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.
MHT has been working hard to save the former home of
Mississippi Governor Robert Lowry who moved into the house after his term ended in 1890. The Lowry House is located in Jackson and was
placed on the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2005. The house can be documented to
the 1870s and is one of Jackson’s few remaining raised cottages with Greek
Revival and Italiante details. When rehabilitation work is completed MHT plans to use the Lowry House for its new headquarters and open a Preservation Resource Center in the building where people can come learn more about the tools to persevere historic buildings.
History of the Lowry House
The Lowry House was originally located on Fortification Street; however, in 1914 it was moved to North Congress Street when that street was extended. After two terms (1882 - 1890) as Governor of Mississippi, Robert Lowry purchased the house for his residence. Since his death in 1910 the house has had several owners and uses.
Governor Robert Lowry - Image from the Collection
of the Museum of Mississippi History,
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
In 2005, plans were announced for the expansion of the Baptist Hospital which included the land on which the Lowry house was located. Due to the house’s architectural and historical significance as one of the few surviving antebellum structures in Jackson and as a residence of a former governor, it was determined that it was too important to lose and was placed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2005.
Saving the Lowry House
After the house was placed on the 10 Most list, MHT and the Baptist Hospital worked together to find a way to save the house and developed a plan to relocate it to a new lot outside of the area the hospital needed for expansion. Baptist generously donated the house to MHT along with a new lot next to the Manship House parking lot on North Congress Street to move the house to. The MHT Board of Trustees decided they would commit to financing the relocation and restoration of the house for use as MHT’s state headquarters.
Lot that was donated by Baptist Hospital
for the relocation of the Lowry House.
With an agreement in place and an available piece of land, MHT began planning for the relocation. In December of 2005, MHT received a Community Heritage Preservation Grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to move the house to the new lot. MHT then began working out the logistics of moving the house. In the fall of 2006, a contractor was hired to move the house and build a foundation for it on the new lot. Preparation was completed on the new lot and engineering drawings finished for the foundation. The foundation work for the house began in May of 2007 and the house was moved to the new lot in June of 2007. The remaining foundation work was completed in September of 2007.
Lowry House during its move. Click the
picture to see more images of the house during its move.
Lowry House on its new site and after the
installation of the new foundation. Click on the picture to
see more images of the house on its new site.
In the spring of 2008 architectural plans for the restoration of the exterior and interior got underway by Steve Davis of Canizaro Cawthon Davis as the principal architect on the project.
In the summer of 2008 MHT was awarded a grant from the 1772 Foundation to help with the restoration of the Lowry House. A total of $35,000 was awarded for work to the exterior of the house. The money was used to rebuild the front porch, repair the rear porch flooring and columns, and repair the roof to stop leaks. The site was also partially graded to allow water to drain away from the front of the house.
In the fall of 2008 work began on the reconstruction of the front porch which was removed in order to move the house. Repairs to the rear porch were also completed at that time. Work was completed by the end of 2008.
Reconstruction of the front porch underway
at the Lowry House.
Front porch of the Lowry House after reconstruction.
In December of 2009 MHT was approved for Community Heritage Grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for exterior work to the house. The architect completed the plans the end of 2010 for the exterior. The project was put out to bid in early 2011 and construction work started in the summer of 2011.
The first phase will concentrate on the exterior of the building and will include the installation of a new roof; repairs to all of the doors, windows, siding and porches; and new paint for the building.
MHT will also be working to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) certification for the Lowry House project to demonstrate that historic buildings can be made energy efficient. It is the first historic project of its kind in Mississippi to go for LEED certification. The architect is working on the plans for the house to achieve certification by using such items as additional insulation, high efficiency HVAC, special low VOC paint, as well as reusing as many materials as possible and limiting waste disposal.
Exterior Restoration Phase
Historic Renovations of Yazoo was selected as the contractor for the Lowry House exterior restoration work and they began work the end of the summer. Since then a new roof has been installed, the aluminum over the eave and fascia boards has been removed. The fascia and eaves have been repaired, the siding has been scrapped and primed, and over half of the windows have been restored. Remaining work includes repairing damaged siding, replacing missing siding, finishing the window restoration, restoring the front and rear doors, installing a new glass wall for the rear porch, and painting the entire house. Work is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2011.
Window restoration in progress. As part of the process windows are removed from their frames, all of the old glazing and glass is removed, after repair of the mullions the glass is reinstalled and the windows regalzed. The sash cords are also being restored so the windows operate as they originally did when they are reinstalled.
Before and after of the windows and siding of the Lowry House.
Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of the