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.

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15 Responses to East Tupelo School

  1. bronsondorsey says:

    The entrance must have been pretty spectacular before the ugly canopies were added. The brick coursing is interesting…particularly the band of basketweave pattern that is most likely aligned with the floor level.

  2. Suzassippi says:

    I think so. Overstreet buildings were all interesting in my opinion and I am partial to those depression-era designs. I could not actually even see the entrance from the sidewalk, but thanks to the excellent MDAH database, we could at least catch a glimpse of it. And I do love me some brickwork!

  3. beauregard rippy says:

    Elvis Presley attended school here!

  4. beauregard rippy says:

    The building with the interesting entrances was the original high school building in a U-shape. Later additions were constructed on the end of each wing. I think the gymnasium is original to the original school building.

  5. beauregard rippy says:

    Of further note, the Church St. Primary School in Tupelo was destroyed by the April 5, 1936 tornado and the replacement school building was also designed by architects Overstreet and Town who also designed Bailey Junior High School building in Jackson, Mississippi.

    • beauregard rippy says:

      Oops. Forgot the text. At noon on Wednesday, May 11, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Michael Fazio will present “”N.W. Overstreet and his Mark on Mississippi Architecture.” See link above for more information.

  6. Beth says:

    Well, I agree that the metal awnings are blocking a lovely entrance. I am wondering why the funds that were approved were never used.

    • Suzassippi says:

      It is possible that it was just not available in the data I can access. The last records I have were from 1940, but the 1936 buildings should have been included if they were funded. Apparently, it was not uncommon for applications to be approved, and yet communities could not contribute their share and projects were either scuttled, or completed through bonds or other options. I cannot tell you how many projects I have run across that had approval, but could not be completed for various reasons. Without going to archives in DC, I imagine most of my questions will remain unanswered. And often, all we have is information that it was initially approved, but it does not appear on the completed list, thus, it cannot be verified. Working on the Living New Deal project to document undocumented projects has given me a lot of help. No wonder there are folks who have dedicated their lives to this research–it is amazing.

  7. Pingback: East Tupelo School, part 3 | Suzassippi

  8. beauregard rippy says:

    The little brick building between the unidentified building and the cafeteria building is the two-room music room / school store building. It was a white frame building but was enclosed in brickwork fairly recently. South room was the music/piano teaching room back in the early 1960s and the north room was the school store where students could purchase snacks and school supplies.

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