Lamar Life Building

Lamar Life 2

The Lamar Life Building employs “a host of Gothic motifs and high crenellated clock tower” (William C. Allen, 1975, nomination form for National Register of Historic Places, Smith Park Architectural Historic District).  It was constructed in 1924-1925 as Jackson’s “first skyscraper” (Allen) and was designed by N. W. Overstreet (MDAH Historic Resources Inventory) and Sanquinet, Staats, and Hedrick of Fort Worth (Allen).  Builder was Sumner-Sollitt Company.

The 10-story building was remodeled in 1955, and in 1968, a “series of modern store fronts installed on first level” and are partially visible in the photograph below.  A two-story annex was added in 1928.  The company was named for L. Q. C. Lamar, a former Mississippi US senator, Secretary of the Interior in President Cleveland’s cabinet, and US Supreme Court Justice (Home office of Lamar Life world famous. Hattiesburg American, October 30, 1928, p. 86).Lamar Life building

Lamar Life Building

The Lamar Life Insurance building, the biggest and most awe-inspiring business structure to rear its head in all Mississippi, is now being occupied.

Erected at a cost of more than $600,000, the building is not only a credit to Jackson and to the state, but to the organization responsible for its existence…more than 5,000 persons passed through it during the three hours reception…the interior of the Lamar Life Insurance building at night looks like a Palace of the Gods. (Biggest office building taken formally over: Lamar Life Insurance accepts $600,000 structure, and holds public reception. Hattiesburg American, February 21, 1925, p. 6)

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13 Responses to Lamar Life Building

  1. Beautiful building with history and great photos!

  2. Beth says:

    I’ve always loved this building – it is like a landmark to me. I see something new in it every time I’m in Jackson. Eudora Welty’s father, Christian, worked for Lamar Life, he was a director, general manager and vice president. He was involved in the building of the Lamar Life building, but I’m not sure how. I believe that Overstreet also designed their house on Pinehurst Place.

    • Suzassippi says:

      Oh, that did it…now I will have to go back to the newspaper archives, won’t I? You know, you are the reason I finally got around to doing this post, don’t you? I found a great newspaper ad about a Mississippi company run by Mississippi men, but by then, I was tired. Guess I will get back to the drawing board.

      • Beth says:

        🙂 I wondered if I was involved. But my source is easier than archives. Eudora Welty, by Suzanne Marrs was where I confirmed my memory. I’ve seen references in other places, too, but I’m tired and can’t remember now. I’ll forward anything I can find. The last time I was in Jackson, without a dog, they were remodeling and I couldn’t go in, but I’m dying to!

  3. Suzassippi says:

    In 1955 or 1968? LOL Let me know when you are headed this way, and perhaps we can meet up–there are still places in Jackson I have not been!

    • Beth says:

      It was March 2014 and I thought it was the Lamar Life Building’s ground floor that was under renovation. I might be wrong. I’m planning a trip, will e-mail you.

  4. socialbridge says:

    What an impressive building!

  5. Suzassippi says:

    I will do my best–counting on Beth to fill us in with some history, too. 🙂

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