Standard Oil Company, Jackson

Standard Oil Company

The Standard Oil Company building is located on the site of the old Bowman Hotel, constructed in 1857 and burned in 1863 during the Civil War (Historic Jackson Walking Tour, MDAH).  It housed a full-service gas station, to the left of the photo.

The building formally opened February 5, 1927 (Biloxi Daily Herald, February 3, 1927, p. 7).

In recent years this site was occupied by the old Wilkinson home.  This was a large building and has been moved to the State Fair Grounds as a donation by the Standard Oil Company, and put in use as a Woman’s Building.

Before the Wilkinson home was built, this corner was the site of the old Bowman Hotel, one of the famous hostelries in the South in the sixties, and the gathering place of the young blades of that time.

The new building was erected as the district headquarters for Mississippi division of the Standard Oil Company of Kentucky due to increased business.  The architect was William Edwin Glossop of Louisville, Kentucky, construction engineer of the Standard Oil Company.  The “symmetrical two-story Italian Renaissance Revival building of stuccoed masonry, with a hipped tile roof” (MDAH Historic Resources Inventory) was described by the Daily Herald:

…this building is a striking example of the combination of beauty and efficiency in the modern office building, and will be a handsome addition to Jackson’s business district.  The exterior is terra-cotta trimmed with granite, and the roofs [sic] is of red spanish tile, which gives the building prominence from a distance.  From the main entrance on Amite Street, one enters a spacious vestibule and then the corridor, with marble floors and walls.  A marble stairway leading to the second floor is located on this corridor.

Additional photographs can be viewed at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History resources page.  You can read about the roofing repair (and a bit about tile roofing in general) at Preservation in Mississippi.

Biloxi Daily Herald, 02/03/1927

Biloxi Daily Herald, 02/03/1927

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(Former) Young County Jail, 1921

old county jail and back of old post office

Tex., Graham–Jail–Young County will vote May 3 on $40,000 jail bonds; W. H. Reeves, County Judge. (Manufacturers Record Publishing Co. Volume 79, May 5, 1921, p. 162. Baltimore, MD)

Graham was sorely in need of a new jail facility as the two story stone jail constructed in the 1800s was crumbling.  The 1921 replacement was three stories, with cell blocks on the third floor and a hanging gallows, which still remains in the building.

In 1984, the old facility became the area Crisis Center.  Three cell blocks were converted to form 5 bedrooms for families, with a shared bathroom, family area, and kitchen.  Efforts have been under way for a year to raise funds for a new facility for the crisis center. (Julianne Murrah, July 29, 2014. Crisis Center on the road to a new facility: Needs have outgrown the outdated building on the Square. Graham Leader.)

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Old Biloxi Junior High School

Biloxi Junior High School

When the new Army Air Corps Base was established in Biloxi in 1941, it would impact the city schools–“thousands of children over the years to be educated in the Biloxi schools, requiring the construction of new buildings..” (Biloxi Schools: 1940-1949).  The city broke ground for construction of a new junior high school April 23, 1941, to be constructed adjacent to the high school on East Howard Avenue.  Cost was $122,676 and WPA allotment was $70,376.  John T. Collins was announced as the architect, with an anticipated occupancy within 12 months.  The design was to match the high school building.

In August 1941, more than 1000 new students were expected to enter the Biloxi schools for fall semester (Expect 1000 New Pupils at Biloxi: High School Gymnasium Will Become Junior High School; City-Wide Changes Planned, Biloxi Daily Herald, August 8, 1941, p. 5).  The school system planned to convert the gymnasium into additional classrooms for junior high school students in the eighth grade, with the possibility that seventh grade students might also have to be accommodated in the gym.

Plans were already under way at the time for a new junior high school, under the auspices of the WPA, but the project was stalled.

The WPA program for the new junior high school is not going along at as rapid a pace as might be desired and officials are now endeavoring to have this changed to a PWA program in which case the work would be contracted and completed on a schedule.  It might be ready for the second half of the school year beginning in February. (Expect 1000 New Pupils at Biloxi: High School Gymnasium Will Become Junior High School; City-Wide Changes Planned, Biloxi Daily Herald, August 8, 1941, p. 5)

By September, the project was closed for “lack of labor” (Jr. High Project Closes, Biloxi Daily Herald, Septermber 16, 1941, p. 6).

The school job has been under way several months but with the demand for skilled labor and the high wages at Keesler Field the WPA found it difficult to obtain sufficient men to rush the job to completion.

However, the stop in work would not last long, as in November, Mayor Louis Braun  and John T. Collins met with regional Defense Public Works officials, and PWA agreed to not only continue the junior high project, but to fund a sewerage disposal plant and a waterworks system (New Public Works Will Begin Soon, Biloxi Daily Herald, November 13, 1941, p. 1).  In spring of 1942, the project requested additional funds, which were granted, bringing the total cost to $170,300 (Additional Grant for Biloxi Junior High School, Biloxi Daily Herald, March 28, 1942, p. 3).  The project was completed and opened for school in September 1943.

Architect was John Thomas Collins and construction was by Tri-State Construction Company of Biloxi and Atlanta.

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Bailey Junior High School in Jackson

Bailey School

I arrived in Jackson late Friday afternoon to attend the NASW board meeting scheduled for all day Saturday.  Having given up on the likelihood that I could carve out a couple of days for Jackson archival research right now, I opted to at least shoot the images I need for the research.  I waited until almost 7 to head downtown, hoping it would cool off at least a little and that the traffic had time to abate.  Trekking down the hill from where I had to park my car, I looked to my right and exclaimed outloud, “Bailey Junior High!  I think that is Bailey Junior High!”  Also known as Bailey Middle School and Bailey Magnet School, it is a building I have longed to see, and had no idea I would walk right past it.

Bailey center

Bailey Junior High was a Public Works Administration project, completed in 1937 under Roosevelt’s New Deal Administration.  Begun in 1936, the Art Moderne building was described as

…large L-shaped monolithic poured concrete (David Preziosi, National Register of Historic Places nomination form for Belhaven Historic District).

Bailey Middle School

From the left, gymnasium, which had no openings to the front elevation; stair tower; classroom block; central entrance; classroom block; projecting auditorium.  The spectator stands constructed behind the building are visible to the left of the gymnasium in the photograph below.

spectator stands

Architect: N. W. Overstreet & A. H. Town; Contractor: W. J. McGee & Son; Relief sculturer designer: Joseph Barros; Cast stone/bas reliefs: Jackson Stone Company; Plaster/stucco: A. C. Hopton (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory).  If you have not used the awesome MDAH HRI resources, go visit at the link.  I have said this before, but of all the states in which I do New Deal research (primarily Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana in addition to Mississippi), it is the best and most complete, not to mention easiest to use, database for research about buildings.

Posted in Art Moderne, Mississippi, Modernism, New Deal Administration, Public Works Administration | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Early Church in Young County: First Baptist

Early Church


Imagine it with red brick and a bell tower!  I am wondering if the absence of a sign now means the Church of Christ has vacated the building.  It remains very neat and well-cared-for, so if it is empty, it has not been so for long.  I cannot locate any additional history beyond what is on the marker.  First Baptist has the same information on their history.


Texas Landmark

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Aunt Omer’s Hospital Revisited

Aunt Omer's hospital current 3Earlier in the spring, I posted about Aunt Omer’s hospital, first hospital in Young County, Texas.  While home recently, I looked it up.  It is even in worse shape than the Google satellite image showed.  The wood is deteriorating and in need of paint, and the fascia and eaves need to be replaced.  The lovely arched windows on the lower floor have been filled in, and the arched fanlight over the front door has been bricked over, sidelights covered, and the front door replaced with a standard (and unattractive) storm door.Omer's side elevation 2A frame addition has been added to the house on the opposite side rear, and this side appears to have extended the rock addition, as well as a small stone storage shed beyond this rear addition.  The original house ended after the second window.  According to the Young County real estate roll, market value is $33,660, which includes the land value of 7,070.  However, the date of construction is identified as 1940, which is inaccurate.  That may have been the original alterations to the main house, which dates to at least 1915.

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Sunflowers: One woman’s passion is another woman’s bane

Rio through the sunflowers

Rio through the sunflowers

I love sunflowers, have always loved sunflowers, and seeing a big ole’ stand of them just makes me smile.  Rio’s pasture is full of them right now.  A couple of nights ago, I was dispatched over to my aunt’s to pick up pea salad she had made for Mom.  I commented on the two very large sunflowers growing in her garden, and how pretty they were.  She said the birds had “planted” those for her.  I commented that I loved sunflowers and that they were beautiful, even if there by accident.  She said my grandmother told her once to never put sunflowers on her grave.  I laughed and said probably because she had to try to keep them out of the crops in the field.  Aunt Gwen said,

“Yes; she said she spent her whole life hoeing sunflowers out of the crops, and she did not want them on top of her grave.”

I suppose that would give one a different point of view–having walked down those long rows of cotton and wheat in the hot Texas sun, shielded only by a bonnet and trying to keep the sunflowers from sucking up all the moisture and nutrients from the crops that you needed just to survive another year.

I might never look at another sunflower without now thinking of Mama Rogers.  While I promise not to ever put them on her grave, I have been wanting to clip a few and bring them in to the breezeway so I can see their sunny yellow faces.

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