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.

This entry was posted in Art Moderne, Mississippi, Modernism, New Deal Administration, Public Works Administration and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Bailey Junior High School in Jackson

  1. ELMalvaney says:

    So glad you stumbled upon it, but sorry it was so blistering hot. The spring and fall afternoon light on Bailey are beautiful and make you want to stand looking at it for a long time. Such a great building!


  2. socialbridge says:

    Isn’t it great when you stumble on a place that has been in one’s mind for ages. I’m not surprised you wanted to see this building.


  3. Beauregard Rippy says:

    Great! Can you Photoshop those powerlines out? HA! Don’t you just hate those things (as far as pictures are concerned I mean. We like ’em when we want electricity and phone service!


    • Suzassippi says:

      I just think of it as “built environment.” I could have walked across the street and then across again and avoided them, but hey, it was getting late, it was really hot, and I had already trekked over a block!


  4. Beth says:

    I had a similar reaction when I passed by the building, only I wasn’t quite sure if it was what I thought it was! It is remarkable and I think the lines are very sleek and classic, almost noble!


  5. Suzassippi says:

    It also reminds me of the Ruston High School design, which also had a projecting auditorium, and later a gym, only on opposite sites.


  6. Susan Lentz says:

    I had never heard of or seen this building and it is a beauty! I am so impressed with this Art Moderne – a new label to me and another beautiful example of WPA work. I ache for the people who had to live through such hardship, but the most beautiful buildings and parks (and murals and so much else) that I run across all seem to have come through those programs. Thanks so much for this post.


    • Suzassippi says:

      You are most welcome. I agree about the hardships, and some of the best lessons I learned were from my parents and grandparents who lived through the Great Depression and were shaped by it.


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