MDAH Awards Grants, Names New Board Member at Quarterly Meeting

At their regular quarterly meeting in Jackson on Friday, January 20, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History awarded more than $440,000 in grants, designated three new Mississippi Landmarks, and elected a new board member. Nancy Carpenter will fill the seat of Martis D. Ramage, Jr., who died November 28, 2011.

Carpenter is the director of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau. A former executive director of the Columbus Historic Foundation, Carpenter began her career as a banker in 1971 and rose to vice president of marketing and sales manager at Unifirst Bank in Jackson. After moving to Columbus in 1990 she served as vice president of marketing for First Columbus National Bank and then as regional vice president for Deposit Guaranty National Bank. In 2011 she was appointed to the Civil Rights Museum Advisory Commission by Governor Haley Barbour. All nominees to the board of trustees must be confirmed by the state senate.

The Church of the Annunciation in Columbus and the Old Byhalia High School Auditorium were awarded Community Heritage Preservation grants. Built in 1863, the Church of the Annunciation in Lowndes County is the oldest Catholic Church in northeast Mississippi. The award of $191,093 will cover the cost of roof replacement. Located in Marshall County, the Old Byhalia High School Auditorium was built in the Italianate style in 1921. The award of $100,000 will go to the rehabilitation of the auditorium, which will be used by the Byhalia Arts Council and the Town of Byhalia. The CHPG program helps preserve and restore historic courthouses and schools and, in Certified Local Government communities, other historic properties.

Grants from the Mississippi Landmark Grant Program were awarded to the McElroy-Hoye House in Newton County and the Noxubee County Courthouse. The grant of $73,463 for the McElroy-Hoye House will go towards the completion of the exterior restoration and reconstruction and installation of electrical service to the house. The Noxubee County Courthouse will receive $80,000 for the purchase and installation of an independent generator system. The Neo-Greek Revival courthouse was built 1952. Grants from the program may be used to pay the cost of acquisition, preservation, restoration, and operation of any Mississippi Landmark property. All buildings must have been designated Mississippi Landmarks prior to application.

Mississippi Landmark designation was approved for Mendenhall Public School; Alexander Hall at Jackson State University; and the Natchez Toll Plaza. State Historical Markers were approved for Camp Williamson, Warren County; First Baptist Church of Bay St. Louis, Hancock County; Grant’s Mississippi Central R.R. Campaign, multiple counties; Gulfport Army Airfield, Harrison County; and Magee Plantation, Jefferson Davis County.

Members of the board of trustees are Kane Ditto, president; Rosemary Taylor Williams, vice-president;  Reuben V. Anderson, Jackson; E. Jackson Garner, Jackson; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Valencia Hall, Natchez; Hilda Cope Povall, Cleveland; and Roland Weeks, Biloxi.

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