Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cleveland Community School in Kemper County

My second stop on the road to Choctaw was at Zama Consolidated School, with extant buildings including the 1938 gymnasium, c. 1930 teacher's house, and 1949 Edgar Lucian Malvaney designed school.  Check out the post on Preservation in Mississippi for that story.
 The return trip enabled me to make a few stops as well, including this former school building in the Cleveland community, Kemper County, not far from DeKalb.  This was my first opportunity to venture this direction in the state of Mississippi, so I had an eye-candy day, along with a few bouts of depression at some of the decay and obvious lack of opportunities in areas.

The only extant buildings of the Cleveland school, according to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory, are the administration building, 1933, and one of the two teachers' houses.  No cornerstone was visible on the building, but photographs from the National Youth Administration 1937-1939 photograph album show the original building and the classroom annex, constructed by the NYA in 1937-38.
WP 4800, App # 125 (1937-38) Cleveland Vocational School Annex, Kemper County.  Concrete block classroom added to existing building. NYA. 1-F2-35. 1938.  Retrieved from http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/series/2018/detail/3763
Retrieved from http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/series/2018/detail/3764
Retrieved from http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/series/2018/detail/3765
Retrieved from http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/series/2018/detail/3766
 I originally thought the classroom annex was the above pictured addition, but I think it might be possible they added both of the ells as classrooms.  It is also possible the classrooms were added to the rear of the building, but I could not access that area due to a chain link fence.  The building is located on the North side of Hwy.16, between Philadelphia and DeKalb.
In addition, the complex included 2 teachers houses, one of which is still extant, a vocational building, and a home economics building.  The remaining building with its National Youth Administration additions is in use as a vocational training center.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Road trip: First stop Carmack

Nothing I love more than a fall road trip, especially when I had the luxury of a little more time to get there, and get home again.  Wednesday was a beautiful sunny fall day, and I had taken time before hand to plot out the New Deal or possible New Deal locations on one route down, and an alternate route home.
In the "Kosciusko vicinity" section of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory, I noted the listing of the Carmack School, built 1938, but no other available information.  Carmack community was on the road from Kosciusko to Philadelphia, so there was not even a need to make a detour to locate it.
Can you feel my elation when I spotted the cornerstone immediately?  Newspaper archives so far have not turned up any mention of the construction of the school, but that little concrete jewel on the corner is all I needed to see.  The front of the building has been re-sided (with vinyl siding, unfortunately), and thank goodness they had the awareness to leave the cornerstone visible, or evidence of this building's construction could have been obscured.
The building is undergoing renovation, and again unfortunately, the large windows are being replaced, as those on the front already have been.  My guess is the back of the building will shortly wear that vinyl siding also.
The base of an old see-saw remains firmly rooted, though the boards are long since removed.  Who remembers "see-saw injuries" from your childhood?  One of our favorites was to walk the see-saw from end to end.  The deeply worn rut under the merry-go-round gives evidence of how long it was used.  Even the pine straw has not yet been able to fully obliterate the evidence of all those little feet running in circles, or dragging in the dirt when you were trying to stop, or in some cases, thwart the efforts of your classmates to get up to speed!
During the early part of the century, it was also common to construct teachers' houses next door to the school, particularly in the rural areas. MDAH database gives no additional information about the teacher's house located in the Carmack community, but the National Youth Administration constructed many teachers' houses next to the rural school buildings they constructed. The Series 2018 National Youth Administration Work Projects Photograph Album, 1937-1939 provides pictures and community identification on a number of them.

 It was hard to resist taking a spin and dragging my feet, but I thought perhaps it was best not to tempt fate (and my knees and hips) in the middle of nowhere...I mean, in the middle of Carmack.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Family History: R J Timmons

 Back in the summer when Sis and I went up to the Elbert cemetery, we wandered around the family plots.  Though many of the names I know, and knew all the aunts and uncles who were Mama's family, I did not recall who R J Timmons, wife of J S Timmons was.  Since she died in 1925, that is not unusual I guess.
 R J was Rhoda Jane Smith, and she was the second wife of James Samuel Timmons.  James Samuel was Mama's grandfather.  His son with his first wife, Mary Susan Brogdon, was Mama's father--Pinkney Perry Timmons.  Daddy Pink died in 1934 so I never knew him, although I have heard many stories about him, and did know Mama's mother, Grandmother Timmons.  Rhoda Jane and James Samuel had two daughters, whose names I never recall hearing anyone talk about.  What amazes me is that Rhoda Jane was only 68 when she died, and yet she appears to be much older than that in the picture.

Mary Susan was from Young County, so James Samuel would have met her after he moved from Georgia to the Young County and Throckmorton County area.  Rhoda Jane was from Ballground, Cherokee County, Georgia, so at some point James Samuel returned to his family's home in Georgia to find his second wife.  No doubt, he needed a mother for his nine children.  Perhaps that, and having borne two more of her own, had something to do with Rhoda Jane dying at an early age and looking like she was 20 years older than she was.  The "baby" would have been 4 when James Samuel married Rhoda Jane, and the oldest two were 19 and 18.  Most likely, she only had to mother the ones who were 4, 7, 8, 10, and 13.  Daddy Pink would have been 15, and 4 years later, he married Clara McBrayer.  Mama was their first child.
 As a child wandering the Elbert cemetery when Mama would go to tend the graves, I was always fascinated by the ones with the shells embedded in the concrete.  There were quite a few of them, although most of them now resemble Rhoda Jane's in that the shells are broken.  If you think about it, those shells have been on this grave for 89 years, so in that regard, I suppose they have held up fairly well.
James Samuel died 11 years after Rhoda Jane, at the age of 88, when my mother was 9 years old, and two years after Daddy Pink's death.  Mother often talked about Daddy Pink, but I don't ever recall hearing her speak of her great grandfather James Samuel.  I had always heard the story of the father going to Georgia to find a mother for his children, and bringing her back to South Bend, Texas, but there was no connection in my head as to who that father was.  Now, I know they were speaking of James Samuel, and that it was his farm in South Bend.  My mother has the lock he kept on his corn crib to keep the local Native Americans from stealing his corn--you know, after we stole their land.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New Albany New Deal Post Office and Milking Time Mural

 The 1936 Colonial Revival post office in New Albany was constructed through the Treasury department, under Louis A. Simon, Supervising Architect of the Treasury (MDAH Historic Resources Inventory).  The construction company was Blair, Algernon of Montgomery, Alabama, who built 9 post offices in Mississippi.
 Joan Embree, (1996 National Register of Historic Places nomination form) described the "classical cupola"...
"...new entry doors, but in the original surround with fanlight transom, in-antis Doric columns supporting the hooded architrave."
 The interior of the building, which is currently in use as the Welcome Center and Development Association, retained original features such as the marble wainscoting, wooden vestibule entry,
 and former service window,
original postal boxes and writing counters.
 Robert Cleaver Purdy's mural, "Milking Time," was completed and installed in 1939. 
 The local Armour Creamery was a vital part of the economic scene during that time, and the building is still extant, though not in use.  The role of farming and dairying in New Albany is thought to have influenced Purdy's mural.
New Albany represents another fine example of a town preserving its historic architecture, including the buildings constructed through the New Deal administration programs.