Check out

the current list of the

10 Most Endangered Historic Places


The goal of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list is to raise awareness about the most threatened historic places in Mississippi and the dangers they are facing which could lead to their destruction.

Check out the current list by clicking here.





        The Mississippi Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the new list of the Heritage Award winners for 2006.  20 awards were given out to outstanding preservation projects from across Mississippi. The projects demonstrated excellence in the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and interpretation of our architectural and cultural heritage. To learn more about past Heritage Award winners click on one of the following years:  2004, 2002, 2000 and 1999

     The Heritage Awards recognize the efforts of individuals, local organizations and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks, as well as architects, craftsmen, and developers whose exemplary work restores the richness of the past. We applaud the vision of elected and appointed officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators, journalists and writers who help Americans understand the value of preservation. All demonstrate commitment, leadership and achievement worthy of statewide recognition.




Please click on the award winner to view information about the project.















Electric 308

Jackson, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Duckworth Realty

Architect: JBHM Architects


The Electric 308 building was constructed in 1927 as the headquarters of Mississippi Power & Light.  By 2003, Entergy was prepared to dispose of the building, which was in desperate need of work.  The company only maintained about 30 employees in the 10-story structure.  To prevent a vacant shell, Duckworth Realty stepped in to provide the leadership and capital to renovate the building for mixed-use commercial, retail and residential space. 


With little historic character remaining, the team had it’s work cut out for it.  Modern, single-pane, tinted-glass aluminum frame windows were replaced with windows that reflect the character of the building.  In addition, the storefronts were restored to match the original, with many of the missing details replicated and reinstalled.  There was little left to work with on the interior, but the space was designed with period details that work well with the historic character of the rest of the building.  The building now features retail, office space, and luxury apartments.


The Electric 308 development team is to be commended for creating a unique partnership to ensure that the former headquarters of Mississippi Power & Light remain a symbol of elegance on the Jackson skyline.  As well, a model for mixed-use development that can be emulated throughout the state.



George Washington Ball House

Vicksburg, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Betty W. Bullard

The George Washington Ball House is a two-story, vernacular Greek Revival style house that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Physical evidence points to a construction date of about 1850.  Prior to being purchased by Betty Bullard, the house had been subdivided into four apartments.  In order to accommodate so many apartments, the center halls of both floors had been subdivided and the porch of the kitchen outbuilding had also been enclosed.  


Exterior work included removing the asbestos shingles from the main façade, repairing siding throughout, and reglazing the windows, transoms and sidelights.  The dilapidated front porch was replaced with a more appropriately designed porch, and the galleries on the rear elevation were re-opened; however, the western cabinet rooms, which are shown on the 1886-1948 Sanborn maps, were retained. 


On the interior, non-historic partition walls were removed from the halls and main rooms, returning the house to its center hall, double-pile plan.  All four-panel doors, including pocket doors, eared surrounds, and mantelpieces were retained and repaired, and the staircase’s missing balusters were replicated.  The plaster walls and ceilings were repaired and the wooden floors were refinished.


The house now serves as a bed-and-breakfast inn.  Rehabilitation of this vernacular Greek Revival structure, which is prominently situated at the corner of Main and Cherry Streets, helps maintain the historic character of the Main Street district.



House on Ellicott Hill

Natchez, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Preservation Society of Ellicott Hill

Architect: Koch and Wilson Architects


The House on Ellicott Hill is located in Natchez, Mississippi.  The property is a Mississippi Landmark as well as a National Historic Landmark.  The two-story structure was completed in its present form prior to 1801 and exhibits the earliest remaining use of Federal-style architectural details in Natchez.  The House on Ellicott Hill was also the first to be restored by a civic organization, namely the Natchez Garden Club in 1935.


In 2002 the owner received a Community Heritage Preservation grant from MDAH to restore the exterior of the building.  The original contractor began work on the project in 2004 without authorization, and these operations resulted in severe damage to many of the original features of the building and the project was halted until 2005 at which time Edgin Construction began work to replace the roof.  In addition, all of the brick on the ground floor has to be turned or replaced.  Additional needs included repair of most of the window mullions, replacement of glass, and the removal of Portland Stucco, which had been inappropriately installed over the lathe on the upper gallery. 


Interior work is now underway to fully restore this magnificent piece of our state’s history.



Porter House

Raymond, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Anson & Jean Chunn

Contractor:  Michael Collins


The Porter House is a one-and-half story, vernacular Greek Revival, galleried planter’s cottage with a detached rear ell.  The earliest section of the house in the rear probably dates to the early 1830’s and it took on it’s current form in the 1850’s. 


At the start of the project, the house was located on a rural tract near Raymond, and had not been occupied full-time since 1947.  To save the rapidly deteriorating structure, the Chunns had to relocate the house.  To prepare the house for moving, the roofs, porches, and the second floor walls were removed and structural members were numbered to aid in reassembly.  The house was them moved to its new site in downtown Raymond close to the courthouse.


In the process of restoration sills were replaced, as were missing or deteriorated beams and joists.  Brick foundation piers were reconstructed, and weatherboard siding was repaired or replaced with matching.  Restoration of the front porch was accomplished by replicating two missing columns, reinstalling the ceiling boards, replacing the rotten decking with tongue-and-groove wood flooring, and constructing a balustrade based on the ghost marks found on the original columns.  Windows, shutters, and jib doors were repaired, and the non-historic windows on the upper half story were replaced with historically accurate six-over-six wood sash.  On the interior, the heart pine floors were refinished and all millwork was repaired.   The original hand-planed, board-and-batten walls and ceilings on the upper half story were cleaned and stained.   


The Porter House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, now serves as a bed & breakfast and a home to its owners.  Mr. and Mrs. Chunn along with their contractor, Michael Collins, performed an exemplary rehabilitation of this important house, which undoubtedly would have been lost due to neglect and advanced deterioration.



Prentiss County Courthouse

Booneville, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Prentiss County

Architect: Belinda Stewart Architects, P. A.


The Prentiss County Courthouse was designed by the prolific Mississippi architect, N. W. Overstreet, and was constructed in 1925.  In the late 1990s the courthouse was in disrepair and was in danger of being vacated for updated office space.  The county saw the need to remain in the building and restore the space for years of future use.  The county applied for and received funding from the Mississippi Community Heritage Preservation Grant program to help with the project. 


Exterior work consisted of masonry restoration, window restoration and painting, cast stone replication and restoration, and roof repair.  The interior had been modified multiple times since the original construction.  The non-original partitions were removed as well as non-original finishes.  Appropriate light fixtures were installed and the wiring and ductwork were hidden in new furr-ins, rather than dropped ceilings. 


The courtroom had a dropped ceiling, which hid the original wood balcony.  The non-original walls were removed as well as the dropped ceiling.  The balcony and clerestory lighting were revealed and restored.  The original plaster cornice in the courtroom was also repaired. 


The restoration of the Prentiss County Courthouse is having a significant impact on the community and downtown Booneville.  The courthouse has a renewed significance in the county, and will continue as the primary court facility and office space for the county for years to come.






204 East Third Street

Leland, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: E. L. & Mary Boteler


The one-story, frame, Colonial Revival style house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The house was built ca. 1910 as a single-family residence, but prior to purchase by E.L. and Mary Boteler, it had been subdivided into three apartments and had undergone numerous unsympathetic alterations. 


In February 2004 the Botelers undertook the rehabilitation of the house, converting it from three apartments into two.  The two front porch enclosures were removed to re-open the porch to its original wraparound configuration, and the wood decking was replaced, the beadboard ceiling was repaired, and the one remaining Tuscan column was used to replicate new columns.  The front and side walls that had been removed when the porch was enclosed were resided with matching weatherboard, and based on physical evidence, a single window was installed to the right of the doorway.  The large cased opening between the living room and the formerly enclosed side porch was in-filled and paired French doors were installed.  Non-historic windows and those beyond repair were replaced with matching one-over-one wood windows.  The enclosed carport at the southeast corner of the house was removed, and the screened porch on the rear ell was re-opened and columns were installed.  On the interior, sheet paneling was removed from the walls, and the Celotex tiles and suspended ceilings were also removed.  All of the  wooden floors were refinished.  The corner fireplace in the living room of one of the apartments had been enclosed in a closet, and this closet enclosure was removed and the mantelpiece was restored.


The sensitive rehabilitation of the house has returned the cottage to its original appearance and has made a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood. 




510-516 Fillmore Street

Corinth, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Bailey R. Williams, Sr. & Bailey R. Williams, Jr.


The two-story, brick, Arts and Crafts-influenced commercial building located at 510-516 Fillmore Street was built in 1925-1926.  The structure is finished with a blonde brick veneer that is decorated with cast stone ornamentation.  Occupying four lots, the structure was built as a continuous commercial block with four storefronts, which were altered in the 1960s and 1970s.  Three of the storefronts had replacement aluminum storefront systems, but the fourth had been infilled with recessed walls and residential-type windows.  Transoms above the storefronts had been replaced with metal and wood panels. 


The structure underwent rehabilitation and now houses offices and retail shops on the first floor and apartments on the second.  The project involved replacing the four non-historic storefronts on Fillmore Street with storefronts having recessed central entrances; display windows set above wood panels, single-light transoms, and glazed wood doors.  The modern infill on Foote Street was also replaced with similar display windows and doors.  Second floor windows were repaired, or where too deteriorated, they were replaced with matching one-over-one wood sash.


On the interior, the large open space on the north half of the first floor was divided into two retail spaces, as it was originally, while the two spaces on the south half were rehabilitated for use as offices.  The damaged pressed metal ceiling was replaced in the retail spaces.  A second stair and an elevator were added to access the second floor, which was subdivided into six apartments. 


The corner of Fillmore and Foote Streets is now thriving due to the efforts of Bailey Williams, Sr., and his son, Bailey Williams, Jr.  This commercial block now houses two retail shops, two offices, and six apartments, which makes downtown Corinth more viable.   



515 Cruise Street

Corinth, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: John Frame    


Built circa 1875, the commercial building is a two-story, masonry structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Prior to being purchased by John Frame, the building had undergone numerous unsympathetic alterations, and roof leaks had extensively damaged the second floor.  Rehabilitation began to return the first floor to commercial use and convert the second floor into a hotel consisting of two luxury suites. 


Exterior work included repairing the scored stucco and removing the non-historic metal awning.  In the 1960s, the storefront was replaced with an aluminum storefront system set at an angle.  During rehabilitation, the non-historic storefront was replaced with a traditional wooden storefront, which was constructed in the original location rather than at an angle.  At project initiation, the first floor of the side elevation contained a mix of aluminum storefront windows and doors, a wood bay window, and transoms pierced by air conditioning units.  The bay window was replaced by a standard display window, wood molding was applied over the aluminum frames of the existing windows, aluminum doors were replaced with glazed wood doors, and the air conditioning units were removed from the transoms.  The second floor windows, which had been haphazardly replaced by a previous owner, were re-installed properly. 


At project initiation, no original detailing or moldings were intact on the first floor, and acoustic tiles were stapled to the ceiling joists.  During rehabilitation, non-historic partition walls were removed, and the walls and ceilings were finished with gypsum wallboard.  The ceilings were kept full height, and the ductwork was left exposed but was painted to blend with the ceiling.  The second floor required extensive work.  Water infiltration had caused the wood plank floors and baseboards to deteriorate and the plaster walls to fail.  All of the window trim was missing, and the door trim was damaged or missing.  The second floor was divided into two luxury hotel suites, the floors were repaired and refinished, the bead board ceilings were retained, where possible, and ductwork was concealed above the ceiling. 


Located at a major intersection in downtown, the rehabilitated building has enhanced the image of Corinth’s commercial area, and the luxury hotel suites attract guests who patronize local shops and restaurants.





Holly Springs, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Joe & Cathy Overstreet

Architect: Samuel H. Kaye


Airliewood is architecturally significant as one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival houses in Mississippi .  The design of the house is shown in Samuel Sloan’s “Model Architect”, published in 1852.  It is also historically significant as it served as General U. S. Grant’s headquarters for a brief time. 


The house was built in 1858.  An oil painting that was done shortly afterwards shows the house and the 2 outbuildings in their original appearance.  In the 1970s the crenellated front porch was added.


Joe and Cathy Overstreet purchased the home and began its restoration.  The house was stabilized, leveled and brick walls were repaired.  The wooden Gothic trim was repaired and missing pieces were replicated.  The original scored stucco was restored to look like stone.  The original iron porches and balconies have been reproduced and installed.  On the interior, new wiring and the ductwork have been concealed.  A new addition on the rear is sympathetic to the original design.  In addition, the massive iron fence and gates, which stretch across the front of the house, have been restored.


Airliewood has been carefully restored to its original appearance by it current owners.  The house is once again on the Spring Pilgrimage tour in Holly Springs, for many to enjoy for years to come.



Pontotoc County Chancery Building

Pontotoc, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Pontotoc County

Architect: Belinda Stewart Architects, P. A.


During the recent exterior restoration of its 1915 courthouse, the county realized the need to expand the functions of the Courthouse without destroying the integrity of the building, or relocating from the downtown courthouse square.  As a result, the county purchased three vacant and deteriorated downtown buildings, adjacent to the courthouse, to be rehabilitated into the new Chancery Court Building.  These buildings, composing almost an entire block, are typical turn-of-the-century commercial buildings. 


While the original storefronts on the buildings had been removed, the original presses tin ceiling awning was intact.  The suspension system was reanchored and non-original supports were removed.  The exterior of the buildings were cleaned, repointed and damaged stucco was replaced.


Great effort was taken to retain the openness of the buildings on the interior.  The original beaded board ceiling was leveled and strengthened.  The interior was designed so that the exposed wood columns and beams became the main focus. 


The rehabilitation of these buildings has provided a dramatic new face to Pontotoc’s court square and has spawned the rehabilitation of other downtown buildings. 



Superintendent’s House - Stonewall Mill

Stonewall, Mississippi


Award Category:  Preservation Award:  Restoration/Rehabilitation

Owner: Gil Carmichael


The Stonewall Mill Village is representative of a typical planned industrial community in the South during the period of 1872 to 1943 and is one of Mississippi’s best-preserved examples of company housing.  Built circa 1935, the Superintendent’s House is an important component of the mill village, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Demolition of the house had just begun—with some plaster and lath and second floor stud walls being removed—when Gilbert Carmichael purchased the property in order to save it.  Rehabilitation involved removing bees from the soffit of the north sun porch, repairing the siding and replacing rotten fascia boards, re-opening the transom, and replacing the metal windows on the south and east elevations with replicated six-over-one wood windows.  The south side porch had been enclosed with metal windows, and these were replaced with large sheets of glass so that the porch once again “read” as a porch while the enclosed living space was retained.  On the interior, a few missing stud walls on the second floor were rebuilt in their original locations.  The plaster walls were repaired and the wood floors were refinished.  All original millwork, mantels, and the breakfast room’s china cabinets were retained. 


The garage, which is contemporary to the house, was also rehabilitated for use as housing on the second floor.  The windows were repaired and the missing garage and stair doors were replaced with paneled doors.  The second floor was originally open space, but walls were added to separate the new apartment from the stair and to create a bathroom. 


The rehab returned the house to its former glory and introduced a much-needed new business into Stonewall.  Other than church halls, this is the only “reception hall” and will be the only bed and breakfast/hotel accommodation in town.  The house provides an elegant setting for receptions, which otherwise would more than likely be moved to towns outside of Stonewall.






Walnut Street Revitalization

Hattiesburg, Mississippi


Owners:  The McElroy Family

In developing the Walnut Street area the McElroy family has taken a once blighted section of downtown Hattiesburg and created a wide range of new options including restaurants, retail spaces, entertainment, offices and housing.


Walnut Street is a connector, angling off Main Street and into the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District.  Working with the remaining historic buildings as well as the non-historic buildings in the area, they have been able to renew on downtown corner.  Walnut Street is an aesthetically superb development including rehabilitation and new construction in a new streetscape.





Scott Coopwood

Cleveland, Mississippi


Scott Coopwood is the publisher and owner of two publications, The Delta Business Journal and Delta Magazine.  Both publications cover a wide variety of subjects but regularly include articles pertaining to historic properties, events, and their present day status.  The feature article for the first edition was “The Star that fell on the Delta” a story of a civil war vessel sunk near Greenwood.  In the same edition, there is an article on the history of the Burrus House, which was listed on MHT’s 10 Most Endangered list.  From this first edition forward, Delta magazine offers photos and stories that tell the story of the Delta and its unique culture.  The Delta Business Journal also features information on the regions history and culture along with the other business news of the area.


Mr. Coopwood is a fifth generation Mississippian, who prides himself on knowledge of his own family’s history as well as the history of the Delta region.





Old Girls’ Dormitory

Clarksdale, Mississippi


Owner:  Coahoma Community College

Architect:  Charles Bowman


Built in 1930, the Old Dormitory at Coahoma Community College is probably the oldest building on the campus and is the most intact structure that dates from the period when the institution was the Coahoma County Agricultural High School.  It is significant in the history of African American education in Mississippi because the school was one of only two agricultural high schools for African American students. 


Over the years, the building had undergone some alterations and was suffering from delayed maintenance.  The exterior of the building was restored based on historic photographs and physical evidence.  The porch roof was originally a shed roof, but at project initiation the main roof of the building extended to cover the porch, obscuring the transom windows in the top of the wall.  During rehabilitation, the porch was reconstructed to its historic configuration, and the transom windows are once again visible.  The glazed metal doors at the main entrance were replaced with half-glazed, raised panel wood doors.  The Old Dormitory was re-roofed, the plaster and the wood louvers in the gable ends were repaired, and the masonry selectively repointed.  All of the historic windows were repaired and reglazed, and where missing or too deteriorated to repair, they were replicated. 


Very few changes were made to the floor plan of the Old Dormitory.  A non-historic entrance vestibule was removed from the lobby, and in order to retain the open space of the lobby half-height partitions were added.  The fireplace in the lobby was restored; the board walls and ceilings throughout were retained; and missing five-panel doors were replicated. 


Coahoma Community College sensitively rehabilitated this Mississippi Landmark building and it has been returned to its original appearance as a major landmark on campus. 





Wilkinson County African American Museum

Woodville, Mississippi


Owner: Woodville Civic Club

Architect: Shelton Jones & Associates, Architect   


 In the late 1990s, the Woodville Civic club developed a plan to document, interpret and celebrate the African American culture of Wilkinson County.  This culturally rich area of the state was home to William Grant Still, Lester Young, Anne Moody and Scott Dunbar, all African Americans who excelled in their chosen artistic fields.  MDAH awarded an African American Heritage Preservation Grant for the restoration of the Branch Banking House as an interpretive museum of the African American culture of Wilkinson County.


The Branch Banking House on the courthouse square in Woodville, was built in 1819, and is the oldest bank building in Mississippi.  Although many of the original details such as the mantels, four-panel doors, and moldings were retained in the interior of the building, over the years, the building was modernized and lost some of its exterior Federal details. 


The project restored the Branch Banking House to its original form.  The pristine Federal details were restored and replicated where necessary.  A dependency building was added on the grounds to hold bathrooms and a small catering kitchen.


Today, the Wilkinson County African American Museum is used by the entire community and region.  Through the celebration of Wilkinson County’s African American contribution to the field of arts and letters, an important architectural treasure has been retained for reuse by the community.





Association for Preservation Technology International

Springfield Illinois


The Association for Preservation Technology is recognized for its extraordinary response to the devastation of historic buildings on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina.  Led by Brian Robinson, APT contacted the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on its own initiative and volunteered to organize teams of structural engineers, preservation architects, and architectural conservators to advise property owners about how to repair their historic homes. 


These volunteers, numbering more than 30 people so far, have come to Mississippi on their own initiative and at their own expense.  Every team member has not only been an expert in his or her field, but has contributed to the recovery of the historic areas of the Gulf Coast with compassion and energy. 


The Association for Preservation Technology has truly been a “friend indeed” in our time of need.  They have stood by Mississippi’s preservation community and have given us valuable aid when we needed it most.





Brian Robinson

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, Georgia


Brian Robinson is recognized for his outstanding service and dedication to the recovery of the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina.  Within a few weeks of the storm, Mr. Robinson, a professor in the School of Building Arts in the Savannah College of Art and Design, contacted the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to offer assistance in assessing the damage to the historic areas along the Coast.  Since then, Mr. Robinson has not only organized teams of volunteers from the Association of Preservation Technology, but he has personally come to the Coast on two occasions to perform needed work.  In addition, Mr. Robinson brought a group of students from SCAD to assist in the recovery efforts.  Mr. Robinson has several more trips scheduled in the future as well.


Mr. Robinson has brought his considerable organizational skills to the recovery effort.  His work has removed the burden of team creation and organization from MDAH, allowing the small staff to focus on dealing directly with the victims of the hurricane.  Mr. Robinson has attended to details like recruiting the best mix of volunteers, making sure they have an understanding of the needs prior to their arrival on the Coast, and attending to flight and contact information creating a smoothly functioning effort.  His valuable analysis of the evolving situation has helped provide a calm voice in the midst of the commotion of the crisis. 


Mr. Robinson has gone beyond the call of duty, volunteering to help people he did not previously know, and he has become a valuable member of the Mississippi preservation community.





Friends of Raymond - Raymond

Raymond Battlefield Preservation


The Friends of Raymond was organized to preserve, interpret, manage and promote significant historic sites in Raymond, Mississippi.  A major project of the organization has been the Raymond battlefield located south of Raymond, and the scene of a pivotal May 12, 1863, battle of the Vicksburg Campaign.  The Friends of Raymond has acquired 65 acres of battlefield property to protect it from development and is in the final stages of completion of an interpretive walking trail.  Property acquisition required extensive financial commitment as the initial 40 acres was purchased in 1998 for $200,000.  Financial assistance was later received from MDAH and the Civil War Trust, and an additional 24 acres were purchased. 


The Friends of Raymond sponsors reenactments and living history programs as part of its interpretive mission, and lectures and tours are regularly scheduled on the battlefield.  A recent “Park Day” attracted almost 100 volunteers for battlefield cleanup efforts to remove over 30 tons of trash that were illegally dumped there.


The Friends of Raymond is working closely with MDAH in the research, design, and placement of an interpretive kiosk and interpretive markers on the battlefield.


A significant site important to the state’s Civil War history  is being protected from development and preserved for future generations to enjoy, experience, and learn from.





TEAM Cleveland - Downtown Cleveland

Cleveland, Mississippi


In 1999 the City of Cleveland formed a historic preservation commission and defined the boundaries for a historic district which include the entire downtown business district.  With designation in place, Team Cleveland/Main Street began an intense focus on the aesthetics of the historic district.  This began with a long-range comprehensive plan.  Period signs were then placed in the district.  A walking trail, which followed the abandoned railroad tracks through downtown, was completed providing more opportunities for improvement in the downtown area. 


The old railroad depot was rehabilitated and now houses the county literacy program.  The Railroad Heritage Museum is nearing completion as another component of the downtown revitalization.  Sidewalk renovation has been completed, including planters, underground wiring and trash receptacles.


The ongoing development and implementation of the downtown revitalization has done more than make the area more beautiful.  It has also created a sense of pride among the building owners and tenants.  This is evident in the constant improvements being made to the buildings in the district.






Elbert Hilliard


A native of Nitta Yuma in Sharkey County, Mr. Hilliard received his bachelor’s degree from Delta State College in 1958 and his master’s degree from Mississippi State University in 1959.  After teaching history for six years, first in Natchez and then Madison, he began working at the Department of Archives and History in 1965 as curator of history at the State Historical Museum in the Old Capitol.  He became director of the Division of Historic Sites and Archaeology in 1970 and then director of MDAH in 1973. Mr. Hilliard served as MDAH director for thirty-one years after retiring December 31, 2004.  He also served as State Historic Preservation Officer during that time making him the longest serving in the nation. 


During his tenure as director, Mr. Hilliard had an extraordinary impact on cultural life in Mississippi.  Just a few highlights of his career include:

  • his work with the Mississippi legislature to pass one of the strongest preservation laws in the country and to establish grant programs that have provided nearly thirty million dollars in preservation funding for historic properties, schools, courthouses, and museums across the state;
  • the opening of the first permanent civil rights exhibit in the country at the Old Capitol Museum and a number of other award-winning exhibits;
  • the development as a historic site of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, a national landmark of the Native American presence in Mississippi;
  • and the donations to the department of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers papers and the Eudora Welty House. Both of these donations were strong testaments to Mr. Hilliard’s credibility as caretaker of the state’s historic resources.

Elbert R. Hilliard has devoted his career to promoting historic preservation in Mississippi. His legacy is unmistakable: strong and effective preservation laws on both the state and local levels, a state historical agency that has earned national distinction, and a flourishing grassroots preservation movement.







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