For those of you just joining us or for those of you who do not want to wade back through my blog for the previous parts of this renovation series, have provided links for your lazy tails here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V (The Big Momma- where I photograph the inside for the first time), and Part VI. As always, you can click on any of the photos in this blog to enlarge them.
First of all, I was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I just put it in writing. That doesn’t happen often. Now… this is what I was wrong about. That they’re framing this wall in order to bust out bricks for new entrances…that disturbing framing that is visible from the outside through the windows. No. Well, let me back up.
After a little conversation with a friend last week who’d also been talking with the construction supervisor, I was told she’d heard there wasn’t enough money in the budget to do four entrances like the original building. This was different from what I’d been told by the supervisor previously so, I took E.L. Malvaney’s advice (Part V Comments) and contacted the architect for the project. I emailed him, to be exact. On Friday afternoon, to be precise. He responded today.
- I asked him why the Gawd Awful ‘50’s wings were staying. His reply: The Secretary of the Interior's Standards require that alterations that have attained their own historical importance must be maintained. That is why the Art Deco details of the 1930s are being retained. Also, he pointed out that the entire building would have to be reworked to take it back to the 1905 look as the inside was greatly changed in the ‘30’s. After I thought about it for 5 seconds, the double staircase and elevator shaft is right were one of the entrances would need to be if you took the wings off. Oops.
- I mentioned the framing I saw through the windows on the wings to the architect and also mentioned what I found when I went inside the building Thursday…finished drywall/plaster over that framing. I was standing there going, “WHUA?” How are they supposed to add two more entrances, north and south, when they’ve PLASTERED the majority of this wall!?!? Well. His response, which made me hopeful (and I was losing hope fast): The "entrances" are actually two new wings that contain the mechanical and electrical equipment that once was unsympathetically added on the exterior of the building. Their form is intended to recall the original form of the north and south wings, while not attempting to fool the observer into thinking that they were original. This is the accepted approach for contemporary additions, and is confirmed by both the Secretary's Standards and the subsequent review of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. If this approach had been utilized in the 1950s, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The wings do, by the way, conceal a large portion of the insensitive 1950s addition, and this was intentional.
If he’s figured out a way to work in two more entrances AND make those wings look less like a 5 year old drew the blueprint for them, I’m all for it. The studs and windows are undoubtedly going to be covered in some fashion by the two “new” entrances, which makes much more sense after seeing this on Thursday in one of the wings. Again, standing there going “WHUA??” Floor to ceiling PVC Pipes and tin ceilings. WHAT IN THE WORLD!??!? It’s going to be hidden. *deep breath* All of the electrical/mechanical systems were stuck on the outside walls, if you remember from the photos in the MDAH database. They are now going to on the inside, hidden where they belong.
In this same room, I have to point out something I’d never noticed until now. Look at the brickwork over the original exterior windows before the wings were added. Do you see them along the top of the wall? I’m sure there is a name for stacking bricks like that… not walking soldier but something else. The amount of detail they put into this building that the amount of detail we managed to demolish in a hundred years is astonishing. Makes me want to slap somebody.
This blast from the past was noteworthy. Cloth wrapped electrical wires in the wall.
There is a nut of some kind below this electrical socket which was about 6 foot from the floor in the courtroom balcony area. I still haven’t figured out why the nut is there.
They’ve floored most of the “attic” back over the courtroom so they can work on the clock tower with out having to look where they’re stepping each and every time they step.
And my Diddy. A historical treasure hisownself.
P.S.- The architect said that he’d “be delighted” to show me around the building the next time he’s in Purvis. I told him that’d make my day. Stay tuned.