The Oaks Historic District
The Oaks Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. 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 Oaks Historic District is significant as an identifiable and cohesive historic district which has architectural integrity and serves as a tangible link to Hattiesburg's growth into the regional center of southeast Mississippi. Its area of significance is architectural, as the 230 contributing elements reflect a continuity of design style, type, period, and method of construction. The period of significance of The Oaks Historic District is 1900 through 1942.
Although initially subdivided during the late 19th century, the Oaks District is a product of the early 20th century, with its greatest growth between the years 1920 and 1930, when forty-six percent of the extant elements were built. Twenty-five percent were built prior to that decade, and twenty-nine percent after.
The majority of houses in The Oaks Historic District were built for middle-class families. It is possible that some of the elements in the district were prefabricated (ready-cut) houses. The Aladdin Company, a national home-building firm based in Bay City, Michigan, operated a plant in Hattiesburg. The 1925 Sanborn map illustrates the plant at North Street and West 4th Street. The Gordon Van Tine Company, national homebuilders headquartered in Davenport, Iowa, operated two plants in Hattiesburg, one of which was located at Royal and West Pine streets. Their advertisement in Hattiesburg's city directories from 1927 to 1941 stated that they sold ready-cut houses, retail lumber, and millwork.
Those houses that were not ready-cut were likely design-built by local contractors such as Wesley Wright, who advertised such projects. Fifty-eight different builders advertised in directories from 1905 to 1941.
Some elements were probably architect-designed, although this has not been documented. There were nine local architects listed in city directories from 1905-1941: Edward C. Hearon, T. Roscoe Hearon, R. Clifford Hearon, Juan Landry, Carl Matthes, Robert E. Lee, Henry G. Markel, and W.M. Stratton. Additionally, there were out-of-town architects working in Hattiesburg as well, such as Emile Weil and Rathbone DeBuys of New Orleans, Louisiana; Penn Krouse of Meridian, Mississippi; and George Barber of Knoxville, Tennessee.
† Robert J. Cangelosi, Jr., A.I.A., Koch and Wilson Architects, , nomination document, 1992, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.