Laurie Bishop wins history contest

TUPELO – Thank you to all the readers who participated in the Daily Journal’s architectural history contest.
And the winner is – drum roll, please – Laurie Bishop of Tupelo. She was one of five participants who correctly identified all 10 properties featured in the contest. Her name was selected in a drawing and she has won a three-month subscription to the Daily Journal.
The contest, which was a partnership between the newspaper and the Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission, tested readers’ knowledge of the city’s most significant structures. Twice last week, the Daily Journal published photographs revealing small portions of several historic structures, along with their brief biographies.
Readers then were invited to identify the buildings in question and send their guesses to the Daily Journal. All correct submissions were placed into a hat, with Bishop’s name drawn as the winner.
The contest coincided with National Preservation Month, acknowledged each year in May.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or

Click here for Know your Tupelo History Part 1

Click here for Know your Tupelo History Part II

Here are the names, full descriptions and click links above for photos of the 10 structures featured in the Daily Journal’s contest about historic Tupelo properties:
From Sunday, May 23
1. For 20 years, this building housed boys whom Dr. George Chapman claimed to have shaped into men –> Tupelo Military Institute (corner of Blair Street and Clayton Avenue)
The boys training school opened in 1913 with Dr. George Chapman as its headmaster. The institute offered several activities for their students, including football, band and fraternities. The fraternities were located in small houses on campus and were responsible for many dances. In 1934, the school added a junior college program. After financial problems and Chapman’s declining health, the school closed its doors in 1936.

2. Some of the purest dairy cows in North America once called this place home –> Forest Lake Farm (present day Ballard Park)
This brick barn and three silos are all that remain of Forest Lake Farm, the home of Rex Reed and Nellie Boggan Reed. The barn, lone survivor of three, and the silos were built in 1937 of locally manufactured brick. The Reeds’ Jersey dairy herd was considered one of the purest in North America, and contributed to the great success of the dairy industry in Lee County and Northeast Mississippi. The property was purchased in 1969 and used to create present-day Ballard Park. The barn and silos are part of the Oren Dunn City Museum.

3. Built in 1857, this Victorian style house is the city’s oldest surviving structure –> The W. R. Harris House (315 N. Broadway St.)
The original property and the surrounding area was part of a residential development started in the 1850’s by Harris & Thompson Development Co. A kitchen and bathroom were added in 1895 by Mary Weathersby. This house is the oldest in Tupelo to have survived the 1936 tornado, and it is located in an area that is slowly being restored to its original neighborhood in the heart of downtown Tupelo.

4. Though it no longer serves its original purpose, this structure is now an east Tupelo icon –> East Tupelo Water Tower (off Shady Lake Drive)
In 1957, the citizens of Tupelo passed a bond issue for $100,000 for two water tanks – one in Willis Heights and the other in east Tupelo on the city-owned site of the old east Tupelo reservoir. The golf-ball-and-tee style water tank was a unique design, with only a few others ever constructed in the country. The east Tupelo tower has served as an icon of Tupelo and a visual landmark for decades.

5. Once a dilapidated eyesore, this structure and two others like it are now Mill Village showpieces –> Chestnut Homes (300 block of Chestnut Street)
Calvary Baptist Church gave these once-crumbling houses to Don and Pati Simon, who moved them from Magazine Street to Chestnut Street and restored them to their original character. The original siding, interior wood trim, hardwood floors and window opening proportions all were saved. Major renovations included reframing the roof, new windows and rebuilding the porches. A third house now awaits the same treatment.

From Wednesday, May 26
1. The opening of this building in 1927 was hailed as a victory for the dairy cow over King Cotton –> Carnation Milk Plant (Carnation Street)
Built in 1927, the Carnation Milk Plant illustrates the public-private partnerships that have sparked the economic growth in the Tupelo area. The plant generated $1.5 million annually in payments to local farmers for dairy products. The business model was the basis for the Community Development Foundation, which continues to coordinate public and private programs in many areas. The design of the poured concrete building with large windows and its emphasis on efficiency marked a change in the manner of industrial buildings in Tupelo.

2. If you like fish, a visit to this centery-old home is a must –> Private John Allen Fish Hatchery Superintendent’s House (111 Elizabeth St.)
Established in 1901 and originally named the Tupelo National Fish Hatchery, this facility sits on 25 acres near Downtown Tupelo and consists of 13 earthen ponds, two lined ponds and a hatching-growing building. Its focus is on restoration of certain types of fish, including paddlefish and alligator gar. The station is also home to the Tupelo Garden Club. More than 50,000 people visit the hatchery each year.

3. Famed pilot Charles Lindbergh was rumored to have slept here as a guest of the cotton mill manager –> Mill Manager’s House (606 S. Church St.)
The large wood frame home was built early 1900s and has been the home for many important and creative families. It once housed the manager of the Tupelo Cotton Mill, from which Mill Village gets its name. He moved to Tupelo for the Mill and built his own home and also owned a grocery store in the neighborhood. The family survived the tornado by hiding in the basement. Tupelo’s first airstrip was also located next door to the property and it’s said that Charles Lindberg used to fly in to this airstrip and stay at the manager’s house overnight.

4. This 89-year-old building housed the city’s first black congregation –> Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church (589 N. Green St.)
Completed in 1921, the historic Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church housed the first African-American congregation in Tupelo and is one of the oldest surviving church buildings in Tupelo. Architecturally the red-brick structure is impressive, rising two full stories above a raised basement. The massing of the building shows a Gothic-Revival influence with its flanking entrance towers. But its details, like the stained-glass windows, show the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, which had become popular in the 1910-20s.

5. Someone famous once purchased a guitar from this downtown shop –> Tupelo Hardware (114 W. Main St.)
Tupelo Hardware Co. has been a family business for over 75 years, owned and managed by three generations of the Booth family. The original business was founded in 1926 by George H. Booth. Throughout most of the company’s history, Tupelo Hardware has served its customers from its three-story brick, Main Street location in the historic downtown district. Tupelo Hardware is widely known as the business where a 10-year-old boy named Elvis Presley bought his first guitar. The store is now one of most frequently visited sites for fans who come to trace Presley’s roots.

SOURCE: Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio