Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way
Walnut Room? This way, please.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sissy's list of honey-do's for a rainy Saturday morning

My sister asked baby brother to replace a gas connector valve in preparation to get ready for winter and needing heat again in the house.  He and dad worked together for years in their construction business, so there is not much he does not know how to do.  Not having known this in advance however, he had no work clothes with him when they came for the weekend.  He went out to the shop, and found an old pair of Dad's discarded work boots--Dad is size 12 and Russ is size 7.5--pretty amusing.  He found an old pair of Dad's work pants in the shop's rag bin, and I found an old long sleeved shirt.  That was necessitated by his learning he was going to have to crawl under the house--something no one likes to do, but certainly not wearing shorts and sandals.
He needed someone to aim the light where he could see enough to crawl in and around a foundation wall to get to where he needed to go, so I drew short straw.  I was wearing an old pair of Mom's shoes, and still had on my pajama bottoms when he decided he needed help.  It had rained heavily all morning, so everything was wet and muddy.  I was trying to keep peace with the small spider next to the foundation, promising him if he did not mess with me, I would not mess with him.
It only took a minute, but turning around and crawling back out was much more difficult.  Crawling under houses was his least favorite part of their work, and it hasn't gotten any better in the years since he changed professions.
We declared the shirt beyond even Tide and Shout, and relegated it to the shop's rag bin as well.  I had finally located the tree loppers to get the branches off the side of the house, and went out in a break in the rain to finish that task, when suddenly it started pouring again.  I was wet already, so it just seemed to make sense to go ahead and finish.  I was putting the tools away when bro came out to the shop to ask me why I was out in the rain. Well, it wasn't raining when I started this job!  However, since you are out here wet, too, will you help me reattach Rio's feed bin to the fence?

Mom and Tinka have gone to bed; now if I can just get Dad to go, I am headed that way myself.  The Gene Autry marathon this evening has zapped the rest of my energy for this day!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Texas Drought

 Lake Hubbard Creek, between Breckenridge and Albany, has served the area for water supply ever since it was built.  I can't really recall what year that was, but I have been driving across the bridge for years between Graham and Abilene.  In normal years, the water would be all the way to the top of the piers, almost to the road bed.  Year after year, as the lake has dropped lower, the boat docks got lower until now you can't put a boat in the water any more.
 The slight gray-green between the water and the tree line used to be water, and all of the area up to the fence was lake.  I have no idea how deep the lake actually might be at this time, but from the looks of this picture, only a few feet.
 On this side of the bridge, the water extended up to the tree line, and filled all of the area between the small rise next to the mesquite tree.
Cattle are grazing where the water used to be.  Not only has the recreational aspect ended (it was a big skiing and fishing lake), I keep wondering where all the towns get their drinking water...and wondering when it will end.  If you want to read an excellent book about Texas drought consequences, read Elmer Kelton's West Texas fiction book, The Time it Never Rained.  I think it was probably his best work ever.

Friday chores done, ready for a road trip!

 Tinka, dad, and I were sitting out on the deck last night, waiting for my brother to arrive.  My cousin Billy Bob (yes, that is really his name) drove up instead.  Billy lives a few miles down the road from Mom and Dad, and he drops by occasionally, though this is the first time I have seen him in several years--actually, 8 years as we were here at the same time for Dad's 80th birthday.  I finally had to go inside to fix some supper as Mom had not eaten since her "lunch" at 3:30.
We were just finishing up when they walked in the door.  We had to look at pictures of grandkids, and hear the stories about the new dog, Oscar.  They left their 3 dogs home with a sitter, as Tinka does not play well with others.  She is used to being the queen of the house and doesn't always like human visitors.

I woke early this morning, and since I have to head up to Abilene today and see Rand's dad, I got up and went out to feed.  Rio and Jenny were at the gate this morning.  Once he knows I am here, he knows he gets fed earlier than usual.  It's kind of nice to have someone depend on you, and know there is consistency when you are there.  I mean he gets fed regularly, twice a day, but usually later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon, as those are the hours Bert is here.  Jenny took her treat from my hand this morning, and even allowed a little nose rub before I dumped her feed.  Simple pleasures--for me, maybe Jenny, hard to know if she cares.  Rio, on the other hand, is my boy and he loves his petting and hand feeding treats.

I got the saw from the shop and went out to saw off a few dead limbs that are hanging too low by the shop and keep threatening to poke me in the eye if I am not paying attention.  I have a few more to do, but I settled for those in the pathway this morning.

I need the shower in the back bathroom, but my bro and his wife are sleeping in the back bedroom, so I am trying to be patient until everyone else gets up.  And now, I hear folks laughing and the coffee pot rattling, so someone is in the kitchen!  I have to get ready and on the road to Abilene for my other half of the family duties, and about an hour of New Deal research on a couple of places there.  Better get to it, daylight's burning.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

On being a farm girl in West Texas wind and sun

 I love feeding Rio and Jenny when I am home.  I just had to whistle once this morning for him to come in from the pasture and head to the gate for his treat, then over to the food bin.
While Jenny took her treat last night--and it was the first time she had seen me since the first of August--she would not take it from my hand this morning.  I was being patient, waiting her out when it rolled out of my hand and that ended patience.

One of the chickens squawked under his feet, and Rio raised up startled.  Not much can distract him at feeding time, generally speaking.

We woke earlier this morning than usual for Dad of late, but still later than in all the years before Dad got sick.  I went out to get the paper, take Tinka out, and feed while Dad shaved.  It was still cool and pleasant, and boded a beautiful day.

 I thought about walking over to the pasture later in the day, but the day and its errands took too much time for me to make it before I ran out of energy!  Pharmacy run, grocery store run, mail run, and coffee run.
It has been mine and Dad's habit for years when I came home to sit on the deck in the morning for coffee.  We just had them re-stained and sealed before winter rains and ice got here, and got some new heavy, metal deck chairs.  I was in my pajamas still, but Dad needed his wrap--he said he was cold!
I have not been home at this time of year in all the years since we moved to Mississippi, always having to come during semester breaks and spring break, so I was surprised to see the front yard full of these red "rain" flowers.  I don't know what they are, perhaps some kind of day lily, but we always called them rain lilies because they usually bloomed right after a rain in the early fall.

Now it's evening, so we do our sitting on the east deck out of the sun.  The wind has been blowing like crazy all day, but it is slowing down a bit now and as it is cooling off in temps, it is pretty nice out here.  I am loving this wi-fi, and it has been great to be able to deal with work issues today, as well as keep up  with my sister and brother.  My brother and his wife are on their way in right now, and will be here through Sunday.  These days, we never know when we can all get here at the same time, and it has meant so much to Mom and Dad that we have been able to do it twice in the last year.  When they found out I was coming back in this week, they decided to take off and come for the weekend.  My sis will be back tomorrow night, along with my niece, and a couple of my cousins are supposed to be here.  We plan a simple meal and some family time.  There is nothing my dad likes better than all of his kids around, and if he could, his grandkids, too.  That doesn't happen much these days, but we do the best we can.

Dad is getting his strength back, and this morning I went in the kitchen to see him dancing a few steps with the day-time caregiver/nurse.  She has been good for Dad and can get him to do things no one else could--eat regularly, stay hydrated, shave, keep his legs and feet elevated.  She's been doing this work for a long time, and she is very good at it.  We are fortunate to have her, grateful to have her, and blessed that she loves working here.  We hope as soon as Dad recovers fully from this last bout that they won't need the night time help any more, but one thing about it, as long as they do, one of us will be here to do it.  My sister is retired, and lives a few miles away, and since she lost her husband last fall, has been the primary one to do everything.  That's the main reason I have come down so often since last fall when Dad got sick, to give her some break time to see her kids and grandkids and not have to do everything all the time.  My sister-in-law will come the last week of October to give her a break since I cannot come that week.

I am stocking up on items to just leave here so it is easier to pack and travel, especially for the times I fly, like this time and last time.  These days with the airlines charging you for everything (I am fully expecting soon to have to pay for the oxygen mask" in the event of a loss of cabin pressure" and it drops down), and soon, we'll probably have to pay for a carry-on if it is more than a 3x5 inch handbag.  I am trying to get it set up so I can literally pick up my purse and laptop and camera, all in one easy to carry tote bag, and not have to bring anything else with me.  That is especially important on the DFW to Wichita Falls leg of the flight, where we are on a "Regional jet" and the overhead bins will hold a wash cloth if it is tightly rolled.

That's right, American Airlines, I do still have my sense of humor, and you cannot take it away from me, not even when I get the personalized TSA pat down again in Wichita in full view of the entire airport because my new knee joint sets off the metal detector...and I remind you, that I told you it would.  But hey, I have been x-rayed and ya'll have seen all my business in Memphis already, right?  I love the world we live in today.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

If it's Wednesday, I must be in Texas

While it still makes for a long day to fly from Memphis to Wichita Falls, it is a sight better than driving 14 hours.  I left Memphis this morning at 11, right on time and whizzed into Wichita Falls and picked up my rental car.  When I said I would be in Graham visiting my parents, not staying in a local hotel, the rental clerk said, "Wow, there has been a lot of excitement in Graham this week!"  Really, why?

"You know that drive-in movie contest where someone was giving away 5 digital projectors across the US?  Graham drive-in won one of them."  Well, what a surprise--I voted for them!  Spent a lot of date nights at that drive-in growing up.

There are not that that many drive-in movie theatres still operating in the nation.  Films will no longer be available, and if the theatre does not convert to digital, which is hugely expensive, they will have to close.  Apparently, the Graham community rallied to save the drive in, and it will be able to remain open.  That's always a nice little surprise for your home town.

I made the hour drive from the airport to here in time to go out and feed Rio and Jenny.  Tinka and I have been outside about 5 times since I got here.  Dinner is over, dishes are done, and I am loving having the Internet right here on the sofa instead of having to drive to the grocery store deli!  That was my splurge for me when I have to come so often now, and for my sister since she is staying here so much.  It was really about work, and being able to be here and still manage my work responsibilities, but I confess to being very pleased all the same!

Pictures!  Research!  Blogging!  Emailing!  Oh, and Work!  All for only $65 a month for the next 2 years. The things we won't do these days, and thank goodness, I can!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bear Creek Mound



Natchez Trace Parkway, North route from Tupelo to North Terminus, between Franklin and Nashville.  (Note: We did not see Rayna James.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hotel Aloft--like being on the Starship Enterprise

 I have fallen in love with techno, modernism, futuristic--anything clean-lined and simple.  After years of loving shabby chic, country, French rustic, I want metal, wood, light, and bare essentials.  But for now, that's just "the impossible dream."  When I was looking for hotels in Franklin though, given our last minute decision to zip up there for the weekend (zip being a euphemism given we went up on the Natchez Trace at 50 mph after taking 2 hours to get to the Trace when it should have taken 45 minutes, and then taking 7 hours to get home on what should have been a 4.5 hour return, but hey, you need to stop and smell the roses on your 32nd anniversary), I was faced with a choice of a nondescript hotel/motel, or something pricier.  After 32 years of marriage, and this being the first mini-vacation/anniversary trip in 10 years, I think it was not that much of a choice.  While looking at my available options, I located this W Hotel, the ALoft.  The location was perfect, the reviews were good, it was available, and, I loved the decor.
 I realize that normally, one would take the photographs before you had slept in the bed, taken a shower, or had your items all over the place, but Rand just drew the line at cleaning the bathroom and making the bed this morning before we left.  He is so pragmatic that way: "I'm thinking you should have taken these pictures last night."  J is quite talented at building, though, and this headboard/nightstand/storage cubbies is quite similar to the one he designed and built for his room.  I plan to commission one for the master bedroom...albeit with something other than cowhide in the slot above the leather inset.
 I loved the separate sink/toilet/shower area, but this is what first made me think I was on a starship.  The sliding pocket door--which I personally love for bathrooms, and maybe for all rooms, served double duty.  Behind the sink were handy little cubbies, racks for clothes, shelves for shoes or bags, etc.  It actually reminded me of European hotels which maximize space for storage.
This is the shower with which I fell in love.  In my wildest dreams, I would have this shower in my house, my parents' house, and in the portable shower trailer that I would cart along behind me for any trip.  I would say the one thing they did not think about was that tile when wet is slippery, and with no  water dam/threshhold, even though there was a second drain, it meant quite a bit of water sloshing around the floor--probably not the best idea in the grand scheme of things.  I did love the seat, given that since my knee surgery, I need to sit to wash my feet and afterwards, to dry them, so kudos for that.  Except for the no grab bars/no barrier on the entrance, this is exactly the shower I "designed" for my parents' house.  I'm thinking a good alternative would be to slope that floor just a smidgen toward the center drain, and put a half wall next to the seat.  After all, safety first.


High-tech in Cool Springs

 Our hotel is like being in a space ship to me.  I have fallen in love with retro chic, or what is called atomic ranch in some circles.  It is simplicity in a nutshell, and very efficient.  I feel like I am on the Starship Enterprise.  It's all clean lines and minimalism, functional, but both pleasing and soothing on the eye, with pops of color, light, metals, concrete, in the public area.

The shower is a huge walk-in thing with snazzy tile, a seat bench, two floor drains (the trademark square W drain like we have at home in our walk-in shower).  Function, form, and beauty.  It is also accessible (I read that all of their rooms are) with curving grab bars in the shower, and a variety of grab bars around the toilet.  The shower head can be disconnected to use as a hand held, swiveled in any direction 360, and raised or lowered on a bar, so that one could sit and shower without getting drowned, or shower children.  I am wishing I could take this bathroom home to my folks--it is exactly what they need.  The beauty is it is functional while still being attractive.  (I will get a photo later, but as Rand is in it right now, we will hold off on the photography.)


Last night we selected a spot for dinner in downtown Franklin.  On the way, it occurred to us it was Saturday night, and we would have a wait.  I decided that Franklin downtown is like Oxford downtown, meaning people everywhere all the time, and no parking!  We parked behind the building and trekked halfway across the lot, down the alley, halfway up the block to the street, and then the half block to the restaurant.  It was 7:20....and our table would be ready at 8:45.  We declined, and hiked the trek back to my car.  (Note: Franklin has taken a cue from University and has no ADA parking anywhere near the main center of town.)  The Franklin Theatre was what caught my eye on my first trip with J when I came with him to the doctor.  At least I got that photo even if I did not get bananas foster bread pudding.

We opted for Bonefish near our hotel, and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  First, they thoughtfully had an ADA space right in front of the door.  It was only a 30 minute wait, but when we sat down at the bar to wait, we found out we could eat at the bar.  Worked for us!  Our charming bartender, Jackie, took good care of us, and the baja cajun fish tacos were superb. (Note to Rich, they are a totally different taste than your fish tacos--but still very good.  We now pronounce them the best fish tacos after Rich's invention).

And now, it's my turn to get in the space-age super shower and see what the rest of the day brings!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

32 years and counting

Randy and I married 32 years ago today, in Las Vegas.  Somewhere along the way, we began taking an anniversary trip every year.  The move to Mississippi disrupted that tradition.  For 10 years, we have been talking about driving up the Natchez Trace to Nashville.  I decided this week that this was the time to do it, and on our anniversary weekend.
As we were getting into the car this morning, I glanced down and noticed that one of the cats had mistaken that little space between the windshield and the hood for a litter box.  I went back into the house to get paper towels to clean it up...it was over the air vent and when Rand turned on the AC...you know the rest of the story.

We rolled down windows and went to the car wash, so that is how the day started.  Still, you have to laugh--we have never taken a trip yet that something hasn't happened, so guess it won't start now after 32 years of trips.
The closest access to the Trace from our house was the one in Tupelo.  We found it, but Rand needed a Walgreen's to get eye drops as his allergies are in full gear now that the Goldenrod is in full bloom.  While I was waiting on him, I pulled up the location of the Church Street School, one of the New Deal Administrations projects in Tupelo, and we were only a few blocks from it.  Now one thing I love about Rand is he never complains when I want to stop to take pictures, or even go out of the way a little bit.  However, I am directionally challenged.  Because I learned to navigate using a paper map, where north was always up, I forget that the google maps don't recognize that principle.  I am forever realizing after I am going the wrong way that Oh, yeah, I was not facing north when I started...

After a few blocks, I checked the map again and sure enough, I had told him to turn the wrong direction.  Turn around, go back and start over.  And of course, a train comes, and after that, the lights are set to stay green on our side about 3 seconds (literally, as in 1 car could go before it turned red again), so it took quite a bit of time to get to the school.  I will post more later about the school itself, but after getting the photographs, and explaining to the woman who came out of her house when we stopped and watched me the entire time what I was doing and why (apparently, I seem to arouse a great deal of suspicion anymore by taking photographs--never have I been asked what I was doing and why before I started this project).  After suitably impressing her, we headed back toward the Trace entrance.

Only, we missed it.  I didn't see how Randy could have, but I was messing with the camera, so I was not looking.  I mean, you have to drive right under the bridge that is the Trace, and there is a big brown sign that says "Natchez Trace Parkway."  By then, it had been 2 hours since we left home, and Tupelo is only 45 minutes from our house.  I said I could see it now, "What did you do for your anniversary?  Oh, drove around Tupelo for a few hours."

 It's a leisurely 50 mph speed limit on the Trace, we were in my CT hybrid, and it was a beautiful clear blue sky and temperatures in the lower 70s.  Who could ask for more?  First stop, Twentymile Bottom.
The view shed from Twentymile Bottom.
Evidence of recent fire.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Change starts by shaking the whole tree

 I get the Renewal News from the Shreveport-Bossier City Community Renewal project, and the latest issue came this week.  I always enjoy Mack McCarter's brief essay at the end of the newsletter.
I'd like to share some of the thoughts from his essay (McCarter, M. (2013). Change starts by shaking whole tree. Renewal News, 18(2). Shreveport, LA: Community Renewal International):
[Samuel] Johnson's older cousin, Cornelius, told his teenage cousin, 'Samuel, most intelligent people study the leaves and the limbs of a tree all of their lives, but you grasp the trunk!  And then you can shake all of the leaves and all of the limbs at once.' I have been pondering those words because if we ever needed trunk-grabbing, we need it now.
One wag said it, 'We are like a convention of ants arguing over Robert's Rules of Order, and never noticing that we are on the skin of some lumbering hippopotamus about to immerse himself in the river to the utter disaster of our colony.'
Let us first boil all of the complexity out of this brew of everyday living so that we can get to the basics of human existence...what will be left are only two fundamental challenges facing the entire span of life and every single human being...First, we must sustain a healthy planet.  And second, we must grow a human society that has learned to care for one another based on our common humanness.
We have many problems, but only two fundamental challenges.  We must keep the earth healthy and we must grow a human race capable of inhabiting this earthly village.  That's the trunk.  Now how do we grab it?
I am not versed in the science of our environment.  All I know is that there is no Planet 'B.'  We do not have an escape if our earth is not sustained.  I am not arguing the 'how' because, frankly, I have no idea.  I am just saying whatever it takes to solve this first challenge, then I'm in and I know that you are too.  Because if we do not solve this one, then there is no use to solving the second challenge.  We will not be here.
So how do we grow a renewed society capable of ever renewing life and lives together?  Simply put we must get a comprehensive process and model of care that includes every human being.  Put love into practice for whole cities and whole countries...And now here is the amazing truth.  Unless we solve the second challenge of life together then we cannot possibly solve the first challenge of our good earth.
I read these words last night after a conversation with a colleague and friend who is on leave at the moment, writing a book.  We were talking out the challenges we face: our own personal challenges, those of higher education, and those of our profession.  On the way back into the house, I stopped to snap the pictures of the cats lounging on J's vintage Nissan 300ZX--one of their favorite napping spots.

I was thinking about the simplicity of things, and how we tend to make it so complicated.  Then, I read the above words, about shaking the whole tree.  Sometimes Mack sounds contradictory, sometimes he sounds too simple.  Ever since I met him over ten years ago, and heard him talk about the simplicity of how to grow this village of humankind who care for each other and our planet, I have seen evidence of his vision played out over and over.  It's hard...it's complex...but at the same time, it is very simple.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)
The statistics of the organization speak to the opportunity to actually implement such a model:

  • 50% drop in major crime in target neighborhoods
  • 51,237 members of the We Care Team
  • 32,522 volunteer hours given in 2012
  • 3,000 Shreveport-Bossier City youth helped through Friendship House program
  • 1,825 volunteers in 2012
These statistics are just some of the ones for Shreveport-Bossier City, but there are projects in other cities and countries.  The numbers speak to the people who have agreed with this concept of growing a community renewed in caring.  If you grasp the center, the core, then you can have an effect on the whole system.  The only thing one needs to do is to grab it and start shaking.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Old Philadelphia Post Office

 The former post office building in Philadelphia was one of the 32 Mississippi post offices built under the New Deal Administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The Mediterranean influenced "loosely Classical Revival" building was completed in 1936 (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory database).  Builder was Walter L. Perry Construction Company, who was active in building New Deal projects across the state.  Our old friend, Supervising Architect of the Treasury, was the "architect."  Regular readers know about the Living New Deal project from the University of California-Berkeley and my part in helping to document projects in this part of the US.  Although I will say to this point--since I am always in a public location--I have experienced no difficulties in photographing the buildings that I am researching, there are sometimes interesting experiences that arise.
 I guess in large part it is the post 9-ll paranoia, but show up some places with a camera and folks get curious.  I had photographed the building from across the street for several minutes, and only upon crossing over to photograph the cornerstone (that showed it was a former post office) did I arouse the interest of someone inside.
 "Excuse me, what are you doing?"  I turned around to see a woman wearing her Police ID tag coming out of the double doors.  I explained the project, and my role in documenting New Deal buildings in Mississippi.

"New Deal?  What is that?"  I am always surprised by that, but it happens more than one might think.  I guess in part due to my age, and living with my parents and grandparents talk about the Great Depression, it seems shocking to me that people might not know.  Many of the benefits of the New Deal projects Administration are still in use today.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal Administration--like the Works Progress Administration--I used the terms most recognized by people.  I explained the former use of the building--she knew that--and pointed out the cornerstone that documented it had been one of the projects--she did not know that.
I know that many references to people's history have been surgically removed from textbooks--I am beginning to wonder if that now includes the history of the New Deal Administration, and the benefits--economic, social, and psychological--that it provided to a country in desperate need.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Williams Brothers General Store

 While I was down in Choctaw (right next door to Williamsville and Philadelphia), I made a stop at Williams Brothers General Store on the advice of Lana over at Hickory Ridge Studio.  She said you could get anything from horse tack to groceries, and I discovered, a whole lotta stuff falls into the category between tack and groceries!  Williams Brothers was founded in 1907 by Amzie and Brown Williams, and still run by family members.  Current co-owner Sid Williams said
My granddaddy was doing a big business here before Sam Walton was even born. (Becky Gillette, August 19, 2012, "Williams Brothers General Store is something to count on," Mississippi Business Journal)
 Ya just gotta love that!  Mr. Williams reported top sellers were "bacon (2 tons a week), red rind Wisconsin hoop cheese, shoes, lots of cowboy boots, and tons of men's blue denim overalls."
They also sell mule collars, hardware, fencing, tack, saddles, horse gear, dog, chicken and horse feed, groceries, boiled peanuts, and a range of clothing, from babies to elders.  You have to see it to believe it.  Walking through the front doors was stepping back in time.  A butcher was set up just inside the door to slice bacon, bologna, and cheese to order.  Vegetable bins were visible to the right, and rows of groceries in the aisles straight ahead.  I could have spent a lot of time, and a little money, but I still had a long day ahead of me with research stops to make.

 I settled for this belt, and only later thought I should have gotten the boots to go with it.  I guess I will have to head back down there one of these days.  Technically, the store is in Williamsville, and the Williams brothers were the ancestors of Olivia Williams Manning, wife of Archie and mother of Payton, Eli, and Cooper Manning.  We love to watch Payton and Eli play.  And speaking of Eli and Ole Miss football, check out the sea of red from last night's game in Austin against University of Texas.
Mississippi put the whup to Texas, and while I don't get real excited about who wins a football game, this one had me texting back to Texas to brag to my sister, especially on that 73 yard touchdown on a kick return.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Screen Block Bingo: Winston Furniture Company in Louisville

Back in February, TR over at Preservation in Mississippi suggested a new travel game: Screen Block Bingo.  The idea was to spot varieties of masonry screen block using the guide, and then shout "Screen block bingo!" loudly enough for all MissPresers to hear when you found them all.  Now, I have spotted a number of designs of screen block since then, including this spiffy number in Louisville yesterday, but not a one of them appear on TR's screen block bingo sheet.  I am starting to suspect a rigged game here.

I spotted this multi-colored panel while driving down Main Street and had to circle the block to get back around for a photograph.  It is listed as circa 1950 (no other information) on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History/Historic Resources Inventory database.  Manta identified the company as established in 1948. 
 Joyce Owens explains architectural screen blocks in an interesting post that helped me understand why I might not be able to locate this pattern.  While there were standardized units, there were also exclusive patterns, and regional patterns, and hundreds of different designs.  That makes me feel a lot better, TR!
 I loved the terms Owens used:
...aesthetically pleasing...elegant and transparent functional works of art with that space age, futuristic feel of the era...geometric repetition--regularized patterns put together to form more complex rhythmic configurations.
Couple that with this Mondrian-inspired sign, and it's futuristic arrow shape, and it was indeed, "aesthetically pleasing" to me.  For a plethora of examples of screen block--including some of the most stunning I have ever seen, check out the Flickr link!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yates Hospital and Drug Store

The Yates Drug Store (first floor) was constructed in 1906 on Main Street in Philadelphia.  It is currently part of the downtown historic district, and is now operated as a deli/restaurant by owner George Yates, a descendent of Dr. Claude Yates.
 Dr. Yates added the second floor to the drug store in 1927 and operated the Yates Hospital until the 1950s.  The 1933 Neshoba Democrat reported that the building had been repainted and was now "modern."
 A cartouche tops each corner of the parapet, and iron grills cover the lower part of the windows.  The building is stucco over brick.


 This doorway leads to the stairs to the old hospital, and still bears the original cast iron fluted pilasters.
 I was taking a picture of the entrance doors when suddenly a man appeared in the window, waving at me.  He unlocked the door and invited me in to see the interior of the building.  The original pharmaceutical cabinetry, display cabinets and glass covered shelves, and working soda fountain from the 1920s are still present.  The shelves contain items (such as lotions, powders, etc.) that he said date from the 1930s-1950s.

The ironwork is stamped with "Decatur Cornice and RFG Co., Inc., New Decatur, ALA."

Today was definitely a better day--a long day, a busy day, but ended with the pleasure of a stop in downtown, and the kindness of strangers, along with 3 amazing finds, one totally fortuitous.  I'll be writing about two of them on Preservation in Mississippi in coming weeks, but we'll make a few more stops in downtown Philadelphia, too.  Thanks for stopping by!

Note: all information regarding the building from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Downtown Historic District nomination form, Jennifer Baughn, 2004.