First Street, Delhi LA


As I mentioned earlier, I made an unexpected stop in Delhi, Louisiana last week on my travels back to Mississippi.  One never knows when making stop to a place never visited if it will be a delightful little detour or a short venture through decaying and sad little places.  Far too many of the latter these days.

I knew the second I saw this row of buildings facing the railroad tracks that I needed to pull over and park.  Yesterday’s post was about the grain elevator, and this morning, the depot is featured over on Lottabusha County.  The primary street, First, has a row of buildings along two blocks, and across the tracks, a second shorter block of buildings that face toward First Street.  Broadway intersects First, and there is a short section of historic buildings in the block near the intersection.  Over the next few days, I will explore a bit about Delhi’s downtown historic district, so stop in and see the spotlight on buildings featured over the week.

…most of the town’s historic CBD (Central Business District) survives, including the all important depot and buildings which housed general mercantile stores, a bank, a hardware store, and an automobile dealership. (from the nomination information for the National Register of Historic Places)

Tripps and Bumper to Bumper

Anchoring the corner of First and Main where it junctions with Broadway to the south is the c. 1940 Moderne styled building that curves around the corner of Main.  The information on the link does not provide additional information on the building’s use, but the design leads me to believe it might have been the automobile dealership due to the large expanse of the showroom windows.

The current Tripp’s store was a 1920s commercial building which retains transom windows and shopfront, although the NRHP description indicates the doors most likely are replacements.

Searching in the historic newspapers does not indicate any information about these locations.

Posted in Art Moderne, railroad lines | Tagged | 2 Comments

Grain Elevator, Delhi, LA

Terral Farm Service

Ever since I began reading Our Grandfathers’ Grain Elevators: The men of slip-formed concrete and the buildings they created in North America, they have taken on a new significance for me.  I always admired the structures, and many of them were benchmarks along the roads I traveled as a child in Texas–usually situated next to the railroad.  One deeply etched memory is being in Elbert during wheat harvest, sitting in the truck in the long lines as my grandfather waited his turn to unload, seeing the men at the top of the elevators working various conveyor belts that funneled the wheat into the proper storage.

Driving back to Mississippi from Texas last Sunday, I was facing that dragging sensation when you know you need to take a rest break, and I still had 4 more hours ahead.  On impulse, I pulled off at the Delhi, Louisiana exit–one I have never taken.  I drove toward downtown and found myself in Anywhere, USA–my favorite places.  I had walked across the street to get a view of the street-scape and when I turned around to survey the other side of the tracks, there she was: Terral Farm Service.

The Terral family entered the agriculture business in 1946 in Lake Providence, Louisiana, and later expanded to Delhi and opened a river service business on the Mississippi.  In 2007, the Lansing Trade Group acquired the grain elevator operations in Delhi and Wisner, although the Terrals continue to manage the grain facility and to operate the river service.  The facility is a 2.1 million bushel Kansas City Southern rail loading facility.

Posted in Elbert, landscape architecture, railroad lines | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Uptown Theater in Downtown Marble Falls


The Uptown Theater in Marble Falls, Texas opened in 1942.  The Marble Falls Post Office was relocated to the Uptown Theater Building in 1948 (Austin Sunday American Statesman, November 7, 1948).  In 1954, a mass chest x-ray outreach by the State Health Department conducted services in the Uptown.

It closed in 2003 and reopened a year later as a live entertainment venue for the next decade.  It changed hands another time or two, and most recently, has added a Sound Studio.  The Grand Re-opening is tomorrow.

Posted in Art Deco architecture, Texas | Tagged | 3 Comments

City Market, Rising Star TX

City Market

Driving through Rising Star, Texas on my way to San Antonio last week, I glanced over at a building I have seen hundreds of times in my lifetime, and suddenly, I saw it with new eyes.  My sister was driving when I exclaimed, “Can you turn around and go back?  I think the City Market is a New Deal building.”  She knows about my current research with the Living New Deal project from the University of California–Berkeley.

Star in Rising Star

The “star” in Rising Star

Notice the rock star above the window?  Me neither, until I began doing the research on the building.  How cool is that, though?

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The city market was constructed of native stone, and WPA funded $8,089 towards the $18,000 cost.  The city contributed $2,791, and 76 workers were used in the project.  Measuring 80 x 120 feet, with a concrete floor, metal roof, and 18 feet walls, the purpose was

..furnish space for the fair every fall, storage space for peanuts, and a public market for farmers’ produce in the summer. (WPA market building at Rising Star Ok’d, Abilene Reporter News, September 8, 1940, p. 39)

The market formally opened April 17, 1941 and the 36th division Army band from Camp Bowie played at the opening ceremonies.  The building remains in use for local events.

Posted in New Deal Administration, Texas | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Oxford’s first Pride parade

parade at courthouse

LOU (Lafayette-Oxford-University) held the first-ever local Pride parade Saturday afternoon.  Like any event on the Oxford Square, it was festive and well-attended.  Supporters of equality for all people lined the route and cheered when the parade marchers reached the Square from the starting point at the University.  The event was initiated by members of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University, and supported by a variety of local groups.

No personal belief, regardless of how “sincerely” held, should take precedence over citizens’ rights to equal treatment under the law, equal access to services and goods accorded to the rest of the public, and respect for the dignity and worth of the individual.

Posted in Mississippi, Oxford Square, University of Mississippi | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

East Tupelo School, part 3

Lawhon Elem entrance

Over the past few days, we have visited the original East Tupelo high school building, constructed in 1936, and toured the canning plant constructed circa 1940. We finish up the visit today with a brief look at the new class room (and current entrance) constructed in 1952.  Architect was Feemster & Connett, and renovations were completed in 1992 (MDAH Historic Resources Inventory).

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There are five classroom buildings identified in the MDAH database for Lawhon, including 2 that are not extant from circa 1930.  The gymnasium, which is of the same design as other gyms built in the late 1930s and 1940s, is not listed in the historic resources inventory, however, it is identified in the 1935 news article that published the approval to build the high school and teacher’s home.  A cafeteria c. 1955, and music rooms are listed in addition to the classroom buildings added in the late 1950s.  The unidentified building (seen from the rear, on Wayside Street) is not identified in the inventory, but the Google map view shows it as a stand-alone building located behind the 1952 elementary building.  All buildings are connected with covered sidewalks.

Posted in school houses | Tagged | 6 Comments

East Tupelo Canning Plant

Canning plant

Vocational education was a mainstay in the New Deal Administration’s school development, and there were many vocational buildings added to the Mississippi landscape through the National Youth Administration, Works Progress Administration, and Public Works Administration programs.  In 1937, an

..increase in Mississippi’s allocation of federal funds for vocational education will permit the establishment of more than 40 new vocational units in the state. (Vocational Education Expanded, Hattiesburg American, August 19, 1937, p.2)

East Tupelo Consolidated School gained two programs from that expansion.  Slated to be constructed was a Vocational Agriculture building and a Vocational Domestic Science department.  The building pictured in the photographs is identified by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as a canning plant, circa 1940.  The building bears resemblance to the vocational units constructed near the end of the programs, such as the recent post about Vardaman’s vocational building.  It appears than an addition was added to the end of the building to expand it, and original doors and windows were altered.

Canning plant additions

There is no record I can find that indicates if PWA or WPA funds were expended in the construction of this facility.  A brief notation in chapter 17 from We Remember Elvis (Moore, Harris, Presley, & Clark, 2010) refers to making toys from “metal cans like those from the WPA canning plant.”  The Daily Journal ran a “Retrospective of the 1940s and ’50s” column in 1999 that reported

March 24, 1945: East Tupelo canning plant will open May 1 to preserve surpluses from Victory Gardens. (Elkins, A. 1999.

Vocational canning plants differed from commercial because they were operated for canning products for home use, and as a method of training.  The farmer or gardener brought in the produce and canned under the supervision of the teacher of agriculture (Agricultural Education, 1936). Canning was also a focus on Home Economics education.

‘Bring canning foods’ is the constant reminder announced daily to the girls taking ninth Home Ec.  To date they have canned corn, okra, string beans, and lima beans.  The class is delighted that not a can has spoiled.  They have even mastered the art of canning with a steam pressure cooker, and have as their slogan, ‘all out for the canning front!’ (Bailey Bugle, September 30, 1942, p. 11)

The Inventory of Federal Archives in the States cumulative report through June 30, 1940 gives a glimpse into a few of the New Deal Administration programs that benefitted Mississippi:

  • 184 new construction or additions to schools
  • 200 reconstruction or improvement of schools
  • 489 new public buildings
  • 118 reconstruction of existing public buildings
  • 7, 950 bridges and viaducts constructed or improved
  • 25 new parks
  • 104 new playgrounds and athletic fields.

Many of these schools and other buildings remain in use.

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

East Tupelo School

The East Tupelo school, constructed 1936, was designed by architects N. W. Overstreet and A. Hays Town.  The building contains an auditorium and classrooms.  Sadly, the beautiful original entrance is hidden behind those metal awnings that cover the sidewalks, and the view is obscured by the trees.  You can get a tiny glimpse of it in the photograph in the lower right corner in the mosaic below. Classroom building 1

The Hattiesburg American ran an article September 30, 1935 (p. 1, 7) that East Tupelo had been awarded $45,454 for the construction of a high school, gymnasium, and teacher’s home, funded through the Public Works Administration following the approval in July 22, 1935 of the application for construction.  Earlier in the month, Biloxi Daily Herald ran the story that the state had been awarded 72 school buildings, with 8 of them in Lee County.  A total of $360,553 was intended to construct 8 buildings with 45 classrooms and accommodations, including 5 high school buildings, 2 elementary schools, and additions to an existing school (September 8, 1936, p. 5).

The files of projects approved after 1935 and completed by 1940 do not reflect Tupelo schools ever received the funding that had been previously approved.  The Inventory of Federal Archives, 1940, reported Mississippi had not completed many of the school buildings for which they had obtained approval.

Regardless of how it was funded, the Lawhon school complex remains in use, and a number of buildings have been added over the years.  Next, we will take a look at another East Tupelo school building and generate a few more unanswered questions.

Posted in Mississippi, New Deal Administration, Public Works Administration, school houses | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

The New Deal in Mississippi: Vardaman Vocational Building

Vocational bldg entrances

Saturday was perfect weather for a road trip to the sweet potato capital of the world: Vardaman, Mississippi.  The Vocational Building for Vardaman High School was constructed by the National Youth Administration in 1941.  The design was common, with a single entrance to the “classroom” area, and a larger double door entry to the “shop.”  This allowed equipment, machines, and completed projects to be moved in and out as needed.

The National Youth Administration was the work, education, and skills development program for youth between ages 16 and 25.  It operated as part of the Work Progress Administration.  Although initially, President Roosevelt did not plan to address youth, lobbying spearheaded by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt changed his mind.  Mrs. Roosevelt said:

I live in real terror when I think we may be losing this generation.  We have got to bring these young people into the active life of the community and make them feel that they are necessary.

In 1937, the NYA moved emphasis to skills development and also opened a program for African American youth.  In 1939 with the approaching war and waning unemployment, the priorities again shifted to training in defense industry.  Congress abolished the program in 1943.

A significant number of vocational buildings were constructed by the NYA in Mississippi, and several have been profiled on Preservation in Mississippi.  A few have been re-purposed in rural areas where there is no longer a school.  More have been demolished or sit empty and deteriorating.  In communities where a school is still present, such as Vardaman, the buildings are often utilized for office space, storage space, or other functions.

Posted in National Youth Administration, New Deal Administration | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Serious Tortitude

This gallery contains 13 photos.

Gallery | 5 Comments