Showing posts with label Living Downtown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living Downtown. Show all posts

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Lamar Disco

 Stage and dance floor, Lamar Theater/Disco, Downtown Jackson, 1979

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Signs and Omens

 Ken Stribling messaged me last night with corrections about a piece I wrote at 3:00 a.m.  What would I do without friends who can’t sleep either?  

Janie messaged me during coffee hours with some really vital information about an aspect of my Mississippi History project.  If this thing ever comes together, it’ll be due, in large part, to her input and influence.

Nearly all the boys I knew fell in love with Jane at one point or another.  If you ever saw her, you’d know why.  I did, too, but when a girl takes your friend’s heart, there are rules a gentleman must follow, or at least try to.  

I told her that I thought seeing Ruma’s photo at Hal & Mal’s was an omen.  Ruma had been the city attorney at a very young age.  She was an unusually brilliant lawyer and a valuable asset to the city.  A boy I knew loved her more than anything.  When she died so young, a lot of us felt like we lost a limb.  Jackson’s in constant trouble now.  The kind of trouble where the advice of a good lawyer could make a really big difference.  

Ruma loved Mississippi.  She died exploring it.  If I were to meet her in heaven today, I’d have to explain why I let Jackson get as bad as it is.  Maybe that’s what an omen means.  It’s a reminder of where your course lies.

Jane and I were born into a kind of bubble, a gilded age in Mississippi history.  We had very politically and socially active parents at a time when the worst of the Civil Rights stuff had passed, and Jackson’s population was growing at a pace never experienced before.  We had two very strong, locally owned banks.  Our electricity came from a company based here in Jackson.  Our clothes, our shoes, and luggage all came from stores based here in Jackson, where we’d see the owners at parties.  Millsaps was at its peak enrolment, and the academic world was falling over itself trying to copy the success of George Harmon.   The entire medical profession was amazed at the success of a bunch of nuns from Chicago who moved to Mississippi.  William Winter and Ray Mabus were governors–without a scandal in sight.  At certain parties, you were fairly likely to see Willie Morris, Eudora Welty, Michael Rubenstein, and Dale Danks wandering around.  Long-neck beer was a buck at CS’s, Cherokee, and Dutch Bar, and the Jackson Mets were Texas League Champions.  

Bubbles don’t last, though, and when bubbles break, it can break your heart.  The city of Jackson is facing the possibility of their insurance increasing by 300% because they can’t seem to manage their affairs.  My beloved Zoo is valiantly fighting to hold on, but I’m basically watching it die.  Violence in the city is at terrifying levels, and nobody in the city government seems to be taking it seriously–at least not to the level that the situation would seem to warrant, and nobody seems to have answers.  

Her children, my step-children, my nephews, and the children of nearly all my friends are asking if they should stay in Mississippi and will we be hurt if they don’t.  It’s not their job to worry about how we feel if they leave Mississippi; it was our job to make sure Mississippi is a place where they felt like they could grow–and I guess we didn’t do that.  

Some people, like Jane, tried to keep building Jackson and Mississippi a lot harder than I did, and I feel pretty bad about giving up for as long as I did.  I guess I thought maybe I was the problem, and if I stepped out, smarter and better people would take over, and that’d fix everything.  It didn’t.  The bubble around Jackson broke, and we were left naked, looking around and saying, “Oh.  I don’t think I know how to fix this.”

I think my plan was not to be here at sixty still, looking at all this.  I think part of me wishes I’d left this mortal coil when the bubble around Jackson broke.  That was a pretty shitty plan and a cowardly move on my part.  

When I look at Jackson now, I see so many green shoots.  The signs of life and growth are everywhere; we just have to provide the right environment for it to thrive.  There’s nothing that says there can’t be more than one Gilded Age.   Seeing that photo of Ruma reminded me of the path I’m on and energized me to keep pushing.  

Keep correcting me while I post parts of this project on Facebook, and keep messaging me these details that I missed.  The past isn’t the only avenue to the future, but it’s the only one I understand.  

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Third Graders in the Light House

Because I'm old, I take a diuretic to make sure my body doesn't retain water because my body works about as well as a 1982 Ford.  It's a tiny dose, and I split it in half, but even then, I still gotta pee for two hours when I take it.  

Normally I just make sure I don't have to be anywhere for two hours when I take it.  This morning, because I make bad decisions, I decided that I was a grown damn man, and I gotta go to church in 30 minutes, but I can still take this tiny little half pill and not have any problem.

I hate having to leave a room with something going on for a latrine break.  Once you've done it, there's the awkward business of retaking your seat.  About two-thirds of the way through Sunday School, it hit me.  I wasn't going to make it till the end, which I hated because it was a really good discussion about how we decide what morality is.  

After visiting the cis-gendered, handicap-enabled little boys' room across the hall from what most of my life had been the fourth and fifth-grade Sunday school, I decided there were only five or six minutes left in class, so rather than facing the walk of shame back into the room, I decided to find a spot in the sanctuary for the eleven o'clock service.

Getting settled in the sanctuary early, I got to see our youth minister working with her third graders as she explained to them the ritual of the church, presenting them with bibles.  I knew this was coming because I actually read the church bulletin email, but I wasn't really ready for the wave after wave of memory watching them produced in me.

Fifty-eight years ago, it was my turn to sit on the front row to receive a bible with my name stamped on it.  Five or six of my readers were there too.  They're much, much younger than I am, but we were third-graders together.  In the congregation were my parents and grandparents, who can't come anymore, just like Eudora Welty, Lance Goss, Ross Moore, and others, but there were some people there today who were also there fifty-eight years ago, Kay Barksdale, TW Lewis, Red Moffett and more.

None of my classmates were there.  Some are current members of Galloway, but they either attended the 8:30 service or didn't come today.  Others don't live in Jackson anymore.  Some are not even in Mississippi.  One runs the most famous restaurant in Oxford.

Membership in Galloway isn't a comfortable kind of Christianity.  As I study our history, I'm learning how many times Galloway was the steady ship in a bad storm with a hull thick enough to break the ice in uncharted waters delivering its cargo to calmer seas.  Yesterday, Galloway helped host over six thousand people for the Mississippi Book Festival.  Galloway is uniquely suited to do this, both because of its physical proximity to the Capitol but also because of its historical connection to Mississippi writers.

Most of the people in my Sunday School have Ph.D., MD,  or JD after their name.  One is a judge, and one is the first boy to become a Rhode's Scholar from Millsaps.  My daddy always thought he'd be governor one day.  That never happened, but he did fabricate governors all over the country.  He'd probably object to my choice of verb here, but if you're in his party and you want to win an election, he's your guy.  We're readers.  We read in several languages and look for things to read to challenge our worldview.  I can't think of a congregation better suited to the broad spectrum of thought that makes up the Mississippi Book Festival.  

Christianity is ancient.  It is the conduit of so many of our cultural threads going back through the millennia.  It connects us to all the wonders and beauty and pain and regret of the centuries.  Galloway acts as a light-house through time.  There are rough seas ahead, there were rough seas in the past, but Galloway provided a beacon then, and it provides a beacon now.  

It hasn't been easy forging a culture in this country, particularly in Mississippi.  We've made horrible, painful mistakes, but if you build your house on solid ground, you can weather any storm.  Matthew and Luke both recount the parable of building on solid ground.  

Galloway is built on an ancient site.  Did you know there was a graveyard underneath it?  A small plot with the mortal remains of some of Jackson's earliest residents, the sanctuary was built over it.  The graves and the gravestones still stand undisturbed, save for decades and decades of organ music.  We are a light-house to history.  Their history sits with us every Sunday.

Generations and generations of eight-year-olds have been folded into and made a part of our congregation.  There's so much more to it than just accepting the Lord and learning a few bible verses.  At eight years old, you become part of something ancient.  You're eight, so you don't understand this, but the thread of culture going back to the pharos continues through you.

My diuretic stuck again, and I couldn't finish Cary's sermon, but I listened to it on Youtube.  

Driving home, I thought, the world is a confusing, sometimes frightening place.  Bringing eight-year-olds into this ancient battle seems like such a strange thing to do, almost cruel, but it's an ancient and honorable ritual.  Standing up in front of your parents' friends and accepting the gift of a book seems like an odd thing to do, but it's the start of something.  It's the entrance into something very ancient that struggles to find the good in life and fight for it and fight for you as you fight for others.  You're eight, but now you're a light-house keeper.  Even if you don't stay here.  Even if you move far away and transfer your membership out of Galloway, you take some of us with you, and we keep some of you with us.  Don't be surprised if you look at your books when you're sixty and say, "Wow, that's my third-grade bible."  

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Smith Park Fence

In the original 1820's map for Jackson, roads were set up on a square grid pattern, starting with the intersection of Capitol Street and State Street in front of the old Capitol building and extending west toward Raymond and Clinton.  Livingston Park, the future site of the Battle of Jackson, was on the Western border of the city.   The northern border was the highway we now call Woodrow Wilson, with the farm that became the Jackson College for Negros and then Millsaps College on the very northernmost border.  The state Sanitarium, now UMC, was just outside of the city limits.

In the original plan for the city, every few squares on the grid were left green to beautify the city.  While done with pure intention, this plan irritated business owners because people would use these green patches to pasture their mules and cows.

Just before the Civil War, considering its position near the Methodist Cemetary (now Galloway Sanctuary) and one of the state's only Catholic churches, a furniture dealer named James Smith donated $100 to erect a castiron fence around one of the greenspace parks to keep the mules and cows out, which was later downgraded to a wooden fence when future donations didn't materialize.  In gratitude for this enormous sum of money, the city named the park after him, and it is today still called Smith Park.  

I've tried several times to find photographs of the fence before it was torn down and maybe some information on why it was torn down, without much luck.  Smith Park occupies a significant space in Mississippi history.  Some of it isn't talked about very often because, for some time, it was one of the only places where gay men could meet, more or less in secret, without considerable harassment, although there was some.  

One of the problems I have with the whole "give up on Jackson" crowd is they'll be losing so much remarkable and varied history.  There was about a twenty-year period, starting in the mid-70s, when business leaders in Jackson began tearing down sites that were significant to the civil rights movement, replacing them with modern buildings, and completely repurposing the site.   This is why you have so many "Civil Rights Trail" signs where there is no building.

All of the men who made these decisions are gone now.  Most of them were pretty legendary.  They believed the best way for Jackson to get beyond the racial strife of the sixties was to get beyond it and act, almost like it never happened.  While I respect their efforts and their point of view, I don't believe that's the best course.  The past creates the present, and understanding the past, all of the past, the good and the bad, is our best bet at creating a better future.

You don't see a lot of people grazing mules and cows in downtown Jackson anymore.  Understanding that they once did and that it was something of a problem helps us fill in the blank spaces on our historical portrait and keeps us mindful that this is a living place with a living history that we should keep alive.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Where Do The Children Play?

Our mom's generation tells us about how they would put on starched cotton dresses with half a dozen petticoats and white kidd gloves and go shopping downtown with their friends.  Everything they could ever dream of was in three or four stores, and their entire school, which was the entire town, would have hamburgers and milkshakes and cokes at the Woolco lunch counter, and she'd talk about how great it was, and it was great.

My generation tells their children about how they put on the coolest stone-washed denim mini dress, half a bottle of aqua net, and twist beads and went with their friends to the mall.  Their entire school was there, and the kids from all the other schools and we'd meet in the foodcourt and have those corndogs they make in front of you and Orange Julius, and then maybe go play a video game, and we'd talk about how great it was, and it was great.

Our kids talk about how they'd call each other on Skype but not turn the camera on because their hair looked like shit, and they were wearing the same hoodie they wore the night before, and they'd log into Amazon and see what the prime deals were.  When we asked why they never go out, they said the mall is gross, and it's not safe downtown, and they'd talk about how shit it is, and it is shit.

We could have made a world for them where the malls were cooler than ever and shopping downtown was beautiful and safe for everybody.  We could have done it, but we didn't.  We tried to make a world like that, but your mom had that operation, and maybe I had a couple of affairs, and it's not our fault anyway; it's the woke liberals and the conservative fascists.  You don't know how hard it was to raise yu kids, and I fucking hate my job, but I did it for you! It's George Soros and Bill Clinton and Donald Trump--they did this; I was just trying to live my life, man; nobody told me it was gonna be like this.  Nobody told me it was up to me!

When you get my age, you start looking around, and that guy in Washington was in your pledge class.  That guy in the governor's mansion was on your brother's baseball team.  That chairman of the bank used to try and call your sister, and you took his ex-girlfriend to the prom.  We made this world.  It wasn't somebody else.  It was us.

Every day, I talk to guys who want to blame somebody else, some other party, some other culture, or some other part of the country.  It's a lot easier to sleep at night when you think it was somebody else who did this.  It's a lie, though; we did this.  

Our kids are graduating high school, graduating college, and some are hitting that thirty-year goalline.  Pretty soon, we'll be handing the ball off to them.  They won't know we're handing the ball off to them because you never realize you were carrying the goddamn ball until you're sixty and look back on what happened in your life.  This is the world we made.  This is the world they'll make.  Maybe they'll do it better.  

Oh, I know we've come a long way
             We're changing day to day
                         But tell me, where do the children play?

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Mississippi Mummy

In the 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History purchased an extensive collection of Native American artifacts from Colonel Brevoort Butler.

Included in these artifacts was one item that was clearly not of Native origin, an Egyptian mummy said to be a princess.

For decades the mummy was displayed in the Old State Capitol Building, becoming a much-loved attraction and source of local pride that Mississippi should have such an exotic item.

In 1969, Gentry Yeatman, a local medical student interested in archeology, asked the museum for the "human remains" to study for evidence of disease.

Permission was granted to remove the mummy and send it to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for an autopsy, where radiological examination showed quite a surprise!  

Inside the mummy were a few animal ribs and several square nails holding together a wooden frame. He discovered the "mummy" primarily consisted of paper-mâché, including German newsprint and pages from an 1898 issue of the Milwaukee Journal.  Our prized artifact was a forgery!

The fake mummy is 
The Mummy and the X-Ray
more famous now than ever and considered a prized possession as an artifact of Mississippi Folklore.  The Old Capitol Museum often displays the Dummy Mummy around Halloween.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

West Capitol Historic District

Application for Inclusion in the
National Register of Historic Places

Oct. 30, 1979
West Capitol Historic District
Jackson MS
Original can be seen here

The West Capitol Street Historic District is primarily commercial in character, but includes as well a railroad depot, parking garage, and two office buildings. Almost all buildings are brick. Architectural styles include Queen Anne, Sullivanesque, Colonial Revival, Art Deco, and Spanish Colonial Revival. Party-wall commercial structures line the north side of West Capitol Street for one block and the south side for one-and-one-half blocks. The majority of buildings on the north side of Capitol Street which is the main, east-west thoroughfare in Jackson, were constructed by 1900 and form a unified row of low-scale structures in sharp contrast to the adjacent new Federal Building. Unique architectural features of these low-scale buildings include the Palladian facade treatment as well as the original storefront and interior of Bourgeois Jewelry Store at 220 W. Capitol St., the Queen Anne-style facade and original cast-iron columns of 218 W. Capitol St., the intact Colonial Revival facade with multipaned transom incorporating the Cohen Brothers store name at 224 W. Capitol St., and the pilastered facade treatment of three other "buildings In'the row. Buildings on the south side of Capitol Street were constructed later, the earliest ca. 1895 with the majority between 1904 and 1923. These structures retain a higher scale, ranging from three to twelve stories. Architecturally outstanding structures on this side of Capitol Street include the Dennery Building, with corbeled drip molds and Queen Annestyle cornice, the Sullivanesque McCleland Hardware Building, and the Colonial Revival King Edward Hotel (entered on the National Register in 1976). Completing a square block on the south side of Capitol Street is the Standard Life Tower, a sixteen-story Art Deco skyscraper constructed in 1929, together with a one-story Art Deco commercial row and a two-story parking garage constructed in 1926. Extending north to Mill Street, the district includes several significant Colonial Revival-style buildings: the two-story train depot constructed in 1925, when the elevated railroad tracks which form the western boundary of the district were built, the Noble Hotel, ca. 1908, a three-story building located on Mill Street across from the depot, and a one-story commercial building, ca. 1915, originally constructed as a car showroom. Interesting street features of the district include three sidewalk decorations, a mosaic walkway with "Bon-Ton" spelled in tiles at 209-211 W. Capitol Strand two Art Deco sidewalk motifs in front of the two entrances to the Standard Life Tower, which match decorative panels of the building's exterior.

The most obvious architectural changes to the district include the loss of decorative parapets at 226-230 W. Capitol St. and the Bon-Ton Building, 209-211 W. Capitol St., and the loss of architectural features on other buildings in the district from cladding or infilling of facades. Original wooden canopies have been removed or replaced with aluminum. The Millsaps building, constructed in 1913, was originally six stories high but was raised to nine stories in 1945. Despite these changes the district retains much of its former character, especially when contrasted with the surrounding area, which is currently undergoing demolition and new construction.

The West Capitol Street Historic District contains the earliest intact commercial facades in Jackson and some of the finest Art Deco architecture in the state of Mississippi. Reflecting the earlier importance of West Capitol Street as a turn-of-the-century commercial center and the subsequent growth and development of the capital city in the 1920s, the district is vitally important as a visual record of the commercial history of Jackson.

Prior to 1885 there was little commercial activity on West Capitol Street, the main business center being located near the Old Capitol on State Street and extending down East Capitol Street only as far as President Street. Only a few commercial establishments served the old railroad depot located where the present one stands, two hotels, a drug store, and a dry-goods store. Of these early commercial structures only the dry-goods store, at 232 W. Capitol St., retains a resemblance to its original appearance. By 1890 Jackson seemed to have recovered from the Reconstruction period. The population had increased and new houses were being built northwest and south of the old section of town. A newly established board of trade had begun to attract new industry to the city. In 1899 Jackson got its first electric street car. Thus new markets and improved transportation contributed to the new business activity on West Capitol Street so that by 1900 brick commercial blocks ha.d been constructed on the north side of the street as far east as 214, and the 200 block entirely completed by 1925.

Alfred Bourgeois first located his jewelry store in 1886 on South State Street. Several years later he moved his business to West Capitol Street and by 1900 had built the brick building at 220, just west of his shop's relocation. This store has remained in the Bourgeois family for almost eighty years and according to the owners is the oldest continuously owned family business in the state. Containing its original cherry display cases and ceiling of German steel pressed in a floral pattern, it was the first completely fireproof building to be constructed in the area and the floor is said to be the first tile floor in the state (Jackson: Bourgeois Building, Hinds County, Statewide Survey of Historic Sites, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson). S. P. McRae located his first store at 216 W. Capitol St. in 1902. McRae's is now the largest locally owned department-store chain in Mississippi. By the 1920s he had moved east on the same block to 200-202, where the store remained for more than thirty years. Also located on this block, at 232, were the law offices of prominent black attorneys Beadle and Howard. Perry Howard later moved to WasM'ngEon and became leader of Mississippi 1 s "Black and Tan" Republicans (Carroll Brinson, Jackson/A Special Kind of Place [Jackson, Miss.: City of Jackson, 1977], p. 211).

Development of the south side of West Capitol Street was slower, with construction not being completed until 1929. The commercial block which now incorporates 209-215 W. Capitol St. was one of the first commercial blocks on the south side of the street and housed a bank, dry-goods store, and grocery. Part of the building later became the Bon-Ton Cafe, one of Jackson's fanciest restaurants. The Dennery Building, constructed by 1900, is outstanding for its upper floors, articulated in the Queen Anne commercial style, and its first floor, which has been compatibly modernized. The four-story McCleland Hardware Building at 217 W. Capitol St., one of the few Sullivanesque structures remaining in Jackson, was built in 1904. It remained the home of the McCleland Hardware Company until 1926, when the building became the Montgomery Ward Department Store. Constructed in 1913, the Millsaps Building, at 200-205 W. Capitol St., was the first home of the Jackson State National Bank. Rapid development of the remainder of the block began in 1923 with the completion of the King Edward Hotel, considered at the time to be the "most modern in the country" ("The New Edwards Hotel to be Opened Saturday; Most Modern in Country," Clarion-Ledger, [Jackson, Miss.], Dec. 28, 1923).

In 1925 the present depot was constructed and the hazardous tracks which crossed Capitol Street at ground level were elevated. In 1926 the classically detailed garage on the corner of South Mill and Roach streets was built for the R. E. Hines Motor Company as a Chrysler dealer showroom, and in 1929 the Art Deco Tower Building was constructed by the Enochs, who owned the King Edward Hotel. Constructed as a monument to the family who had acquired wealth in the lumber industry, the Tower was built in five and one half months, with twenty-four hour shifts stopping only on Sundays (Stephen Rassenfoss, "Construction Raises Capitol (Property Values," Clarion-Ledger [Jackson, Miss.], real estate section, July 29, 1979, p. 1).

Designed by Jackson architect, Claude Lindsley, the Tower Building is one of only three Art Deco skyscrapers in the state and is outstanding for both its interior and exterior detailing. Utilizing the typical set-back design the building also displays decorative panels with geometric motifs which are highlighted with 14K gold leaf. This motif is replicated (minus gold leaf) in the sidewalks in front of both entrances. The interior hallway is particularly lavish utilizing a variety of materials and geometric forms. Linking the skyscraper with some of the lower scale buildings in the district is the 1-story building just north of the Tower which employs a different Art-Deco motif in each bay. Visually, the transition from low-scale to high-rise is not abrupt. Buildings on the south side of West Capital Street which vary from two to nine stories make the transition between the 2-story buildings on the north side of West Capitol and the Standard Life Tower on Pearl Street.

Structures Within the District
Abbreviations at the end of each entry are "P. S." for Primary Significance, "C. S." for Contributing Significance, "M" for Marginal Signifiance, and "I" for Intrusion.

1: Smith-Pate Auto Company Building
(126 N. Mill St.)
Ca. 1915
Colonial Revival style. One-story three-bay brick commercial building. Modillioned cornice of concrete. Concrete diamond-shaped frieze ornamentation. (P. S.)

2: Commercial Building
(118 N. Mill St.)
Ca. 1930
One-story 2xl-bay brick commercial building with hinged brick corners and original corrugated metal canopy. (C. S.)

3. Noble Hotel
(108-114 N. Mill St.)
Ca. 1908
Colonial Revival. Three-story 4x2-bay brick building with metal block cornice. Concrete cornice at first-floor level. (P. S.)

4. Union Depot
(W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1925
Colonial Revival. Two-story 5x6-bay brick building with classical ornamentation in concrete. Round-arched windows with radiating muntins. One-story addition on west side above which is constructed elevated railroad tracks. One-story gable-roofed building attached at rear. (P. S.)

5. Gulf Finance
(236 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1940
Two-story 2x10-bay commercial building clad with concrete. Enamels-paneled first floor. Casement windows. (M.)

6. Capitol News
(232-234 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1928
Spanish Colonial Revival. Two story four-bay commercial building of concrete block. Tile roof. Round-arched windows. Urns and corbel table detail. Storefronts altered but one rope-turned column still visible. (C. S.)

7. Commercial Block
(226-230 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1885, altered ca. 1910 and 1945
Two story ten-bay commercial building with concrete-clad pilastered second floor and horizontal band of marbelized glass between floors. (C. S.)

8. Cohen Brothers
(224 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1895, altered ca. 1918
Colonial Revival. Two-story two-bay brick commercial block. Modillioned cornice on first and second floors. Raised brick rectangular enrichment with concrete corner blocks. Multipaned transom with "Cohen Brothers" in center. (P. S.)

9. Commercial Block
(222 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1895 with later alterations
Two-story two-bay brick commercial building with patterned brick frieze to match 220 W. Capitol St. Recessed rectangular panels above windows. Rosette tie-rod caps. Aluminum panel covers transom area. (C. S.)

10. Bourgeois Jewelers
(220 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1900
Colonial Revival. Two-story three-bay brick commercial block with Palladian facade treatment and patterned brick facade decoration. Leaded glass transoms. Original interior. (P. S.)

11. Commercial Block
(218 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1897
Queen Anne. Two-story four-bay brick building with bracketed iron frieze and bracketed window lintels. Rectangular ventilator panels with metal grates. Original cast-iron columns. Date 1897 in frieze. (P. S.)

12. Lott Furniture Co.
(216 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1895, altered 1951
Two-story six bay brick commercial building with glass block windows. Original openings altered. Original decorative grates remain. (C. S.)

13. Commercial Block
(210-212 W. Capitol St.)
Before 1885, storefront ca. 1945
Two story four-bay commercial building. Concrete infilled facade, but shape of original cornice still apparent. Ornate cast-iron lintels visible. Original rosette tie-rod caps. (P. S.)

14. Commercial Block
(206-208 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1910
Classical Revival. Two story six-bay brick building with pilastered upper story. Metal modillioned and denticulated cornice. Corbeled brick above pilasters. (P. S.)

15. Commercial Block
(200-204 W. Capitol St.)
Constructed as two buildings: 202-204 (western section), four bays constructed ca. 1910; 200 (eastern section), two bays constructed ca. 1915. This building,now clad with concrete, once matched 206-208 W. Capitol St. Pilasters remain but cornice has been removed. (C. S.)

16. Dennery Building
(113-117 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1898
Queen Anne. Two-story 5x5- bay brick commercial block. Bracketed cornice. Windows set in recessed bays. Raised brick drip molds with corbeled ends. (P. S.)

17. Commercial Block
(119 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1925
One-story former Spanish Colonial style recently remodeled to "Old Town" appearance with brick veneer facade, round arched windows, and metal grill work. (I.)

18. Mayflower Cafe and Thomas 1 Great M. Store
(121 W. Capitol St.)
East section of building ca. 1898, west section ca. 1901. Two-story 4xll-bay brick building with stucco front ca. 1945. Original windows with segmental-arched heads and raised brick drip molds as well as corbeled cornice remain on west elevation. Art Moderne canopy with neon enrichment. Art Deco neon sign. (C. S.)

19. Millsaps Building
(203 W. Capitol St.)
First through six floors constructed 1913. Seventh through ninth floor added 1945. Nine-story 3x7-bay brick commercial building with paired windows recessed between pilasters. Corbeled cornice. Original classical feeling of building altered more toward Art Deco when building raised. Original rusticated concrete and console keystone remain visible on one section of the first floor. (C. S.)

20. Boston Investment Co.
(207 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1913.
One-story two-bay commercial building with stepped parapet roofline clad with marble panels. Original facade treatment was probably same as first floor of the Millsaps Building. (M.)

21. Bon-Ton Cafe
(209-211 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1890, later alterations
Two-story brick commercial building. Upper stories covered with enamel panel. Tile sidewalk reads "Bon-Ton Cafe" (I.)

22. Liberty Loans
(215 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1890, later alterations
Two-story commercial building with concrete-clad upper story, enamel paneled first floor. (I.) 23. McCleland Hardware Building (217 W. Capitol St.): Ca. 1904. Sullivanesque four story eight-bay brick commercial building with corbeled cornice and curved, stepped parapet. Windows recessed in four-story arcaded bays. (P. S.)

24. King Edward Hall
(221 W. Capitol St.)
Ca. 1960
One-story three-bay building with recessed entrances at end bays. Mosaic tile on first floor. Concrete solar screen on second floor. (I.)

25. King Edward Hotel
(Capitol at Mill Sts.)
Ca. 1923
Colonial Revival. Entered on the National Register in 1976. (P.S.)

26. Garage
corner of Mill and Roach Sts.: 1526
Classical detailing. Three story brick and concrete garage with large rear addition. Central bay decorated with pilasters, topped with curved parapet. Scrolled ornament adorns doorway. Corner pilasters with geometric designed. Horizontal bands of concrete divide the floors. (P. S.)

27. Standard Life Tower
(127 S. Roach St.)
Ca. 1929
Art Deco sixteen-story 5x8-bay skyscraper of concrete and brick. First two floors are designed in low scale with setback battlements and stepped window openings. The main block of the building rises from center of the two-story section. Setback design. Enamel spandrel panels on twelveth and thirteenth floors, which utilize Art Deco motif and match sidewalk pattern at entrances. Art Deco lobby intact. (P. S.)

28. Commercial Block
(111-121 S. Roach St.)
Ca. 1929
Art Deco one-story six-bay commercial block. Each bay recessed between pilasters and decorated in a different Art Deco motif. Parapeted roofline of each bay also articulated in an individual Art Deco design. (P. S.)


Jackson City Directory. Jackson, Miss.: Tucker Printing Co., 1922, 1925.

McCain, William D. The Story of Jackson. Jackson, Miss.: J. F. Hyer Publishing Co., 1953.

Maloney, T. J. Maloney's Jackson, Mississippi, City Directory. Memphis: Interstate Publishing Co., 1904, 1907.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Jackson. Statewide Survey of Historic Sites. Hinds County. Jackson: Bourgeois Building, Street scenes.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Jackson. Subject File. Jackson: Capitol St.
Rassenfoss, Stephen. "Construction Raises Capitol Property Values," Clarion Ledger [Jackson, Miss. ], real estate section, July 29, 1979.

Sanborn Insurance Maps of Jackson, Miss., for the years 1895, 1900, 1904, 1909, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1948. New York: Sanborn Map Co. Originals located at Mississippi State University Library, Special Collections, Starkville, Miss.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Movie Nicknames For Jackson Buildings

Ghostbusters Building
For years, Jacksonians nicknamed the Standard Life Building, the "Ghostbusters Building" after the 1984 comedy.  In the film, they used a real apartment building at 55 Central Park West, NY, that does have a reasonal resemblance to the Jackson structure, mainly because they both utilize the same architectural style and were built the same year (1929). 

The "Real" Ghostbusters Building
The Jackson Ghostbusters Building
I always thought the SLB looked more like the Empire State building, with a less elaborate finial.

Darth Vader Buildings
Some locals have taken to calling the City Centre development on Lamar St. (formerly the Milner and Petroleum Buildings) the "Darth Vader" buildings for their black glass and chrome exteriors.

Darth Vader Buildings

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vintage View of Downtown Jackson

This image is from a post card circa 1940 showing a good view of Capitol and Pearl streets with the Heidelberg Hotel in the lower right in tan, the King Edward Hotel in the top right in red and the Standard Life building to the left.

The Heidelberg Hotel was torn down in 1977, but many of these other structures still exist.

These post cards generally begin with black and white photographs with colors added in the re-printing process.

Official Ted Lasso