Macon Masonic Temple

Masonic TempleLess elaborate than Penn Jeffries Krouse’s Masonic Temple in Lexington, nonetheless, this stand alone building has some pleasing qualities to me.  Like many of the temples, it held retail space on the lower floor, and meeting space on the upper level.  In particular, I like the 3-brick basket weave pattern, set on an angle, over the upper windows.  I surmise the center door was the entrance to the stairs.  Take a closer look at the details of the front elevation:

front elevation closeFrom the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Macon Historic District,

…symmetrical building…giving a strong vertical emphasis, three engaged piers rise to the top of the parapet, one on the north and south corners, with one in the center of the building. Tablets placed between the piers and below, the second floor windows are accented with decorative brickwork in a round arch design anchoring the vertical block….most fenestration is steel projecting or “hopper window” type…(E. Pauline Barrow, 2001)

Constructed in 1929 by builder B. H. Cline, and designed by architect F. A. Livingston of Louisville, the retail floor offers “Hot Fashions” so get get some “Quality for Less” next time you are in Macon.

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Masonic Temple, Lexington

Masonic TempleThe former Masonic Temple Lodge # 24 on 126 Court Square was designed by architect Penn Jeffries Krouse, and completed in 1910 (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory).  Jennifer V. O. Baughn described the building in the nomination form for the Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places, 2000:

…red and brown brick…flat roof and slightly stepped parapet capped with concrete…lost original pressed metal cornice (eastern and southern facades)…first floor pressed metal cornice with heavy brackets…

side elevation…features three round-arched, tripartite windows, with arches resting on pilasters topped by acanthus-leaf capitals and inset Masonic symbol…

I have no idea what is going on with those first floor bricked up areas.  The three to the right of the entrance feature the same type of brick as the building, but the ones to the left and the far right are different.  The ones to the left are larger also, and almost seem like garage bays.window detailBut just look at the detail in the arches as described above!

A circa 1970 Masonic Lodge # 24, F&AM, was constructed on Vine Street.  I had to laugh out loud at the description from the MDAH/HRI database in Comments and Notes:

A wretchedly dull, thoroughly graceless one-story, slab-on-grade brick box, typical of the ugly meeting halls erected by small-town Masonic lodges since the 1940s.

Masonic HallI had to see what could cause such utter contempt, so I took a Google map drive down Vine Street.  I am going to have to agree with the graceless brick box, but then, I guess a meeting hall is supposed to be just that–a meeting hall.  Certainly, Penn Jeffries Krouse’s building on Court Square, even in its slightly dilapidated-looking state, retains the grandeur of past architecture.

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Carnegie Library in Okolona

Carnegie Library and labyrynthArchitect John Gaisford of Memphis designed the Carnegie Library in Okolona in 1914.  The building was completed in 1915, with one large room and a full basement that contained four small rooms and two baths (Okolona, Mississippi Carnegie Library).  Carnegie provided $7,500 toward the construction.  An addition in 1986 added a conference room and more shelf space.  It is currently under renovation again.

The “storytelling” labyrinth in the front has interesting symbolic meaning.  You can read the full piece at the link, but I particularly liked the final few words:

The project will hopefully be seen by the community as a landmark of not only something that happened in the past, but of a positive step taken by the townspeople towards an openness concerning the town’s history and the possibility of a united future. (The Carnegie Library Story Labyrinth, retrieved from City of Okolona website)

Gaisford also designed the Como Methodist Church.  The last building before his death in 1918 was the Paramount Theater in Clarksdale. The Paramount was originally named the Marion when it opened in 1918. Its most recent reincarnation was as the Super Soul Shop.Super sould shop Clarksdale

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Borden’s Evaporating Plant, Macon

BMP and smoke stack 2…there just wasn’t many jobs to have anywhere.  Borden’s, I think they come in here about that time, about ’27…and it helped a lot for employment in the county, employed a lot of folks…I started there in 1931. (Eugene Penick, Sr., August 7, 2009, Mississippi Oral History Project)

Noxubee County offered a “…7-acre site to the Borden Southern Company for the million dollar milk evaporating plant that is to be erected here in the immediate future” (“Dairying industry as seen by Herald representative,” p. 1, Biloxi Daily Herald, September 19, 1927).  The plant was located in Macon, and processed canned evaporated milk from the milk supplied by the Noxubee county dairy farmers.  Mr. Penick said the canned milk was shipped out on rails.  The M & O Railroad built a spur track to the plant to accommodate pick up (“Plans for Borden Milk Plant are completed,” Biloxi Daily Herald, November 17, 1927, p. 1).

BMP 2An advertisement in the 1929 The Morning Call, Laurel, Mississippi described the product:


“The Nation’s Milk”

SMALL CAN, 4 1/2c

Malcome ONeal described his trip with the Club Congress to the plant:

In the afternoon we visited Borden’s milk plant.  This was very interesting as everything was done by machinery from the time it left the trucks until it was ready to be delivered.  In this plant we saw them making the milk that was too sour to condense, into milk sugar. (My Trip to Club Congress, The Morning Call, July 3, 1929, p. 8)

No 6 CoffeeNew products were introduced into the line in 1945, including Borden’s Instantly Prepared Coffee (The Borden Company Annual Report 1945, p. 11).  These products were among those targeted for “civilian” populations, as much of the regular products had been redirected during the war years.  I had wondered at the sign (visible under the pent awning) indicating No. 6 Coffee, but possibly, this was a section of the plant that addressed coffee production in later years of operation.  Of course, that is mere speculation as no additional information was provided in the report as to which plants participated in the instant coffee market.

fire escape I cannot locate a date for closure of the plant, but found one reference to operations in 1963.  Although the opposite end of the plant is still in some sort of usage and appears to be sound, this section of the building is overgrown, and the roof has collapsed.

windowPresumably, as electricity access and refrigeration became common place, the use of canned milk, other than for cooking, fell out of fashion.  Storage of fresh milk (or ‘fluid’ milk as it was referenced in 1929) became easier, which naturally reduced the market for milk that could be stored without refrigeration.  I noted in South Africa that “long-life” milk is still a norm, as many areas have little or no access to electrical power, or no refrigerators, and require milk products that can be stored without refrigeration.

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Holmes County Courthouse

courthouseHolmes County’s Queen Anne/Romanesque courthouse in Lexington was built in 1894 (MDAH Historic Resources Inventory).  The architect was Walter Chamberlain & Co., and the builder was R. Jesty & Company.  Chamberlain was out of Knoxville/Birmingham, and Jesty from Winona via immigration from Bere-Regis, England, to Vaiden (MDAH/HRI).  Jesty also owned a lumber company and brick yard.

Since Lexington was founded specifically to serve as the seat of government for Holmes County, the town exhibits more formal planning than many other towns of similar size in Mississippi.  Its courthouse square is decidedly the symbolic (although not geographic) heart of town, and the courthouse itself is situated on a high point that can be seen from all major approaches. (J. V. O. Baughn, 2000, nomination form for Lexington Historic District National Register of Historic Places)

clock tower 2The red-brick two story structure is topped with an imposing clock tower.  Each of the four sides of the courthouse features a “tetrastyle portico” with cast iron columns (Todd Sanders, 1994, NRHP nomination form for Courthouse Complex).

The detail picture shows one of the four “square, pyramidal-roofed towers” featured on each corner of the building, with pediment “containing a bas-relief sunburst pattern” (Sanders).

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Holmes County Records Building

Sometimes, you just have to let the pictures do the talking.  Here is what I can discover about this stunning 1930 Art-Deco building in Lexington, Mississippi.

entrance 2

One-story, yellow brick building with a low-pitched hipped roof.  Centered on the facade is a recessed, double-leaf, 2-panel wood door with a 12-light transom.  Flanking this doorway, on the facade wall, are two small windows covered with decorative iron grills.  Above the windows are circular plaques containing interlocking diamond shapes.  Above the entrance is a cast-concrete decoration consisting of griffins flanking a rectangular panel.  A large addition, dating to the 1940s or 50s stands  on the SE corner of the building.  A cornice composed of geometrical shapes encircles the original building. (Jennifer V. O. Baughn, 2000, National Register of Historic Places nomination form, retrieved from Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory)

side elevation 2


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Hempstead County Courthouse in Hope, Arkansas

Hempstead County courthouse 2

The NRHP nomination form describes this courthouse as the “…finest extant example of the Art Deco style within the city of Hope, Arkansas. Its horizontal symmetrical massing, set back rooflines and stylized Art Deco ornamentation are all identifying characteristics of the style that became the dominant architectural idiom for Depression-era public works courthouses throughout the state” (Story, 1994). The county applied for PWA funds August 1, 1938. The courthouse was constructed for $200,000, through a $110,000 loan and a $90,000 grant (PWA fund granted). The central part of the courthouse is five stories, with two-story wings on the north and sound elevations. It is ornamented with recessed chevron panels, and the entrance is ornamented with concrete relief panels depicting professions and industry. The entrance also features sunburst motifs and an eagle.

Began in 1939 and completed in 1940, Architect B. W. Edwards designed the building.  Contractors were McAninch and Anderson.

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