www.hubcitylofts.com to explore this creative and fun approach to capturing and marketing a special sense of place.
Mississippi Historic Courthouse Architecture: A Photographic Essay
As the center of political and social life for generations, the history of Mississippi can be told through its courthouses. Be they fanciful Art Deco or dignified Greek Revival, Mississippi Historic Courthouse Architecture: A Photographic Essay by D. Tracy Ward captures these community treasures and their stories in rich detail. Documenting both extant and lost buildings, the book also shares a short history on the founding of each county.
Preservation in Mississippi
With the goal of building a strong community of local and state preservationists, the blog Preservation in Mississippi was started in 2009 as a chronicle of “historic buildings, places and even a few people in Mississippi”. With over 500 followers and 700,000 views, editor and author E.L. Malvaney’s labor of love is still going strong today. With articles contributed by several authors covering topics that range from silly to insightful to downright painful, Preservation in Mississippi is the preservationist’s go-to forum to keep up with what’s happening around the state. To sign up for daily posts, please visit www.misspreservation.com.
Randolph School Resurrection
This moving film, created by Ellis Anderson Media and produced by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, tells the amazing story of the resurrection of the Randolph School after its run-in with Hurricane Katrina. Watch the film and read about this special place at www.savemyplacems.com.
Shaw Homestead Interpretive Program, Barth
With $64,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area, the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and partner Mississippi State University Gulf Coast Community Design Studio developed an interpretive program to portray the Shaw family and their efforts to build a life on a rural homestead in southern Mississippi in the late 1800s. With educational programs for the community, printed materials and twelve podcasts, the interpretive program is an opportunity to step back in time and experience the joys of canning the harvest from a bountiful summer garden or the backbreaking work of shearing sheep. To listen to the podcasts, please visit www.ltmcp.org/properties/pearl-river-county/shaw-property/background.
Tales from the Crypt Educational Program, Columbus
For the past twenty-four years, students at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science have learned about community building and historic preservation through the wildly popular Tales from the Crypt program, which was created by the late Carl Butler. Under the careful tutelage of Charles Yarborough, students spend a year researching a resident of the Friendship Cemetery and then bring these stories to life with dramatic performances for appreciative crowds during the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation’s annual Spring Pilgrimage. Funds raised by the program are dedicated to historic preservation efforts, including the purchase of a historic marker for Richard’s Wright’s childhood home in Natchez and the acquisition of a slave record manual for a local archive. This fun, innovative program has inspired many other communities to host their own cemetery tours, building awareness and appreciation for historic preservation for both young and old. To learn more about the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, please visit www.themsms.org.
The Plantation World of Wilkinson County, Mississippi 1792-2012
The Plantation World of Wilkinson County: Mississippi 1792-2012 by authors Ernesto Caldeira and Stella M. Pitts covers 220 years of history, from the frontier days of the Mississippi Territory to present day. A volunteer project by the authors and the many civic-minded people who assisted them, the book tells the story of over fifty plantations, some of which are still home to the families who built them. Published by the Woodville Civic Club, all proceeds benefit the preservation and restoration projects of the organization. Order your copy today at www.historicwoodville.org.
Heritage Awards for Restoration
Bay Springs School, Kelly Settlement, Hattiesburg
Bay Springs School was constructed in 1925 by Forrest County’s African-American community with grant assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. Once part of a small complex of buildings constructed in the Kelly Settlement community to provide decent educational facilities for African-American children, the Bay Springs School is the only one remaining today. When the building ceased being used as a school in 1958, it was purchased by renowned Civil Rights leader Vernon Dahmer, Sr. and used as a meeting place for organizing voter registration activities. It has continued to be maintained by the Dahmer family after Mr. Dahmer’s tragic murder in 1966.
One of only 18 Rosenwald buildings still standing in Mississippi out of the 633 that were originally constructed, the school was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Restored with funding from the Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation and the Mississippi Civil Rights Grant Program through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History under the direction of Albert and Associates, Architects, the Bay Springs School is once again a community meeting place, standing as a testament to the determination to provide educational facilities for African-American students and to Vernon Dahmer, Sr.’s role in Mississippi’s civil rights movement.
Bolivar County Courthouse, Rosedale
Located in Rosedale’s historic downtown, the Bolivar County Courthouse was once the pride of the community. Over time, dropping water tables caused water stains, masonry cracks and subsidence of up to ten inches, undermining the stability of the building. Determined to save their treasured courthouse, the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors worked with Belinda Stewart Architects and Roy Collins Construction Company to undertake a $1.3 million dollar restoration. With funding from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and the United State Department of Agriculture, helical piles were used to raise the sinking vaults as well as repair cracks in the masonry and stone details. The project, which showcases the historic beauty of the building, has spurred a revival of downtown Rosedale. Please visit www.belindastewartarchitects.com/courthouse/bolivar-county-courthouse-stabilization-and-restoration for additional information.
Burrus House, Benoit
Constructed in 1858 amongst a grove of Holly trees for Judge J.C. Burrus and his wife, the Burrus House is one of the few remaining antebellum homes in the Delta. During the Civil War, the house became a makeshift hospital where the Burrus family cared for hundreds of Confederate and Union soldiers. A dilapidated Burrus House had a starring role in director Elia Kazan’s film Baby Doll, which caused quite a scandal when it was released in 1955. By 2005, the house was gradually being demolished by the forces of nature. The late Dr. E.H. Winn, Jr. could not bear to see the grand old house lost “on his watch”, and in 2005 formed the Burrus Foundation to oversee and fund the restoration. Under the guidance of Mills and Mills Architects, a number of craftsmen, including Mark Garmillion, Robertson Flooring, Upton Plasterers, Richard Woods and Bobby Faulkner, helped to complete the $1 million dollar restoration of this storied place. The Burrus House is now available to the public for private events and community functions such as the Literary/Culinary Mash Up. Visit www.hollywoodplantation.com for information on renting or visiting the Burrus House.
Coker House, Edwards
Located three miles southeast of Edwards, the Coker House was constructed in 1852 by H. B. Coker, a noted citizen and planter. Although the house survived the pivotal Civil War Battle of Champion Hill in 1863, time and neglect led to its near demise. Listed as one of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2007, the Coker House was later dismantled piece by piece and stored on site, awaiting funds for its reconstruction. Today, the Coker House has been fully reconstructed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Robert Parker Adams, Architect, oversaw the meticulous $800,000 project, which was completed by M&M Services and Mayrant and Associates, Contractors.
Dexter Hall, Boswell Regional Center, Magee
Originally constructed as a four unit, two-story apartment building in 1928, Dexter Hall was recently transformed into four administrative offices for the Boswell Regional Center in Magee. Under the auspices of the Mississippi Bureau of Buildings, Belinda Stewart, Architects and Scarborough Construction completed the $1.3 million dollar project, which included complete window restoration, cast stone restoration, new casework and finishes and a new roof. The restored building, with its lovely historic details, is now a proud centerpiece of the campus.
Enochs Hall Interior Restoration, Mississippi School for the Arts, Brookhaven
The 15,000 square-foot Enochs Hall was built in 1920 as a dormitory and cafeteria on the campus of the former Whitworth College. The phased restoration of Enochs Hall got underway in 1999, when Whitworth College became the Mississippi School for the Arts. The most recent phase included the transformation of the original entry into an elegant reception and exhibition space, as well as the construction of a new black-box theater, classrooms, practice space, a workshop and restrooms. The Mississippi Bureau of Buildings hired Belinda Stewart Architects and Scarborough Construction to complete the $1.7 million dollar project, which updated and modernized Enochs Hall while retaining its overall historic character and wealth of period details.
Medgar Evers House Museum, Jackson
Following the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers at his Jackson home in 1963, the Evers family moved to California, keeping the house as a rental property. In the 1990s, Myrlie Evers donated the house to Tougaloo College. In partnership with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Tougaloo College worked with WFT Architects to restore and interpret the house as a museum dedicated to educating the public about Evers’ work in the Civil Rights Movement. Serious condition problems, including sagging floors and mildew, caused the building to close for restoration several years ago. Tougaloo College hired WFT Architects and Mayrant and Associates to complete the $225,000 restoration, which included replacing the roof, rotten wood and the deteriorated floor structure. You can take a virtual tour of the home at www.everstribute.org/house_tour.php
First Baptist Church, Eupora
The First Baptist Church of Eupora was established in 1890. The current church building, constructed in 1949, has lovely stained glass windows and gothic details. Identifying a need to address previous insensitive renovation work and deferred maintenance, the First Baptist Church Board of Deacons hired Belinda Stewart Architects to restore the building, including replicating the original exterior doors, sealing exterior cast stone and brick masonry. The project has met with rave reviews from congregants, who brag, “It looks like it was always meant to be like this.” Visit www.belindastewartarchitects.com/culture/eupora-first-baptist-church/ for additional information and photographs.
Immanuel Episcopal Church, Winona
Constructed in 1909, the Immanuel Episcopal Church in Winona is an excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture with many of its original furniture and fixtures intact. When the church was decommissioned and faced possible demolition in 1997, a group of concerned citizens formed the Friends of Immanuel Church to preserve and maintain the building and make it available to the community for weddings and ecumenical services. The non-profit organization hired Belinda Stewart Architects to oversee the three-phase restoration project, which has included the full restoration of the original slate roof and steeple, masonry tuck pointing, interior plaster repair, painting and installation of carpet based on the original pattern, as well as restoration of the original stained glass windows.
Lamar County Courthouse, Purvis
The Lamar County Courthouse has had a tumultuous life since its construction in 1906. After losing its distinctive cupola to a tornado in 1908, the building was further damaged by fire in 1934. Insensitive renovations in the 1990s, including the installation of a red metal roof and a tangle of wires and pipes on the exterior of the building, not to mention the request that the building be de-listed as a Mississippi Landmark and abandoned as a courthouse, did not bode well for the future. However, civic leaders and a newly elected Lamar County Board of Supervisors were not willing to give up on this majestic building and in 2009 began an extensive restoration under the guidance of Robert Parker Adams, Architect. Today, the beautifully restored courthouse, with its reconstructed cupola, is once again the proud centerpiece of civic life in Purvis.
Mount Moriah School, Tylertown
Located in Walthall County, just southeast of Tylertown, Mount Moriah School is a four-classroom African-American school built in 1931 of concrete-blocks made on-site. Grades 1-8 attended school at Mount Moriah, while graduates who wanted to go on to high school had to travel several miles to the Walthall County Training School. Mount Moriah School closed during the Equalization Period in the late 1950s and served as a Head Start Center from the 1960s until 1991. The school continued to be used by the community for Home Makers’ Club and 4-H Club meetings, church banquets, and community and reunion picnics. The building received roof and water damage in Hurricane Katrina, but Mount Moriah graduate and former teacher Annie Bell Holmes rallied community members and school alumni to form a non-profit organization to work with Albert and Associates, Architects to restore their historic school. To enjoy photographs of the dedication ceremony, please visit www.misspreservation.com/2010/12/02/celebration-at-mt-moriah/.
National Guard “Old” Armory, Armory
Designed by prominent architect N.W. Overstreet for the Works Project Administration, the Amory Armory opened in August of 1942 and was used by the National Guard as a training and storage facility for over 30 years, as well as hosting dances, proms, festivals, trade days, circuses and concerts featuring such celebrated artists as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley.
By 1990, the Armory had fallen into disrepair. Roof leaks had caused deterioration of the floors and joists. Initial estimates of $500,000 discouraged city leaders from pursuing plans to restore the building. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Martha Dalrymple did not let the poor condition of the building deter her from acting to save this special community gathering place. After creating the Dalrymple Old Armory Foundation in 2012, Martha proceeded to raise funds and oversee the restoration of the building. The restored armory was reopened to the public on March 1, 2014 to serve the community as a polling station, gathering spot for disaster recovery and community events. It is said that Elvis got his inspiration for “Blue Suede Shoes” while performing with Johnny Cash at the Amory Armory. Who knows what creative genius this beautifully restored landmark might spark today?
Prentiss Normal Institute, Prentiss
The mission of the Prentiss Institute Trustee Board is predicated upon facilitating educational, cultural, civic, religious and wholesome social activities that promote an atmosphere that is consistent with the historical values and conducive to the academic climate established by the founders of the Prentiss Normal Industrial Institute. This mission was fulfilled on Sunday, February 24, 2013 when the Prentiss Institute was rededicated with hundreds of proud alumni in attendance. Built in 1926, the concrete block building was constructed with funding from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which aided African-American communities across the south in the construction of schools. Prentiss Institute continued to educate students until 1989, when it closed it doors. After years of neglect, alumni from around the country rallied to restore the building, which will once again serve the community for educational and recreational purposes.
Randolph School, Pass Christian
After Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005, the future of the Randolph School in Pass Christian seemed dim indeed. After looking at the roof damage, flooded rooms and collapsed wall sections, alumni of this Rosenwald School thought their beloved alma mater was beyond rescue. But this small town, with so many rebuilding challenges ahead, was not to be deterred. They selected Lawrence Jaubert as architect, hired J.O. Collins as contractor and set to work.
Along with its partners, which included the Mississippi Heritage Trust, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, Knight Ritter Foundation, South Mississippi Planning and Development District, Unites States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the City of Pass Christian dedicated the restored Randolph School in February 2013 to tears and applause to serve as a community gathering spot and senior citizen center. Read more about the history and $2 million dollar restoration of this very special place at www.savemyplacems.com.
Rectitude Masonic Lodge #323, Gulfport
Constructed in 1901, the Rectitude Masonic Lodge #323 is one of the oldest African-American Masonic lodges in Mississippi. Located in the Quarters neighborhood of Gulfport, its members were carpenters, masons and longshoremen at the nearby port. During the Civil Rights era, the NAACP met in the lodge, which by day served as a neighborhood community center. Hurricane Katrina’s high winds racked the building, causing it to lean precipitously over a neighbor’s house. In the uncertain days following the storm, demolition for the sake of public safety was almost a certainty, but the eighty members were determined to save their historic lodge. With funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Mississippi Heritage Trust, members were able to straighten and stablize the building and install a new roof to prevent further water damage. The lodge was later fully restored by All-Star Construction with funding from the Katrina Relief grant program, under the supervision of architect Donna Klee and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Gulf Coast Field Office. The dedication of the beautifully restored Rectitude Masonic Lodge in February 2013 was a day of jubilation. For additional information and photographs of this amazing Katrina survivor, please visit www.saveplacems.com.
Shaw Homestead, Barth
The Shaw Homestead, which was owned by the Shaw family for 120 years, is a remarkably intact historic site comprised of a dog trot log cabin with a detached kitchen and several supporting outbuildings. The Shaw family settled here in 1885 and made a living harvesting timber, farming and raising sheep. After members of the Shaw family evacuated during Hurricane Camille in 1969, the house remained vacant, a time capsule of Mississippi history waiting to be rediscovered.
When the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain acquired the Shaw Homestead from the Shaw family, the structures were in poor condition. Hurricane Katrina caused further damage. With $117,000 in funding from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Katrina Relief grant program, the Land Trust, working with architect Allison Anderson of Unabridged Architecture, Bay View Construction and Legendary Restoration, restored the main house, including replacing the roof and stabilizing the foundation with cedar piers made from cedar trees that had fallen in Hurricane Katrina. The detached kitchen, smoke house, jar house and crib were also restored, helping to tell the story of pioneer life in frontier Mississippi. The Shaw Homestead is currently open for special events and by reservation. To learn more about this remarkable historic resource, visit www.savemyplacems.com and www.ltmcp.org.
Taborian Hospital, Mound Bayou
The Taborian Hospital was constructed in 1942 to provide access to medical treatment for African-Americans in the town of Mound Bayou and surrounding areas. The Knights and Daughters of Tabor funded the project, raising $100,000 for the construction, the equivalent of what today would be $1,503,541.00. In 1983, however, the hospital was forced to close its doors and sat vacant and unused for thirty years. In 2003, former Mayor Kennedy Johnson and the Mound Bayou Board of Alderman began a community revitalization effort with the restoration of the Taborian Hospital as its centerpiece. Enlisting the aid of Congressman Bennie Thompson, who helped secure funding from the United State Department of Agriculture, the Knights and Daughter of Tabor worked with architects Canizaro Cawthon Davis and contractor David Carroll to complete the $2.9 million dollar project. The newly restored Taborian Urgent Care Center was dedicated to thunderous applause on April 6, 2014, starting a new chapter in the rich history of Mound Bayou.
Walthall County Training School, Tylertown
Constructed in 1920 with funds from philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, the Walthall County Training School Museum was one of the few high schools in Mississippi open to African-Americans during segregation. The school remained open until the late 1950s. Due to tireless efforts of Walthall Country Training School Alumni Association, a strong community volunteer force and funding from the United States Department of Agriculture and other grants, the old training school has been restored to become a museum. Architects Albert and Associates and Pitts Construction Company oversaw and executed this $75,000 project, along with alumni and friends G.R. Dillon, Mildred Magee, Dr. Doris Ginn, Shirley Phillips, Reverend Carl Bickham, Dorothy Ginn, Ora Carson Bullock, Mary Dillon Atoine, Reverend Clinton Dillon, Christopher Dillon Antoine, Jennifer Baughn, Christina James and many more.
Watkins Museum, Taylorsville
The Watkins Museum was originally a general store, established by the Watkins family in 1902. J.T. Watkins also edited and published a newspaper here until his death in 1930, at which time his daughters Hattie and Marie took over the operation. In 1968, the building and its contents were donated to the town of Taylorville and later opened to the public as “The Watkins Museum” on April 16, 1972. The building has undergone several restorations, and just three days after the celebration of an extensive restoration of the original façade, Hurricane Katrina took its toll, shifting the building on its foundation. The contents of the museum was salvaged and stored, while the building underwent a meticulous $250,000 restoration. The town of Taylorsville worked closely with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and J & H Construction Company to complete the project and hired Communications Arts Company to oversee the interpretive plan. The Watkins Museum is open once again, sharing the story of early life in Taylorsville. To learn more, visit Taylorville High School student Erin Blackledge’s excellent website, www.watkinsmuseum.com.
Robert O. Wilder Building, Tougaloo College
The Robert O. Wilder Building, also known as “The Mansion”, stands in the center of the Tougaloo College campus, overlooking the ensemble of buildings forming the college’s historic core. Originally constructed in 1860 as the home of wealthy cotton planter John Boddie, the Mansion became the nucleus of one of the first schools in Mississippi to educate freed slaves when the American Missionary Association of New York purchased five hundred acres of land from Boddie in 1869 to establish Tougaloo College. Over the years, this grand Italianate building has served as a dormitory, president’s residence, faculty residence, classroom, administrative offices and library.
In 1998, WFT Architects and Tougaloo College began a planning process to develop a phased restoration to return the historic building to its former glory, including initial stabilization, a new roof and window restoration. The final and third phase of the $750,000 project completed the Mansion’s exterior restoration, during which Historic Renovations of Yazoo reconstructed porches on the east, north, and west sides with salvaged original materials. The beautifully restored building will serve as the president’s office as well as public meeting space. Please visit http://wftarchitect.com/tougaloocollegemansion.html for a detailed account of this amazing project.
Heritage Awards for Distinguished Service
Dr. Luther Brown
Dr. Luther Brown has been a tireless booster for all things Delta since moving to Cleveland to become the first director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University in 2000. A founding member of the Mississippi Blues Commission and the Mississippi Freedom Road Taskforce, Luther is also the former Chairman of the Mississippi Blues Foundation and an active participant in the Mississippi Blues Heritage Trail and Civil Rights Freedom Trail. Luther spearheaded efforts to establish the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, which emphasizes the importance of historic preservation. Recently retired to Florida, residents of the Delta will surely miss Luther and his constant positive message to think regionally and help neighbors in their efforts to build a strong regional heritage tourism program.
If only every town had a Martha Dalrymple. Having been involved for years in the preservation of her community’s rich history through organizations such as the Amory Historical Society, Martha could not sit back and watch the Amory Armory’s slow decline toward demolition. After forming the Dalrymple Old Armory Foundation, Martha worked with architects and contractors to ensure the authentic restoration of this beloved community landmark. The dedication of the Amory Armory on March 1, 2014 was an occasion to celebrate the difference that one determined preservationist can make.
Turkey Creek is a place full of historic character and colorful characters who are not about to let their neighborhood succumb to environmental degradation and urban sprawl. By building bridges to involve environmental conservation groups such as the Sierra Club and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and historic preservation advocates like the Mississippi Heritage Trust in the fight to save Turkey Creek, Derrick Evans has worked effectively to stem the inexorable tide of insensitive development that once threatened to engulf this peaceful African-American community. Derrick’s care and concern for the wellbeing of the wonderful people who call Turkey Creek home shines through his efforts and has helped to create an effective coalition of community advocates who now consider themselves honorary residents of this unique corner of Mississippi.
Leonard Fuller, Sr.
“Civic-minded” is a term that defines Leonard Fuller, Sr. and his commitment to preserve the cultural and architectural heritage of Gautier. Leonard led efforts to place the Gautier Beachfront Historic District and the Gautier School on the National Register of Historic Places and worked with the Gautier Historic Preservation Commission to erect fourteen historic markers throughout the city. As a former city council member and president of the preservation commission, Leonard has worked to raise awareness about the ongoing plight of Oldfields, once home to artist Walter Anderson and badly damaged in Hurricane Katrina. He recently spearheaded efforts to list the West Pascagoula Colored School as one of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places and designate the Hilda Fire Tower as a landmark, sparking renewed interest in saving these special historic resources.
Kennedy V. Johnson
April 6, 2014 was a banner day for Kennedy V. Johnson, as he achieved his long-cherished goal of bringing the Taborian Hospital back into useful service. A former mayor of the Delta community of Mound Bayou, Kennedy has a vision for a revitalized community that uses historic preservation as a catalyst for redevelopment. Embracing the motto of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, “What one man cannot accomplish, many men united can,” Kennedy worked many years to gather support and enlist the resources of state and federal officials to make the dream of restoring the Taborian Hospital a reality.
The startling destruction of the Iuka Depot spurred Cindy Nelson to found the Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society in 1996. Since that initial meeting of twelve like-minded people, Cindy has made it her life’s work to preserve the special character of her hometown. Under her leadership, the organization has undertaken the restoration of three historic buildings. Cindy and her fellow society members work tirelessly to find the necessary resources to maintain and operate the Tishomingo Courthouse Museum in Iuka, Midway School and Burnsville One-Room Colored School. Through the society’s summer camps, historic reenactments and annual photograph contest, a new generation will grow up in Tishomingo County with an appreciation for their rich cultural and architectural heritage.
Robert O. Tatum, Jr.
Robert O. Tatum, Jr. knows a good thing when he sees it, and he sees it in downtown Hattiesburg. With over eight years of experience in real estate development under his belt, he was not content to ride by the vacant historic buildings in downtown Hattiesburg and just wonder, “What if?” Robert and his team jumped in to undertake the restoration and redevelopment of two once-grand buildings into the mixed-use Hub City Lofts, building on other successful revitalization projects to spark a renaissance for downtown Hattiesburg. Combining historic tax credits, new markets tax credits and other incentives, Robert bridged the gap that can be daunting when looking at restoration projects and set an example for what can happen when visionary developers, underutilized historic resources and a dynamic community come together.
Heritage Award for Community Renaissance
There is a tremendous buzz in the preservation scene these days, “Have you heard about what’s happening in Water Valley?” Seven years ago, this small town was “a careworn place”, with many storefronts standing empty and a few long-time businesses just holding on. When local realtor Lee McMinn rallied forces to form the Water Valley Main Street in 2007, the organization got right to work. Their first undertaking was the restoration of an 1885 bank building, where insensitive renovations had hidden a wealth of architectural treasures, including a mosaic floor and stained glass transom windows. This first restoration projected the philosophy of the group to the community-we have something of value here, it just needs to be uncovered and put to good use. More successful restorations followed, creating beautiful historic spaces for art galleries, a grocery store, restaurants, florist shop, coffee shop and a craft brewery. In all, nineteen formerly empty storefronts now once again show off their special historic charm, with another eight buildings undergoing restoration. Be the change indeed.
Heritage Award for Engineering Excellence
Round Island Lighthouse, Pascagoula
When the Round Lighthouse was constructed in 1859 off the coast of Pascagoula, it served as a symbol of strength and a beacon of navigation for sailors. Following damage by Hurricanes Georges and Katrina, this once-proud beacon lay in ruins on the sands of rapidly eroding Round Island. The lighthouse was listed as one of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places, while the elected officials and citizens of Pascagoula debated its fate. When the Pascagoula City Council initially voted against relocating the lighthouse to shore for restoration, citizens rallied and successfully lobbied the council to change its decision. The project involved moving the 220-ton masonry structure from the island to a safe location near the foot of the bridge of the Pascagoula River. Under the watchful eye of Compton Engineering, the Round Island Lighthouse has been reconstructed to shine as a beacon of inspiration to preservationists everywhere who daily overcome daunting circumstances to save our architectural heritage.
Heritage Award for Excellence in Stewardship of Historic Sites
Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society
Founded in 1996, the Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society takes a proactive approach to the preservation of its history. The organization has undertaken the restoration of three historic buildings to serve as public museums. The Old Tishomingo County Courthouse, the Midway School and Burnville One-Room Colored School interpret the history of the area and serve the community as meeting places and repositories of archival materials. The courthouse museum is the center of community life in Iuka, hosting Christmas celebrations, catfish dinner fundraisers and an annual photography contest. Young people get a chance to bring history to life in the courthouse with reenactments of historic trials once held in the building and lively summer camps. A popular annual event is the wedding reunion at the courthouse, held as part of Iuka Heritage Day. Relying on volunteer efforts, grants and community support to undertake a myriad of community-building projects, the Tishomingo County Historical and Geneaological Society serves as an inspiration and example to anyone who wants to make their corner of Mississippi a better place. Visit www.tishomingohistory.com to learn more about this dynamic group.
Trudy Allen Award for Outstanding Residential Restoration
Ole Homestead Restoration, Columbus
Built in the mid-1820s, the Ole Homestead is one of the oldest surviving raised cottages in Mississippi. In 2010, the house was in poor condition and its future uncertain, as owner St. Paul’s Episcopal Church debated whether to move, sell or demolish the structure. Rufus and Karen Ward stepped in to save the historic house and began restoration work in 2011. Rufus, Ken P’Pool, Deputy Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and renown preservation architect the late Samuel Kaye made a formidable team, researching the history of the house and supervising the meticulous work of craftsmen Dan Clark and Bill and Bryan Walker to restore the house to its original appearance. Rufus and Karen have conveyed a preservation easement for the Ole Homestead to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, ensuring the protection of the now much-loved historic landmark.
Eugene C. Tullos Award for Stewardship
Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Carr
One of the oldest and most prominent families in the history of Smith County is the Carr family. Colonel Frederick Carr moved to Smith County in the early 19th century and prospered, raising cattle and sheep as well as farming cotton and corn. Colonel Carr began construction of his house around 1834, with Joe Thomas of Raleigh and a Mr. Smith as its builders, utilizing virgin pine lumber and making bricks on-site. The two-story structure, with its gracious front gallery, today is home to home to Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Carr, the fourth generation of Carrs to care for this special historic place.
Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Steele Award for a Catalyst Project
Hub City Lofts: Rehabilitation of the America Building and Carter Building, Hattiesburg
These days, downtown Hattiesburg is filled with bustle and excitement. The redevelopment of the Carter and America Buildings into Hub City Lofts, a mixed-use complex with fifty-two apartments, complemented by ground floor commercial space, has a lot to do with that positive energy. Under the guidance of local architect Albert and Associates, developer Hub City Lofts, LLC and contractor Thrash Development undertook the $11.14 million dollar restoration these two National Register buildings and sparked a downtown renaissance that has resulted in that much-coveted yet elusive redevelopment goal-a 24 hour downtown.
Libby Aydelott Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy
Speaker Philip Gunn
Born in Hattiesburg and residing in Clinton, it is no wonder Speaker of the House Philip Gunn has an affinity and appreciation for historic preservation. He began serving in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2004 and on January 3, 2012, became the 61st Speaker of the House of Representatives in Mississippi. This achievement marked the first time a Republican has held this title in Mississippi in 136 years. Among his many accomplishments, Speaker Gunn has helped get the House Redistricting map approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, passed business-friendly legislation and focused on education, healthcare, and budget reform. Speaker Gunn has served on the Executive Committee of the Mississippi Republican Party and as Chairman of the Republican House Conference since its formation in 2006.
During the 2014 legislative session, Speaker Gunn introduced legislation that reauthorized the state historic tax credit through December 2017. Speaker Gunn is committed to working with his fellow legislators and preservationists across the state to ensure the continuation of this popular and effective economic development tool that has spurred the revitalization of so many of Mississippi’s historic downtowns.
Mississippi Heritage Trust and Mississippi African-American Historic Preservation Council Award for Excellence in African-American Heritage Preservation
Turkey Creek Community, Gulfport
Ask any resident of Turkey Creek about their community and one of the first things you will probably hear is that their neighborhood was named one of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. Despite repeated threats from urban sprawl, highway construction and airport expansion and the devastating flood and wind damage of Hurricane Katrina, the Turkey Creek community has persevered in maintaining its distinct cultural character, building on a foundation of family, religion, education and a common heritage dating to the early settlers who came to Turkey Creek seeking land ownership and the freedom to live outside the restrictions of the segregated South. Hard work and a feisty attitude have resulted in the area being listed on the National Register and many acres surrounding Turkey Creek being placed under conservation. Several of the historic houses in the neighborhood, damaged in the storm, have recently been restored. While the neighborhood’s survival will take continued vigilance, much has been accomplished to preserve and celebrate the special place that is Turkey Creek. Read more about the community’s preservation efforts at www.savemyplacems.com.
Mississippi Heritage Trust and Mississippi Department of Archives and History Award for Excellence in Historic District Preservation
Gateway to History, A Mississippi Scenic Byway
Mannsdale Livingston Historic Preservation District, Madison County
When inappropriate development threatened to erode the special historic character of rural Madison County, residents took action, lobbying the board of supervisors to designate the area as the Mannsdale-Livingston Historic Preservation District. Community leaders then took the next step in securing the future of this treasured historic resource by working with local and state officials to designate the area as an official Mississippi Scenic Byway, signed into law in April 2013 by Governor Phil Bryant. Gateway to History connects the historic towns of Canton and Flora and includes the Petrified Forest, Chapel of the Cross and the Natchez Trace. The new development at Livingston Township, the site of a lively summer farmer’s market and concert series, will strive to recapture the historic character of the first seat of Madison County. Once listed as one of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places, the future of the Mannsdale-Livingston Heritage Preservation District seems as bright as the historic daffodils lining the byway today, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the committed members of the Gateway to History Committee. To download a map for your visit to Gateway to History Mississippi Scenic Byway, visit www.mdot.ms.gov/documents/planning/Maps/MS%20Scenic%20Byway%20Maps/Gateway%20to%20History.pdf.
Trustees Award for Exemplary Restoration of a Mississippi Landmark
Charnley-Norwood House, Ocean Springs
A watershed in American residential architecture, the Charnley-Norwood House was constructed in 1890 and designed by international acclaimed architect Louis Sullivan and his young journeyman draftsman Frank Lloyd Wright. Severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina, the house came within inches of being hauled to the dump. A collaborative partnership between the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources funded the $2.3 million dollar acquisition and restoration of this modern architectural masterpiece. Under the supervision of Albert and Associates, Architects and the staff of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Gulf Coast Field Office, the house was meticulous restored by contractor J.O. Collins. To learn more about the history of the Charnley-Norwood House and the heroic efforts taken to preserve this seminal work of architecture, please visit www.savemyplacems.com.
Trustees Award for Organizational Achievement
With the motto “where history meets the future”, Tougaloo College has long valued its rich architectural heritage. Established in 1869 by the American Missionary Association of New York as a school to train young people “irrespective of religious tenets and conducted on the most liberal principles for the benefit of our citizens in general”, Tougaloo College today is a lovely campus that fosters an atmosphere of learning and reflection. In 1998, Tougaloo College took the proactive preservation step of listing its historic campus on the National Register of Historic Places, while in 2004 Tougaloo College was the recipient of a Heritage Award for the outstanding restoration of Woodworth Chapel. With the restoration of the Mansion and the Medgar Evers House Museum, Tougaloo College has reaffirmed its commitment to preserving the rich architectural heritage of Mississippi.