2012 Heritage Awards
The Mississippi Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the new list of the Heritage Award winners for 2012. 21 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.
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
Please click on the award winner to view information about the project.
AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE FOR REHABILITATION/RESTORATION::
AWARDS OF MERIT FOR REHABILITATION/RESTORATION:
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESERVATION EDUCATION & MEDIA
MHT/MAAHPC AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESERVATION:
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE STEWARDSHIP OF HISTORIC SITES:
MDAH/MHT AWARD FOR HISTORIC DISTRICT PRESERVATION:
AL & LIBBY HOLLINGSWORTH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE FOR RESTORATION/REHABILITATION:
123 Seal Avenue
Owner: Steve and Elizabeth Wittman
Contractor: Don Scott of Blue Skies Contracting
The circa 1900 house at 123 Seal Avenue in Pass Christian was built for the L&N railroad works. It had certainly seen better days and was one of only five historic cottages left on the street after Hurricane Katrina. Steve and Elizabeth Wittman saw the for sale sign on the house, and wasn’t until several price reductions that they were able to make an offer which was accepted in 2009. After several contractors told them to tear it down they finally found Don Scott of Blue Skies Contracting who said he could make it work. In two and half years of work the non-historic rear dilapidated addition was removed and rebuilt, all of the original windows and French doors were restored to working order, the original front porch which had been covered in a thick layer of concrete and brick was restored to its original configuration, and the masonite siding on the sides was replaced with more appropriate wood siding. The Wittman’s tackled a massive project with this house and with their hard work and dedication to the project have restored one of the few reaming old cottages in the Scenic Drive Historic District.
Bay St. Louis City Hall
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Owner: City of Bay St. Louis
Architect: Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
Built in 1905, the Bay St. Louis City Hall was one of the few historic structures to survive Hurricane Katrina in the downtown. The City Hall had relocated to another building prior to Katrina and after the storm decided it was imperative to save the old City Hall and convert it into a new community space and home for the Preservation Commission. The first phase of the project involved the restoration of the exterior with the second moving to the interior which was the harder of the two as alterations over the years had greatly diminished its integrity. The non-original finishes and walls were removed to discover the original configuration of the spaces, including the original jail cells, sheriff’s office, door locations and finishes. The lower level was developed as a meeting rooms, kitchen, ADA restrooms while the second floor was developed for offices. A landmark survivor of Hurricane Katrina is now welcoming visitors back to the building and providing meeting space and offices so this wonderful building is again open to the public.
Bayside Village Senior Apartments or Old Pascagoula High School
Owner: Steve Nail - Intervest Corporation
The Bayside Village Senior Apartments or Old Pascagoula High School was almost a goner, and that was before Hurricane Katrina! The story of this remarkable transformation began back in 1999 when the building was sold to developer Steve Nail of Intervest Corporation, who had plans to use the 1937-1938 school for senior housing. After 9/11 funding for the project dried up and future looked dim for the project as it reverted back to the school board. At that time a grassroots effort began to save the school from threats of demolition through a committed group of local citizens. In 2005, the school was placed on MHT’s 10 Most Endangered list and in 2006 the original investor came back on board and the project was started again, although it took a while to get the financing worked out. In 2008, the project began converting the crumbling school into 57 apartments for seniors. The original hallways were maintained, including the lockers, all of the windows restored by a local company, and the classrooms sensitively converted into living spaces. Even the old auditorium was restored as an auditorium and is available for community use. This once abandoned school which faced demolition is once again being used and has been transformed from a place of learning to a place to call home.
Hinds County Courthouse
Owner: Hinds County
Architect: Canizaro Cawthon Davis
The Hinds County Courthouse in Raymond is one of two courthouses in Hinds County, the other in Jackson, and was the first of the two completed in 1859. The design of the building is actually attributed to John Jackson, and African American employed by the contractors. In 2004, the first phase of the project began with the exterior restoration which included restoring the exterior plaster, the windows back to working order and the decorative iron work. The second phase started in 2009 and tackled the interior of the building including structural damage to floors caused by water, restoring the plaster walls, replacing the courtroom ceiling with one more appropriate for the age of the building, restoring fireplaces with their mantelpieces, and made the building handicap accessible. After years of changes to the building the courthouse is back in working and court is again in session.
Owner: City of Magnolia
Architect: Belinda Stewart Architects, P. A.
The great fire of 1893 in Magnolia consumed the first railroad depot built in 1856. In 1895 the second and current Magnolia Depot was completed and served the community well on the Illinois Central line. After rail service to Magnolia ended the depot was closed. Thankfully many of the original details had not been removed over the years. The City of Magnolia purchased the depot with plans to transform it into a new City Hall and community center. The exterior of the building was restored including its foundation, walls, and windows. The red and yellow colors from the days of the Illinois Central where used for the paint scheme. The interior features were restored including the bead board walls, cabinetry and flooring. A portion of the freight room was converted into offices for the City and the rest into a board room. Even the original scale in the freight room remains in working condition. The vision of the City of Magnolia led it to take an abandoned railroad depot and transform it into a new center of activity for the City.
Meridian City Hall
Owner: City of Meridian
Architect: B.B. Archer
Contractor: Panola Construction Co.
The 1915 Beaux Arts Meridian City Hall designed by P.J. Krouse underwent significant changes in the 1950s that diminished its historic integrity. In 2005, the City of Meridian decided that the building needed to be restored back to its original integrity and to make the interior of the building work for a new century of city government. The massive scale of the work was split into four phases, with the first starting in 2006 and the last starting in 2009. Work on the exterior included the restoration of the terra cotta tiles, many of which had to removed, cleaned and reinstalled with new secure attachments, all of the 1950s aluminum windows were removed and wood windows made to replicate the original building’s windows, even the basement window openings which had been filled with concrete were reopened and new windows installed. The work continued on the interior with removal of later walls to open original spaces back up, restoration of the original plaster moldings; removal of the linoleum to reveal the original marble floors, and the restoration of the grand staircase by rebuilding a section which had been removed for an elevator. This grand building that had seen better days with a myriad of inappropriate alterations is now seeing better days with a restoration that has brought back its historic character and detailing making it a showplace for the government of Meridian.
Owner: Charles and Anita Price
Architect: Albert & Associates
The Neoclassical Independent Order of the Oddfellows Building in Hattiesburg was completed in 1907 and operated as their lodge until 1987. In 2008, Charles and Anita Price acquired the building after it been neglected for many years and had suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina. Realizing the significance of the building they worked with local architectural firm of Albert & Associates to rehabilitate the three-story building. The exterior was restored including the dual storefronts, windows, and the third floor balcony which had been removed some years back. Many of the later interior alterations and dividing walls were removed to reveal the original spaces. The original heart pine floors were restored and the drop ceiling on the first floor removed to expose the original 15’ ceilings. That floor is now an inviting gallery space. The second floor offices were converted into a living space for the owners. The third floor, which was the meeting lodge space, was very intact, other than the pressed tin ceiling which had to be restored, and now serves as the event space. The Oddfellows building was once home to order of Oddfellows and now is home to Charles and Anita Price and the ceremonial lodge space once reserved for Oddfellows is now open for all to enjoy.
AWARDS OF MERIT FOR RESTORATION/REHABILITATION:
139 Seal Avenue
Owner: Dennis and Nanette Burke
The circa 1905 cottage style shotgun house at 139 Seal Avenue in Biloxi had been empty since 2004 and after Dennis and Nanette Burke lost their house in Hurricane Katrina they were very excited to find a historic house, although may not have been of their dreams with a huge hole in the roof, and the front left open since Katrina. They were able to find a contractor, John Miller, to take on the project and together they worked to make their dreams come true of a fully rehabilitated house. The original fireplace and floors in the living and dining rooms were refinished. The original French doors on the front of the house were restored. Other interior and exterior features were repaired or replaced where missing or too far damaged. Now this abandoned house is once again called a home and a dream come true for Dennis and Nanette Burke.
Cohen Brothers Building
Owner: Gowan Brisby
The Cohen Brothers Building in Jackson across from the King Edward Hotel was constructed around 1895 with changes to the building in the early 1920s. Later the storefront was altered to its current appearance with a stained glass transom spelling out Cohen Brothers, as well as tile bulkhead, recessed entrance with additional display windows and mosaic tile floor spelling out “Cohen Brothers” at the threshold. For many years the building was empty and sat deteriorating with heavy damage to the stained glass transom. Seeing the redevelopment of the King Edward across the street take place, as well as other investment on Capitol Street and around downtown Jackson, Gowan Brisby decided to take on saving the building. In the process the front and rear facades were restored including the stained glass transom of which the remaining pieces were removed, new pieces made, and all reassembled and put back in place. The interior was rehabilitated and the original mosaic tile floors restored. With the work the Cohen Brothers building is once again a historic gem in downtown Jackson.
Owner: City of Collins
Architect: Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
The Collins Railroad Depot in Collins was constructed in the late 1800’s to early 1900s and typical of depot construction of the period. Over time additions and modifications had marred the historic character of the depot. Like many depots in the state it was abandoned and left to deteriorate when rail service ended in Collins. Instead of letting the building fall down from neglect the City of Collins stepped in and purchased the building with plans to renovate it for a Community Meeting Center. With a Community Heritage Preservation Grant from MDAH they embarked on the task of renewing the depot. The work included removing non-original additions, reconstruction of the lower ticking offices and the bay window on the west side which was missing, and addition of new ADA bathrooms. The former dark and dreary freight room was transformed into a bright and inviting meeting space. Once again the Collins Railroad Depot is inviting visitors inside its doors; however, this time they are invited stay and enjoy the facility rather than catching a train to a new destination.
Harris Brothers Hardware Building and N.M. Bradford Building
Owner: Mike and Bettye Forster
In 2010, Mike Forster and his wife Bettye returned home to Louisville to retire after living and traveling around the world. Noticing two needs in Louisville, one to save two historically significant buildings on Main Street, and two a lack of dining options, they decided to tackle both! Built circa 1890 the Harris Brothers Hardware Building was one of the last standing after a devastating fire in 1907 destroyed much of downtown Louisville. Its neighbor, the N.M. Bradford Building was built after the fire. With a group of investors the Forsters’ purchased the two buildings with the plan to convert them into a restaurant and shop. The work to the buildings included restoring the storefronts and original pressed tin ceilings. The interior of the old hardware store was converted into a restaurant and kitchen with a meeting space in the rear part of the building. Not resting on their laurels in their retirement the Forsters’ took on a project to help save two of Louisville’s most historic buildings and provide a place for people to get a great meal in downtown.
Mississippi State University, Mississippi
Owner: Mississippi State University
Architect: Belinda Stewart Architects, P. A.
Lloyd-Ricks Hall on the campus of Mississippi State University is one of the historic landmarks of the campus; however, like most college buildings had seen it share of hard use and changes over the years to accommodate additional classroom space and other uses. The front portion of the building was constructed in 1928 and the rear section in 1938, attached together by a two story connection. The renovation of the building began with carefully research into its history and building components. The exterior was fully restored with brick tuck-pointing, widow restoration, and roofing. On the interior dropped ceilings were removed and formerly divided spaces opened back up. The original Terazzo floors were restored as well as the trim work, doors and plaster walls. Once again students are using the building for classes, this time in a much more comfortable environment that showcases the historic features of the building.
Montgomery McGraw PLLC Building
Owners: C.R. Montgomery and Don A. McGraw Jr.
Architect; Joseph Orr
Contractor: Jodie Morgan
The two-story circa 1900 Montgomery McGraw PLLC Building on the Canton square, commonly known as the Western Auto building, was purchased by the law firm of Montgomery McGraw, PLLC for their new office after a fire destroyed their old one, also on the square. Using federal and state tax credits they transformed the first floor of the building into an inviting modern office space for their law firm while respecting the historic features of the building. The storefront was restored and period appropriate doors were installed to replace the metal and glass doors from the 1970s. The original plaster walls were uncovered and repaired. The volume of the first floor was left intact by installing lower walls for offices and work spaces that do not connect to the ceiling. One of the original light wells was also restored along with its wood railing. The building has a long history with many uses and now is home to a law firm who respected the character of the building and made it an inviting place to work on the Canton Square.
Owner: City of Biloxi
Architect: Dale Partners
The circa 1893 Slay House in downtown Biloxi was a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, but was almost lost to new commercial development after the storm. A private developer purchased the house and decided to donate it to the City of Biloxi with the stipulation that it be relocated to a new site. Having to find the funds for the project the house was finally moved in 2010 by the City to a vacant lot a few blocks away on Rue Magnolia, a neighborhood of similarly sized and styled buildings. After the house was moved a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History was utilized to restore the exterior siding, removing later siding, replicating the original porch, repair the chimney and four fire boxes, remove later interior wall materials to reveal the original bead board walls, repair and refinishing of the floor, along with the restoration of the exterior doors and windows. The Slay House was saved from demolition and now has a new home with a newly restored interior and exterior contributing to Biloxi’s historic character once again.
Wilkinson Stagecoach – Bible Cottage
Owner: Christal Jenkins
Contractor: Structural Solutions
Very early after the formation of Brandon in 1829, Wright Fore built the first stagecoach stop for Brandon. He later sold it to W.D. Wilkinson who added a room which was believed to be an inn. More rooms were added in 1872 when the property was deeded to his granddaughter. In 1917 Henry Whitfield lived there until he became governor of the state. He sold the property to Washington Bible in 1925. The house which first started as a stagecoach stop is located on a prominent Street in Brandon and had sat vacant and deteriorating for many years before Christal Jenkins recognized the Wilkinson Stagecoach – Bible Cottage as a “Diamond in the Rough.” She worked to retain the original materials of the house and even removed wall board to revel the original tongue and groove board walls, the original flooring was restored, claw foot tubs retained, and even the kitchen sink was reused. The exterior was restored and painted. This former derelict property is now called home by a woman who knew its true potential when she saw it, even in its very rough shape.
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESERVATION EDUCATION & MEDIA
Preservation in May Program
The City of Biloxi received an Award for Excellence in Preservation Education and Media for their Preservation in May Program in Biloxi. This award is given to projects which help inform people of the value of preservation and help preserve historic sites across the state through educational materials or through the use of media. In celebration of local preservation and to educate the community about its cultural history, a partnership of public and private organizations in Biloxi comes together each May during National Preservation Month to put on an outstanding roster of programs. Beginning in 2008 the City of Biloxi, Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, Biloxi Main Street Program, and the local History and Genealogy Department of the Biloxi Public Library, Biloxi Public School District, and the University of Southern Mississippi pooled resources to sponsor free programs each Thursday in May and produce publications. Each year a large postcard is designed as an invitation with information about the programs throughout the month. The programs range from tours, exhibits, lectures, historic reenactments, and more. Attendance at the programs over the years has grown from around 50 to over 200. In addition to the program various materials are produced including a project called “Biloxi Houses: as time keeps turning” which was put together by local 8th grade students in Biloxi who studied the history and architecture of the houses in the city, photographed them and compiled the information into a book for the public. Each year, participants in the Preservation in May program learn about the people and events that have helped shape Biloxi, building the base of preservation advocates and reinforcing the value of community through an outstanding public-private partnership.
MHT/MAAHPC AWARD EXCELLENCE IN AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESERVATION
Student Exchange Tour: Tallahatchie-Neshoba County Civil Rights Tour and Brochure
Tallahatchie and Neshoba Counties, Mississippi
This year the Student Exchange Tour: Tallahatchie-Neshoba County Civil Rights Tour and Brochure received the Mississippi African American Historic Preservation Council Award for Excellence in African American Preservation which is given to projects that help to preserve the important African American history of the state. The Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors established the Emmett Till Memorial Commission for the purpose of fostering racial harmony and reconciliation as wells as to tell the important story of the murder of Emmett Till along with the subsequent trial of his accused murders Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam in 1955 in the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi. The Commission and the Tallahatchie County Parks and Recreation Department worked together with Neshoba County and each of the school districts in those counties to expand the current Tallahatchie County Historic Sites bus tour to 9th- 12th graders from both areas so they could learn more about the civil rights struggle in Mississippi and the role that the two counties played in bringing the movement to the attention of the world. Students from Neshoba County and Tallahatchie County traveled to each county to tour the respective historic sites, listened to speakers at each site and wrote Pre & Post- tour essays. The tour was so successful in broadening the understanding of the student’s civil rights knowledge that the group has decided to hold the tour again this year and include additional counties. One of the student’s wrote in their essay “It was my first time in Money, MS and I was able to visit the store where everything first started. I also visited the site at the river where his body was discovered. I truly admire has mother’s courage of having an open casket funereal; it showed the brutality of racial discrimination.” The tour has opened the eyes of young people and has made it relevant by showing them the sites where history has actually taken place, it has had great success is preserving an important part of the State’s African American history.
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE STEWARDSHIP OF HISTORIC SITES
Mobile and Ohio Railroad Depot - Aberdeen
Save Aberdeen Landmarks and City of Aberdeen
The Mobile and Ohio Railroad Depot in Aberdeen is the oldest know train depot in Mississippi dating to 1857; however, even with that status it fell into neglect. That and a lack of money to properly restore the building landed it on the 10 Most Endangered list in 2007. The City owns the building and never wanted to demolish it, it just did not have the resources to restore the building. That is where Save Aberdeen Landmarks came into the picture. The non-profit organization works to restore and refurbish historic structure not only in downtown Aberdeen but in the surrounding area as well. Together with the city they developed a plan to get the stabilization and restoration of the depot underway by breaking down the project into manageable phases. The Landmarks group coordinated volunteers and donated materials to help with the project. The city applied for and received three Certified Local Government Grants from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History over a period of years to help fund each phase. The first phase stabilized the building, the second installed a new roof, and the third completed the exterior restorations with window repairs and painting. Not resting a bit the city and Save Aberdeen’s Landmarks are working on the interior of the building and developing plans for its new use once completed. For their outstanding work in saving and restoring the exterior of an important Mississippi Landmark the City of Aberdeen and the Save Aberdeen Landmarks organization received an Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of a Historic Site.
Ocean Springs Community Center - Ocean Springs
City of Ocean Springs
The Colonial Revival style Ocean Springs Community Center was finished in 1948. Its unassuming concrete block exterior tells little about the significance of the interior. From 1951-1952, local artist Walter Anderson covered almost every space of the interior walls, including baseboards, trim, and electrical outlets, with a fantastical mural depicting the “seven seasons” of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, in his own famously distinctive style. Anderson’s style was not generally appreciated at the time, and he actually left the mural unfinished because of criticism. He was paid $1.00 for the work, which is now valued in the millions. Problems with the Community Center over the years including leaks and damage from storms necessitated that something be done in order to protect the murals created by Anderson. The City of Ocean Springs embarked on an extensive project to repair the building and restore the murals. The project began with roof work, exterior painting and sealant, as well as drainage, and installation of storm windows. In 2011, the City began work on the interior including new HVAC, addition of sprinklers, new lights, and a glass railing in front of the murals. By far the most important work was the restoration of the murals themselves. Art conservator Patty Kamm completed the mural restoration which was a multi-tiered process carried out over a period of several months. The conservation treatment will ensure that the murals are in a stable and secure condition and preserved for the future. The City of Ocean Springs received an Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of a Historic Site for its desire and commitment to preserve the greatest work of Walter Anderson, one of the 20th century's most innovative and exciting artists.
MDAH/MHT AWARD FOR HISTORIC DISTRICT PRESERVATION:
City of Biloxi
The City of Biloxi received the Mississippi Department of Arches and History/Mississippi Heritage Trust Award for Historic District Preservation for their Citywide Comprehensive Preservation Program. This award recognizes the preservation efforts by a community to protect or develop historic districts. Since Hurricane Katrina the City of Biloxi has made a conscious effort to restore and rehabilitate what remains of numerous city-owned historic buildings in a large part to reassure its citizens that Biloxi’s history and culture had not been lost. In the past seven years they have worked to restore the city owned historic landmarks including: the Biloxi Lighthouse, Old Brick House, Magnolia Hotel, Biloxi City Hall, Glen Swetman House, Sanger Theater, Creole Cottage and even moved the Slay House to a new location to save it from demolition. The City has also actively supported the MDAH Katrina Grant program which has worked to save numerous buildings in Biloxi’s historic districts through the program. The City has also promoted historic preservation through initiatives like the Local Landmark Program which identifies locally significant historic buildings with distinct bronze plaques, a Preservation Awards program every other year to recognize property owners who have worked to preserve Biloxi’s historic resources, and they have implemented ongoing programs that recognize and encourage commercial and residential rehabilitation projects that preserve historic places in Biloxi. All of this effort is attracting renewed interest in preservation-based redevelopment of the historic places which has not only saved those places but has helped provide economic development to the city. The City of Biloxi has done an outstanding job in promoting and preserving the historic places in Biloxi’s historic districts.
AL & LIBBY HOLLINGSWORTH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Sam Kaye of Columbus received the Al and Libby Hollingsworth Lifetime Achievement Award, which is Mississippi Heritage Trust’s highest award for outstanding service to historic preservation in Mississippi. Sam Kaye has been a great champion for the preservation of historic sites not only in his hometown of Columbus, but throughout the state of Mississippi! Since 1974, he has operated his architecture firm in Columbus with special emphasis on community planning and historic preservation. He has worked across the state on preservation projects bringing back to life historic buildings ranging from residential, commercial, educational, and institutional, all of different sizes and complexity. His firm also worked on putting numerous historic districts and sites on the National Register of Historic Places across the state. Since 1994 Sam has served as Staff Consultant to the Mississippi Main Street Association and has served as Director of Design Services helping to enhance historic downtowns across the state. Not only has Sam been involved in preservation on the local and state level, he has also devoted countless hours of service to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as an Advisor and in many leadership capacities. His involvement with historic preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation led to the establishment of the Mississippi Heritage Trust in 1992 with a group of volunteers who decided that a statewide non-profit organization was needed to help promote the preservation of the state’s historic places. He was chairman of the Steering Committee and served as the first President of the organization. Under his leadership and work with the Mississippi Heritage Trust it has grown into the successful organization that it is today with programs like the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places and the Heritage Awards. Former Governor William Winter said “I know of no architect who has done more to develop a public appreciation of historic preservation than has Sam Kaye.” The Mississippi Heritage Trust agrees with Governor Winter and believes that Sam Kaye is most deserving of this award for all that he has done for the preservation and promotion of historic places in the state and for his hard work and dedication in the field of historic preservation!
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