Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District
The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2012, The Gombach Group.
The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District lies to the south and southeast of the city's central business district, and directly west of the Leaf River. The district maintains the scale and density of its period of historical development, the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-centuries, and is especially remarkable because of the almost negligible effect of intrusions on its architectural integrity. This twenty-three block area, occupying approximately 115 acres and containing 270 structures, is almost exclusively residential; exceptions are two churches, a funeral home and an antique store (formerly a gas station) located along and near the district's northern boundary line, and a school and florist shop near the center of the district.
The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District is the Hub City's most architecturally significant residential neighborhood, and the oldest neighborhood in the city retaining its integrity. This district documents the growth and prosperity of southeast Mississippi's principal urban center from its beginning in the early 1880s until 1930 and parallels the development of the central business district. The district's dual significance is derived from its variety of house types and range of architectural styles and through association with its many historically prominent residents. Within southeast Mississippi, this is the outstanding residential district representing the 1880-1930 era, in both its size and diversity of architectural styles.
Property within the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District was originally owned by William H. Hardy, founder of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad, and one-time president of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad. The plotting of the land into residential lots occurred between 1895-1901, although some of the neighborhood's early residents had already begun to construct architecturally significant houses. Queen Anne cottages and two-story residences compose the district's largest group of the early styles. The Carter-Fairley House on Court Street is the district's single example of the Italianate, and is known as the city's first brick house. The predominate styles are the Colonial and Classical Revival. In the Colonial Revival group are found a variety of interesting house types, including numerous examples with twin front gables, one- and two-story houses with front veranda and central hipped-roof dormers, and houses with bell cast pyramidal roof bays. Classical Revival residences are generally of large proportions and sit on landscaped lots. Outstanding examples are the Turner House, the Polk House, and the Conner-Howell House. The bungalow style is found throughout the district, and these houses are constructed of a variety of materials, including frame, brick, and stucco. A remarkable local version of this style is the Corley House, a large stuccoed bungalow with stuccoed columns along the front and side galleries. Though few in number, additional architectural styles represented are the late Gothic Revival (two churches), Mission Style, Tudor, International Style, and Art Moderne.
A number of Hattiesburg's historically prominent citizens resided in this neighborhood. Among them were: Dr. T. E. Ross, owner of the Central Business District's Ross Building and a founder of Methodist Hospital, J.P. Carter, owner of the Central Business District's Carter Building, president of the First National Bank of Commerce and city alderman (1898), George Komp, owner of Komp Machine Works, W. M. Conner, local merchant, developer, alderman (1888) and mayor of Hattiesburg (1889-90), J. S. Turner, local land owner, lumberman, alderman (1899-1900) and organizer of the First National Bank of Commerce, W. W. Crawford, founder of the South Mississippi Infirmary, F. B. Woodley, superintendent of schools, Abner Polk, alderman (1899-1900) and liveryman, Michael Rowan, roadmaster for the New Orleans and Northeastern and Mississippi Central Railroads, and Paul B. Johnson Jr. and Sr., governors of Mississippi. In addition, at least twenty per cent of the neighborhood's residents have lived there for their entire lives, and a much greater percentage have been residents all of their married lives.
The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District's cohesiveness is provided by its setting of wide streets, generally following a grid plan, similar building materials used in a variety of architectural designs and a very minimal number of intrusions. Continuity of time and place is seen in the collection of architectural styles with its wide range, number of house types, and significant designs documenting the influence and importance of the neighborhood within the southeast Mississippi region over fifty years. The sense of place is enhanced by the marked difference in character of areas just outside the district's limits.
† Jody Cook, Architectural Historian, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood District, Forrest County, Mississippi, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.