Hernando South Side Historic District
The Hernando South Side Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) in Hernando, DeSoto County, Mississippi is composed of 30 resources. At the north end of the district on Center Street is the Tudor Revival Baptist Church built in 1938, and just east of the church is a one-story Greek Revival/Victorian-style house that was built about 1850. Going southward are predominately Craftsman and Colonial-inspired houses on School Street, Park Street, and on Magnolia Drive. The Hernando Memorial Cemetery is at the south end on Magnolia Drive. The Late Victorian Eclectic house of Felix LaBauve, located at 2769 Magnolia Drive, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 [see Felix Labauve House] and listed as a Mississippi Landmark in 1985. The Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) also includes a major architecturally non-contributing component at its center, the DeSoto County School District Administrative Offices which were remodeled in 1997.
The residential lots in the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) range in size from small and narrow ones that were created from larger ones being sub-divided to those that are still intact. Most lots are shaded, some by large trees that look to be over fifty or more years of age. The sidewalks are basically street level with curbs and driveways. Setbacks vary, with houses on the large lots typically being set well back from the streets, while others are setback about 25 to 30 feet. The most common changes to the houses were attempts to "modernize" or add on to the original structure. Only two were altered significantly enough to be deemed non-contributing.
The large rectangular cemetery at the south end of the district is beautifully preserved and well tended. The historic part of the cemetery is located in the northwest corner. Old trees shade most of the grave sites and statuary. There are between 10 and 20 Confederate soldiers buried there. A fence surrounds the entire grounds, with iron gates at the entrance. There are many decorative monuments from the 19th and early 20th centuries throughout the cemetery. The Felix LaBauve grave site with its simple monument and wrought iron fence is located between the driveway and the cemetery fence.
The Greek Revival style was highly popular in the Southern United States during the 30 years preceding the Civil War. A style based on classical buildings from Greece, Greek Revival borrowed parts of the massing, exterior appearance, and detail of famous Grecian buildings. Details adapted for America's versions of the Greek buildings included: regular massing, often rectangular or square-shaped buildings with central halls or reception areas and wings or matched ranks of rooms at either side; "temple-front" porches or whole facades; rows of classical columns; pedimented doors and windows; and decorative details such as the Greek key design and denticulated (tooth-like) moldings. (The house at 65 Center Street West is a combination of Greek Revival and Victorian.)
In American architecture, the styles produced from 1860 to 1900 are generally referred to as "Victorian." Common details to most Victorian styles were irregular massing, medium to steeply-pitched roofs, detailed brickwork, and a great deal of turned and/or incised woodwork detailing both interior and exterior. Hernando's surviving Victorian-era homes are almost all vernacular, or "folk" versions of the styles popular during this long period.
Vernacular Victorian-era homes are numerous in Hernando. Though some of them are irregularly shaped, many feature common house forms such as "T" or "L" shapes. Depending on house shape (massing), roofs can be gabled, hipped, or a combination of multiple forms. Almost all have turned wood or artwork details on porches, doors, or windows; wood exteriors often featuring decorative shingles and/or machine-made siding.
The Felix Labauve House (2769 Magnolia Drive) reflects the late 19th century fascination with the picturesque. The basic, vernacular single-story structure is richly embellished with fanciful eclectic detailing. A very shallow gabled pavilion is set to south of the central entrance giving the house a varied silhouette. A sophisticated Italianate-inspired gallery shelters the front facade and joins the pavilion. Rounded arches flank the central elliptical arch and define the narrow entrance bay. The single door has Renaissance Revival detailing and an arched, glazed upper panel. A highly decorative circular ventilator is set in each gable end.
The Colonial Revival style took over from Queen Anne and other Victorian styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The residential Colonial Revival style evolved out of the Columbian Exposition held in 1893, in Chicago which was well attended and well-publicized. The Exposition's designer, Chicago Architect Daniel Burnham, created a fairgrounds dominated by classically-inspired halls, accessory buildings, and landscaped grounds. The simplified, regular massing, the geometrically-inspired columns, temple forms and decorative details borrowed from Greek and Roman examples provided a relief from the irregularity and layered detail of the Victorian styles.
Houses influenced by the Columbian Exposition's classical buildings took several forms. Common features of the forms, however, were classically-inspired entry doors and surrounds, simplified porches and porch supports such as Tuscan, Doric, or Ionic columns, symmetrical facades, and windows and doors with restrained classical details. One good example is the two-story, brick-veneered, hip-roofed, rectangularly massed house at 2805 Magnolia Drive with its full-width porch on paired Ionic columns and its northern porte-cochere.
Craftsman style homes and commercial buildings became popular soon after the turn of the 20th century, coexisting for a while with Colonial Revival and Victorian styles before becoming predominant in the 1920s and 1930s. The Craftsman style in America grew out of a campaign in England called the Arts and Crafts Movement. English designers campaigned to "re-educate" their countrymen away from the excessive Queen Anne and other Victorian styles starting in the 1880s and 1890s. The buildings they designed varied in form, but had in common an emphasis on simplified and hand-made detail. Their "anti-machine" movement was translated, in America, into the Craftsman style, which featured low-pitched roofs with exposed rafters, horizontal massing, and highly simplified details for brickwork and woodwork. Particular attention was paid to the quality of materials and the "usefulness" of the house plan and features. The "top end" Craftsman houses were highly-crafted, simply-detailed, open-floor-plan examples like those of Greene & Greene, Architects in Pasadena, California.
Locally, the Craftsman style is highly visible in Hernando. In the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) a good example is the small but intact one-story Garner house at 2605 School Street, with its multi-light door, Craftsman style windows, knee braces, and exposed rafters.
Tudor Revival is also a style adapted from English examples. America's Tudor Revival buildings were essentially modern in plan, with selected "references" to Tudor detail. Local examples of Tudor Revival appear to date from the 1920's and 30s, when brick veneering became available and affordable. Its popularity with homeowners was due to the combination of a romantic and "historical" exterior with a modern, bungalow-type plan featuring open public areas and modern kitchens and bathrooms. The main identifying features of this style are: steeply pitched roofs, often side-gabled, with multiple associated gables; multiple groups of windows, often tall and narrow, as in casement windows; round-arched openings for doors, vents, porches and porte cocheres, and round-arched details in brickwork; patterned brickwork; massive front-facing chimneys, often finished with "chimney pots"; and false half-timbering in gable ends.
In Hernando, two examples of Tudor Revival were found in the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District): The 1938 First Baptist Church (25 Center Street West) at the corner of Center Street West and School Street; and the house on the east side of Magnolia Street (2748 Magnolia Drive), just south of the school district administration building grounds.
Neo-Colonial and Post-World War II Colonial styles are a mid-20th century evolution of the early 20th century Colonial Revival style. Instead of the hipped roofs, central halls, and wrap porches associated with many Colonial Revival houses, the Neo-Colonial and Post World-War n Colonials tend to be one or two-story, side-gabled houses, often with gabled-roof dormers, often with central entry porches only. Like the Tudor Revival houses, these offered a stylized exterior combined with a thoroughly modern interior.
Three examples of Neo-Colonial style, all with brick-veneer exteriors and classical details, are located at the south end of School Street, and around the corner on Park Street near the school (2671 School Street, 11 Park Street and 35 Park Street). Each has classical entry details and other classical references on its exterior. An example of Post-World-War II Colonial is the apartment building at 2645 School Street at the corner of South Street. It is a thoroughly modern mid-20th century structure with a few classical details applied.
Vernacular, or "folk" forms are those like: one-room (single-pen) cabins; two-side-by-side-room (double-pen) cabins; shotgun houses (one room wide, with two or more rooms in line from front to rear); saddlebag houses (two rooms wide, with a central chimney and back-to-back fireplaces); and dog trot houses (two rooms opposing each other across an open central passage). Vernacular forms are more common in rural areas and in earlier house forms than those surviving in Hernando.
Many of these simple vernacular forms were mapped on the 1936 Hernando Sanborn Map. They most commonly appeared in areas near cotton gins or other industrial/commercial operations or on streets in primarily African-American neighborhoods like the West End. Also, several of the larger houses shown on the Sanborn Maps up through 1936 had vernacular form outbuildings-one-room, two-room, or shotgun dwellings for the servants of the people in the main house. Shotgun and double-pen houses were also popular (and inexpensive) forms for speculators who built and rented housing. One example in the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) is a two-room shotgun house behind a School Street house (2671 School Street).
The area to be known as the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District), located in DeSoto County, is locally significant for its architecture and in the area of community planning and development. The period of significance for this district is 1850-1950, representing a hundred years of residential development in the town of Hernando. During this time, the residential district was expanding and the area became a blending of architecture styles from the popular style of the 1850s, Greek Revival, to the style of the 1940's, Tudor Revival.
The cemetery at the end of Magnolia Street is included in this historic district because of the important statuary which dates from the mid 1800's to the early 1900's. Many of the founders and developers of Hernando buried there are memorialized by beautiful marble or granite statues and markers. The grounds are fenced and are well tended.
DeSoto County was formed in 1836 from land ceded by the Chickasaws. The town of Hernando, originally named Jefferson, was also founded in 1836. There is some speculation that the town may have originated as an Indian trading post, and therefore predates the forming of the county. Edward Orne donated 40 acres of land to be used as the county seat. In 1836, this land was laid out with 172 lots surrounding a public square.
Hernando developed steadily as new transportation routes were developed. In 1839, the United States established a mail route from Holly Springs to Hernando. From Hernando the route continued to Commerce on the Mississippi River. In 1852, the state chartered a company to build a plank road from Panola to Memphis, going through Hernando. It was originally called the Panola-DeSoto Plank Road, and later changed to Memphis and Hernando Plank Road. In 1856, the first train ran through Hernando, on the Mississippi & Tennessee Railroad, which linked Memphis to Grenada. This brought about the demise of the Plank Road, but vastly improved the transportation of cotton and other agricultural crops to New Orleans.
The house located at 65 Center Street West, which combines Greek Revival style with Victorian, represents both the economic growth of the area and the acceptance of the new architecture styles. Greek Revival in the South became a dominant symbol of the prosperous plantation society that evolved during the great era of expansion in American territory and continued until around 1860. The Victorian elements, which include the cutwork on the balustrade and decorative windows indicate that the "latest" architecture style (Victorian) was incorporated into the current style (Greek Revival).
The Civil War brought a halt to the progress of Hernando. Union troops occupied the town in 1863 and several other times, destroying many of the town's original buildings. The Reconstruction Era was as difficult in DeSoto County as elsewhere in the South, but as early as 1867, Hernando was rebuilding.
Sometime around 1870, Felix LaBauve either removed or remodeled his home at 2769 Magnolia Drive. The Late Victorian Eclectic style house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and was designated a Mississippi Landmark in 1985.
LaBauve, an early resident and official of DeSoto County, was born in France, the son of a decorated Napoleonic Captain. In 1815, his mother sent him to the United States to live with his uncles who had emigrated to South Carolina. In 1836 he moved to the "Western Frontier" of Mississippi and in 1838 to Hernando. He served as both a Representative and a Senator from DeSoto County to the state legislature, and later as a county clerk. His last official responsibility before his death in 1879, was to represent Mississippi as an honorary Commissioner of the International Industrial Exposition in Paris in 1878. He left the bulk of his estate for charitable causes such as the erection of a Roman Catholic Chapel in Hernando and a scholarship fund at the University of Mississippi for students from DeSoto County.
From about 1880 and continuing through the 1920s, Hernando and DeSoto County entered a prosperous period. J.B. Bell's Hernando Windows book describes turn-of-the-century Hernando as a small, agricultural town, growing slowly but steadily on agricultural production in traditional Southern crops. The railroad carried crops toward Memphis or New Orleans and brought back goods to stock the general merchandise stores and specialty shops. Bell mentions virgin pine timber as a major product for rail shipment during the post-Bellum years when Mississippi pine forests were being harvested.
Late-19th and early-20th century events that promoted prosperity in Hernando included: purchase and expansion of the Mississippi & Tennessee Railroad by the Illinois Central in 1886; establishment of the Farmer's Alliance in 1888; chartering of Hernando Bank in 1890; establishment of the first high schools for black and white students in the early 1890s; establishment of Randle University (first 9-month preparatory school) in 1901; introduction of car dealerships, 1913; expansion of city services to include first electric power plant in 1916, and city water system (1923); and organization of the Farm Bureau, 1927. (Bell, "History," pp.56, 58)
Insurance maps created by the Sanborn Map Company of New York (available on microfilm at the First Regional Library) offer the astounding evidence that in the 50 years between 1886 and 1936, a high percentage of Hernando's buildings were built — and then replaced by something else. This "high turnover" rate is due in some cases to the inevitable fires and storms that eliminated turn-of-the-century buildings everywhere. A 1923 tornado damaged the Courthouse and buildings on the north side of Courthouse Square, for example. But over time, the maps show substantial houses on residential streets being replaced by other substantial houses, and significant blocks of commercial buildings appearing and disappearing as though they were more temporary than the paper on which the maps are printed.
Of the large Victorian-era homes shown on the 1886 through 1909 Sanborn maps, few survive. Victorian-era homes were replaced by newer style houses.
Hernando's first automobile agency, a Ford dealership, was opened by W.H. Entrikin in 1913. The introduction of the car and other motorized vehicles such as delivery trucks coincided with changes in Hernando's development patterns, commercial orientation, and housing types. From 1910 up until the Great Depression (1930), the population grew from 660 to 938 — about a 30 percent increase. Many of the town's good examples of Craftsman style houses appear to date from this era. The Craftsman style overcame Colonial Revival and Victorian era styles in popularity during these years and carried on through the World War II era.
The Craftsman Bungalow style is represented in the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) by the one-and-a-half story Bungalow at 2601 School Street and the one story at 2605 School Street. The two-story house at 2585 School Street could have originally been Craftsman but has since been remodeled and is designated as non-contributing.
Hernando continued to grow between 1930 (Population 938) and 1950 (Population 1,206), at a rate of about 22 percent. Unlike some other Mississippi towns, Hernando weathered the Great Depression between 1930 and 1940 and then came through the World War II era still growing. Buildings from this era included not only the Tudor Revival houses in the Hernando South Side Historic District (Magnolia Historic District) and other neighborhoods, but the car and highway-oriented businesses like gas station/garages; and the structures and infrastructures built or rebuilt with Federal Emergency Administration funds. These latter included street paving, sidewalk, and drainage and sewer improvement projects as well as bridge and highway building efforts. References to the grant requests, bond sales, and plans for these projects are numerous in the City Minute Books from the Depression years.
________, "DeSoto History," Commercial Appeal Special Supplement. Memphis: Commercial Appeal, Septembers, 1996.
Bell, J.B., DeSoto County and Hernando historian. Interviewed by Joan Embree, preservation consultant, at his home on West Commerce Street in Hernando, Nov. 20, 1998.
Bell, J.B., Hernando Historic Windows. Hernando, MS: J.B. Bell, 1986
Bouchillion, A.W., Hernando's first Planning Director (1958). Interviewed by Joan Embree, preservation consultant, on driving tour of Hernando, Nov. 20, 1998.
Cawthon, Richard. "Railroads In Mississippi." Unpublished information compiled for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, MS, 1995.
DeSoto County, MS. "Agriculture," "Education," "Homes," "Industry," and "Transportation" chapters, WPA Records, Special Collections, Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.
DeSoto County, MS. Probate Court Records. DeSoto County Courthouse, Hernando, MS.
DeSoto County, MS. Bound Newspaper Collection, Probate Records. DeSoto County Courthouse, Hernando, MS.
DeSoto County First Regional Library. Vertical files on Hernando's "Buildings," "History," "Homes." Hernando, MS.
Hernando. City Minute Books for 1870, 1907, 1928, 1938. Hernando City Hall, DeSoto County, MS.
Ivy, Pam McPhail, Ed. Our Heritage. DeSoto County. MS. Memphis, TN: North Mississippi Times/Frank Meyers & Associates, N.D.
Lowry, Robert and William H. McCardle. A History of Mississippi. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1978.
Mississippi Department of Archives & History. Cooper Post Card Collection, "Hernando," in the State Archives. Jackson, MS.
Mississippi Department of Archives & History. DeSoto County Maps, photographs in the State Archives. Jackson, MS.
Mississippi Department of Archives & History. National Register File. DeSoto County. Hernando Courthouse Square District, Felix LaBauve House.
Reps, John. Making of Urban America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. 1965.
Rowland, Dunbar, LLD. A History of Mississippi. Volumes I, II, & III. Atlanta: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of the City of Hernando: 1886, 1892, 1903, 1909, 1916, 1925, 1936. New York, NY: Sanborn Map Company. Special Collections, Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.
Saunders, Paul H. "Colonel Felix LaBauve." Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society. Vol. VII, p.131, 1903.
United States. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules, DeSoto County, MS, 1870, 1910, 1940, 1950.
† Samuel H. Kaye, AIA, Luke & Kaye, P.A., Hernando South Side Historic District, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.