Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tippo, rural gin architecture, and more churches than you can throw a rock at

Coming home from Glendora today, I decided to be adventurous again and turned down a road that took me over one of the bayous.  I spotted this old cotton gin structure just out of Tippo--another place to which I had never been before today.  

Tippo, in addition to being the birthplace of jazz and blues musician Mose Allison, is a fairly small unincorporated community near Glendora and Webb.  The Hardwicke-Etter Cotton Drying Extracting and Cleaning System, circa 1958, was one of the last remaining gin manufacturers, and was actually out of Sherman, Texas.  There is a very interesting thesis from M. S. G. C. Hainze out of Texas Tech (1999), in which she documents the remaining gin buildings in the South Plains of Texas.  She called the buildings "the dominant, rural architectural building form in the South Plains region" in her masters thesis in architecture.

That is probably true of the area, as I grew up near there and can attest to the central role cotton gins played in the communities.  If I had to speculate as to a dominant rural building in the Delta, it would be the churches.  Tippo cannot be more than a couple of hundred people, and yet I counted at least 5 churches visible from the highway. 

I find it kind of amazing that you can be driving along an area of the road with no houses, and yet, there will appear a fairly large sized church building in a small clearing.  I cannot fathom how they can survive, yet there they are, remaining when much of the near-by communities have fallen into decay.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hello! I was scanning some old slides from 1949 my uncle took on a trip out west. Kodachrome slides. I have a picture of a Gin with the same company as the top pic. (you are a Google find) And a picture of people working in a field for the same company. However I believe it's in Texas. Rt 66. Not sure. Have a few more of New Mex. and Texas. Would send if you wish.