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).
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)