10 MOST LISTS


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1999

2000

2003

2005

2007

2009

 


The goal of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places program 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.


"Each of the endangered places holds a special place in our collective memory and helps to define who we are as a people, as a culture, as a state. The importance of their continued preservation cannot be overstated. We need these places so that our children's children will understand who they are."

  

- Thomas S. Howorth

Past President, Mississippi Heritage Trust

 

 

 

 

2001 10 Most Endangered sites:

click on the name to view

information about each site

Greek Revival Homes of the Mississippi Delta


The Cedars - Jackson


Dairy Farms of Oktibbeha County and the Old Coop in Starkville


Hawkins Field Old Terminal - Jackson


Mississippi Industrial College - Holly Springs


Moore Fire Tower - Forest


Old Wesson Public School - Wesson


Rippy Road and Turkey Creek - Gulfport


Rosenwald Schools - Statewide


The Watkins Museum - Taylorsville

 


 

Greek Revival Homes of the Mississippi Delta


Today, it is a challenge to find antebellum era homes in the Mississippi Delta. Constructed nationally between 1825 and 1860, Greek Revival style homes typically featured columned, temple-front porches with front doors surrounded by a transom and sidelights. Both vernacular and high-style versions survived the vagaries of war and nature for nearly two centuries but, alas, are still endangered. Neglect and economic depression hinder the reuse of these architectural gems.


The Burrus House

1859-61
Benoit, Mississippi (Bolivar County)


Burrus House, a.k.a. Hollywood Plantation, a.k.a. "The Baby Doll House," is the last high-style antebellum house left standing in Bolivar County. The two-story columned pediment without a second-floor porch is a rare Greek Revival form. Vacancy, inadequate maintenance and lack of funds hinder its preservation. The owners are interested in selling this architectural jewel.

2009 Update - In Progress

The house is being restored by the Burrus Foundation. It is expected to be completed in early 2010 and the foundation has plans to make the house available for tours and special events.

Pugh-Blundell House

1840s
Yazoo City, Mississippi (Yazoo County)


Yazoo City’s Pugh-Blundell house cries for help amid the beautiful homes of the Town Creek Historic District. Vacancy, vandalism and rapid deterioration threaten this classic example of a Louisiana-raised cottage. Its prominent location makes its preservation all the more crucial for the integrity of the district.

2009 Update - In Progress

This raised cottage is still sitting vacant amid the beautiful homes of the Town Creek Historic District in Yazoo City. Now under new ownership, some stabilization work has been completed. 

Griffin-Spragins House on Refuge Plantation

1833
Greenville, Mississippi – vicinity (Washington County)


In its heyday, Refuge Plantation was one of the largest cotton plantations in the world, and today, its main house, the Griffin-Spragins House, is one of the few surviving plantation homes in the area and one of the best examples of a mid-nineteenth century plantation house in Washington County. The Refuge Plantation house is threatened by the new Mississippi River Bridge that may potentially be located within 100 yards of the home.
Update - The Refuge Plantation house near Greenville continues to be threatened by the new Mississippi River bridge that may be located within 100 yards of the home.

2009 Update - In Progress

The house is now owner-occupied and well-maintained. A new Mississippi River bridge which threatened the house has been built about three-quarters of a mile from the home.

 


The Cedars

circa 1840
Old Canton Road, Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)


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

2009 Update - SAVED

Having purchased The Cedars and surrounding property, the Coggins donated the house to the Fondren Renaissance Association (FRA) with the stipulation that the building be moved so the lot could be developed with condos.  However, plans for the development fell through and the owners offered the lot to the Fondren Renaissance Foundation.  So the organization took on the monumental task of raising the money to purchase the property and to restore the house.  The money raised was enough to buy the property and to receive a matching grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission Building Fund to reuse the house as a community visual and performing arts center.   Renovation work was completed on the house in the summer of 2004, and it was dedicated on August 29, 2004.  Now The Cedars is home to an art gallery and is used for community functions and fundraisers.  It represents a tremendous effort on the part of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation and the many people in the Fondren neighborhood and others who gave time and money to save the house in its original location and to help bring it back to life for the community.

 


Dairy Farms of Oktibbeha County and the Old Coop in Starkville
Starkville, Mississippi (Oktibbeha County)

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

2009 Update - No Progress

Unfortunately, the Cooperative Creamery was demolished in 2005. Development continues to occur on the lands formerly occupied by the Oktibbeha County Dairy Farms erasing the agricultural history of the area.

 


Hawkins Field Old Terminal

1936
Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)


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

 

2009 Update - No Progress
The Civil Air Patrol in Jackson attempted to gather funds and support for the restoration of this historic building; however, they have not found success, as the airport authority that owns the terminal has continued to let the building deteriorate. The authority is interested in tearing the building down; however, they have not been able to do so under the Mississippi Antiquities Act.

 


Mississippi Industrial College

circa 1880
Holly Springs, Mississippi (Marshall County)


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

2009 Update - in Progress
At the request of the owners of the property, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the complex was designated a Mississippi landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on November 14, 2002.

Holly Springs-based Rust College has purchased the property on which the Industrial College stands. Although a recent storm caused the roof of one building to completely collapse, officials say they hope the other buildings can be saved. Rust College is working with the Department of the Interior to assess the conditions of the properties and they hope that renovations will be approved. Fund raising will be necessary, as estimates to restore the buildings come in at $10 million and up. College officials especially wish to save the 2,000-seat auditorium building and make it available to the citizens of Holly Springs.

 


Moore Fire Tower

1940
Forest, Mississippi - vicinity (Scott County)


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

2009 Update - SAVED
The Mississippi Forestry Service has allocated funds to repair and replace many of the damaged steps, fix the twisted and rusted beams, and replace the roof. Some cosmetic repairs are still to be made to the interior of the structure, but at present it is structurally sound. The Forestry Service does not plan to open the tower up to tours but may incorporate visits to the tower with other tours so that interested visitors are able to at least see the structure.

 


Old Wesson Public School

1893
Wesson, Mississippi (Copiah County)


Joining Mississippi’s efforts to rebuild its post-Civil War economy, Col. James Madison Wesson moved to Copiah County and established the Mississippi Manufacturing Company, later known as the Mississippi Mills. He became the engineer of a textile industry and the founder of a town called Wesson. Thousands of people were employed with the company during its peak years and as the town grew, new facilities were constructed to support its growing population. The Old Wesson School, a two-story brick veneer Romanesque Revival Style building originally built in 1889 and rebuilt in 1893 after it was destroyed by fire, is significant as one of three remaining public buildings associated with Wesson’s historic development fostered by the textile industry. A Mississippi Landmark and National Register of Historic Places property, the Old Wesson School has an unusual industrial appearance, and may have been designed by the same architect and in the same style as the original Mississippi Mills buildings. In use as a school until 1960, the building has been the focus of many adaptive reuse efforts over the years, but has remained vacant and the victim of poor maintenance and vandalism since 1994.

2009 Update - In Progress
The old Wesson School building will become the new home of the St. Ambrose Leadership College. The College is the culmination of a unique partnership between the college, Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the Town of Wesson. St. Ambrose is to be a residential college honors program and leadership school. Plans are for 20 to 30 scholarships to be awarded annually to the most outstanding male high school graduates from throughout the state.


Exterior renovation of the building was completed in 2003 and made possible by funding from two grants: a Community Heritage Preservation grant through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and an Economic Development grant from the Mississippi Development Authority.  The Legislature approved an additional $1 million in funding to continue renovation of the interior of the school. The city is currently in the design and planning phase for this part of the project.  

 


Rippy Road and Turkey Creek

late 1800s
North Gulfport, Mississippi (Harrison County)


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

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

 


Rosenwald Schools

circa 1910
Statewide; example, Prentiss Institute, Prentiss (Jefferson Davis County)


In 1911, Booker T. Washington, president and founder of Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, and Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, met at a dinner in Chicago. The result of their ensuing conversation would change African-American education in the South as well as alter the landscape of the Southern states over the next twenty years. Washington’s ideas for improving the standards of school buildings for black students interested Rosenwald, and he donated a small sum of money to help Washington test his theories in the counties around Tuskegee. By 1920, this minute beginning had blossomed into the full-grown Julius Rosenwald Fund, which granted money to African-Americans in all eleven former Confederate states who could match the grant with money, labor or materials. By 1932, when the Fund changed its emphasis to other matters, Mississippi placed second among the states with 557 Rosenwald buildings constructed. Most of these were frame, one- and two-classroom country schools. Today, less than ten are known to still stand in the state, and most of these are abandoned or neglected.

2009 Update - In Progress
The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Rosenwald Initiative, created to document the history of the Rosenwald Fund and aid in preservation efforts across the South, has resulted in renewed interest in these important community landmarks.  In Pass Christian, the Randolph School (1928), the only remaining Rosenwald on the Coast, sustained serious damage from Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge. Understanding the significance of the building, the City of Pass Christian decided to repair the old school for use as a community center. Prentiss Institute’s Rosenwald building (1926)—the center of this “Tuskegee Model” institution in Jefferson Davis County—was awarded $190,000 through the Community Heritage Preservation Grant program in 2006 for a full rehabilitation. Only a few years ago, this building was vacant and in an advanced stage of deterioration, but now it will be an active community center again. Other smaller schools, like the Ginntown School (1920) in Walthall County, have been “re-discovered” by their alumni and will be brought back to life again as vital cores of their rural neighborhoods.  Several Rosenwald schools remain endangered, however, including the Bay Springs School north of Hattiesburg, which sustained roof and foundation damage in Hurricane Katrina that has overwhelmed the capacity of the owners to repair.

 


The Watkins Museum

1901
Taylorsville, Mississippi (Smith County)


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

2009 Update - In Progress
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History in December 2002, awarded a $120,000 Mississippi Landmark Grant to the Watkins Museum, for exterior and interior repairs to the building. After rep[aries were made Hurricane Katrina damaged the building and it now leans to one side. The city of Taylorsville would like to repair the building in the near future. 

 


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