10 MOST LISTS


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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

 

 

 

 

 

1999 10 Most Endangered sites:

click on the name to view

information about each site

Town of Carrollton - Carrollton


Old Corinth Machinery - Corinth


Cutrer Mansion - Clarksdale


Farish Street Historic District - Jackson


Keesler Bridge - Greenwood


King Edward Hotel - Jackson

Meadvilla - Washington


Mississippi's Historic Public School Buildings - Statewide


Vicksburg Campaign and Historic Trail - Vicksburg Vicinity


White House Hotel - Biloxi

 


Town of Carrollton
Carrollton, Mississippi

A quintessential nineteenth century town, Carrollton survives relatively in tact with a courthouse square surrounded by beautiful homes and downtown buildings. Carrollton could be to Mississippi what Salem is to North Carolina and Williamsburg is to Virginia. One of two county seats in Carroll County, drastic measures will be necessary to save this amazingly special Mississippi town.

2009 Update - In Progress
The adoption of a Preservation Ordinance, the designation as a Certified Local Government by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the restoration of several downtown buildings have gone a long way toward protecting the character of the town. Restoration is complete on the Carrollton Community House, a 1936-era log building. Although some recent grant funding requests have fallen short, the city did obtain a CLG grant in 2005 for its 1899-era Masonic Lodge building. In the last two years, Carrollton has done a partial restoration on its Town Hall and is working to restore the Merrill Building, the oldest building in town. City officials are also working on a restoration and ADA conversion of the Carroll County Courthouse.

 


Old Corinth Machinery
Corinth, Mississippi

The building located in Corinth known as the Old Corinth Machinery is the oldest, surviving industrial building in the state of Mississippi. It was built in 1869 by Martin Seigrest, an architect, who built many of Corinth’s buildings including Rubel’s Department Store. In the past, the building housed a woolen factory and machinery which produced sawmill carriages. Today, its Canadian owners have abandoned the structure, allowing it to fall prey to the elements.

2009 Update - No Progress
A preservation easement has been conveyed for the historic Corinth Machinery Building, ensuring that any future changes to the building will be sympathetic with its original character.  Plans were announced to renovate the building for market-rate apartments however work has not progressed and the building continues to deteriorate. 

 


Cutrer Mansion
Clarksdale, Mississippi

The Cutrer Mansion, an Italian Renaissance villa, was built in 1916 by J. W. Cutrer and his wife, Blanche Clark Cutrer. The interest in the Cutrer Mansion by various groups such as the Clarksdale Heritage Foundation, the Mississippi Heritage Trust, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation is not only due to its architectural significance but also because of its literary significance. Tennessee Williams, one of American’s greatest playwrights, lived in Clarksdale as a youth. The time spent by Williams in Mississippi inspired the writer to model some of his characters after Clarksdale’s prominent citizens such as the Cutrer family and their lavish lifestyles. When the current owners of the mansion, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, announced plans to raze the structure, efforts began to find a solution that would benefit both the preservation of Mississippi’s history and the needs of the St. Elizabeth’s Catholic school.

2009 Update - SAVED
In 1999, the mansion was about to be demolished when Delta State University and the community of Clarksdale put preservation in action by saving this piece of Mississippi’s history.  In the summer of 2004, a $1.6 million restoration and renovation was completed on the first floor and the exterior of the house thanks to bond funds from the Mississippi Legislature. Restoration of the second floor and acquisition of furnishings are awaiting an additional $1.5 million in funding through donations or further bond funds. The Cutrer Mansion now serves as part of the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, a partnership between Coahoma Community College and Delta State University.

 


Farish Street Historic District
Jackson, Mississippi

One of the state’s largest economically independent, African-American communities in the state was in what is now known as the Farish Street Historic District. The area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a Jackson historic district. In 1996, the neighborhood was listed on the nation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, primarily because of the threat to what is the largest concentration of shotgun row house (circa 1930-1950) central to a surviving African-American neighborhood. The Farish Street Historic District Neighborhood Foundation in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation has begun implementing a revitalization plan in the neighborhood. Starting with a core group of shotguns, other residential properties will be addressed to further stabilize the area.

A second structure of historic importance is the Alex Williams House. The Alex Williams House or Greystone Hotel has stood abandoned for years and, like the shotgun houses, has deteriorated significantly. Built in 1912, the landmark served first as the residence of Mr. Williams, a prominent local African-American business and property owner. In 1950, it was converted into the Greystone Hotel. Today, this resource needs immediate stabilization.

Equally important and integral to the revitalization of the Farish Street Neighborhood is the commercial district. This three-block stretch of turn-of-the-century and early twentieth-century storefronts was the heart of the African-American economic community until integration. Mostly abandoned and deteriorated, these storefronts need immediate attention as well as a coordinated plan for their use.

2009 Update - In Progress

Infrastructure work (new water, sewer, road and sidewalk) in the two-block area that will be the Farish Street Entertainment District has been completed.  Unfortunately, during the work in this area, one of the historic buildings along Farish Street, the Brown Furniture Co. building, collapsed into the street before it could be stabilized.  Since the completion of the infrastructure work, multiple businesses have committed to locating in the entertainment district, including two at the site of the former Brown Furniture Co. building. Watkins Partners has taken over the development of the entertainment district and work has progressed on a number of the buildings. Several businesses have committed to locating in the entertainment district, including two at the site of the former Brown Furniture Co. building. The Entertainment District is scheduled to open in 2010.

 


Keesler Bridge
Greenwood, Mississippi

Lack of interest and maintenance affects not only historic buildings but also other structures such as bridges. Keesler Bridge, which serves as the main corridor into Historic Downtown Greenwood, is a swing type bridge called a Howe Truss. Built in 1924, it has carried traffic across the Yazoo River for 74 years and is designated as a Mississippi Landmark. To lose a structure of such significance would mean to lose a piece of the past that bridges the past, present and future of a city and makes a historic district complete.

2009 Update - SAVED
The Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History awarded a $256,000 Mississippi Landmark Grant to the City of Greenwood and Leflore County for the Keesler Bridge.  These funds were used in conjunction with a $1.2 million TEA-21 grant awarded by MDOT to restore this significant piece of historic engineering. The
bridge was reopened in September of 2003.

 


King Edward Hotel
Jackson, Mississippi

Built in 1923 by New Orleans architect William T. Nolan on the same site as two previous prominent hotels, the King Edward was significant as a hub of social and political activity in Jackson, the state capitol of Mississippi. The hotel closed in 1967 and has remained vacant for the 31 years, suffering extensive damage. Today the decaying structure is part of the West Capitol Street Historic District, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is designated as both a Mississippi Landmark and a Jackson Landmark. Several proposals throughout the years have been made to save the landmark, but non have come to fruition.

2009 Update - SAVED
The hotel was designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2006. After years of struggles with city opposition and problems finding an investor, renovations to the hotel began in 2007 and the new Hilton Garden Inn – Downtown Jackson, located in the King Edward Hotel, opened in the fall of 2009 featuring 186 hotel rooms, a restaurant, lounge, convenience store, coffee shop and fitness center. In addition, the building has 64 luxury apartments and retail space.

 


Meadvilla
Washington, Mississippi

Built around 1808, Meadvilla was the home of Cowles Mead, Secretary of the Mississippi Territory. During the later territorial period, the house served as a tavern and stagecoach stop operated by Moses Richardson. In 1828, Meadvilla became the home of Benjamin L. C. Wailes, scientist, historian, first state geologist, and first President of the Mississippi Historical Society. A significant example of Federal style architecture, the house is now severely threatened by deterioration.

2009 Update - In Progress
Meadvilla has changed ownership and work is underway to restore the house.

 


Mississippi's Historic Public School Buildings
Statewide

Built of solid materials and designed in unique architectural styles, Mississippi’s Historic Public School Buildings once served as the heart of the neighborhoods in which they stand. Nationally, communities have faced an unfortunate trend of constructing new buildings for education as the solution to upgrading school facilities. Because of this philosophy, historic neighborhood public schools often are left vacant to deteriorate or to be demolished.

2009 Update - In Progress
While natural causes such as Hurricane Katrina have destroyed a handful of historic schools in the past few years, man-made demolition or abandonment is often the more likely cause of death for these buildings. One of Mississippi’s oldest public schools, the Speed Street School in Vicksburg, built in 1894 and one of only five 19th-century public schools, was torn down in March 2009 for its salvaged brick. The 1948 James Q. Allen gymnasium at the old Clinton High School became the center of a local controversy when the school board decided to demolish the building in order to sell the land on which it sat. Although a group of local citizens fought to save the building, the fate of the building was sealed when the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) declined to intervene. The gymnasium was torn down in November 2008.   

The Community Heritage Preservation Grant program, managed by the MDAH has provided much-needed support for these important community landmarks around the state, including the old Corinth High School; West Clay Agricultural High School (one of the few remaining agricultural high school complexes left statewide); the old Hattiesburg High School; Eureka School, Hattiesburg’s historically black high school; Prentiss Institute’s Rosenwald building; Midway School (Tishomingo County); the old Canton High School; and Pine Valley School (Yalobusha County). These school buildings—large and small, in towns and rural hamlets—hopefully will remain as useful centers for their surrounding communities for many years to come.

 


Vicksburg Campaign and Historic Trail
Vicksburg, Mississippi

The story of the siege is the focus of a beautiful national military park … but outside the park boundaries, the fields, bayous and country roads where the rest of the Vicksburg campaign was waged are threatened by the forces of time, change and neglect. The very existence of this significant resource is little known, its historic value under appreciated, and its potential for heritage tourism untapped. As a result, landmark buildings are crumbling and inappropriate development threatens unprotected sits such as the Coker House at the Champion Hill battlefield site, Pemberton’s Headquarters in Vicksburg, the Old Raymond-Utica Road, and the Shaifer House outside Port Gibson. A comprehensive strategy for education, planning and management is essential to save this hallowed ground where bravery and sacrifice shaped the course of history.

2009 Update - In Progress

As part of a comprehensive, statewide Mississippi Civil War Trails project, funded through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) grant program, several projects are underway along the trail. One of the most historic structures in the Vicksburg Campaign region, the Shaifer House, located on the Port Gibson Battlefield, was restored in 2007 and interpretative signage was added to the site. 

The Raymond Battlefield Trail was completed in the fall of 2006. The trail has been paved and signage installed. Open during daylight hours for public use the trail follows the Mississippi Operations in the Campaign & Siege of Vicksburg guide, published in 1999. MDAH is working towards finalizing the Civil War Trails by the end of 2009.

 


White House Hotel
Biloxi, Mississippi

In 1890, Mr. and Mrs. Walter White opened their residence overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. By 1910, the White House Hotel and its expanded grounds were a popular Biloxi beach resort offering golfing, motoring, relaxing, fishing, tennis, and boating. Additions to the original house in 1923 were in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and constitute most of the present vacant hotel. Today, as part of the West Beach Historic District, it sits vacant ready to be restored to its past glory.

2009 Update - In Progress
Owner James S. Love III, whose father ran this beach resort from 1940 to 1972, announced in 2001 that this grand hotel would be restored for use as a first-class hotel.  Renovation work on the hotel has begun, however it is currently on hold due to the lull in the tourist industry after September 11th. 
 The White House Hotel did survive Hurricane Katrina and redevelopment efforts continue to try to restore the hotel to its original grandeur. Activity on the project slowed in recent years as Mr. Love grew ill. He passed away in March 2009. His son and daughters are in the process of getting the project restarted and hope to make progress soon, though the economic downturn poses many challenges.

 


 

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