South Ward Street Historic District
The South Ward Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. 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 South Ward Street Historic District is an irregularly-shaped residential neighborhood in the south central portion of the city of Senatobia, Tate County, Mississippi. The South Ward Street Historic District lies to the south of the central business district (Downtown Senatobia Historic District, National Register listed), and is immediately adjacent to the Tate County Courthouse (201 South Ward Street, NR listed). The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad parallels the line of South Ward Street immediately to the east of the district. The primary axis of the South Ward Street Historic District is formed by the shallow dogleg alignment of South Ward Street. Related resources are also found along Church Street and West Gilmore Street, to the west of South Ward Street.
The topographic character of the South Ward Street Historic District is generally flat along South Ward Street, but drops off slightly along West Gilmore Street toward a small creek at the western edge of the district. Consequently, most buildings in the South Ward Street Historic District are placed at grade. The public landscaping of the district is marked by mature street trees which form a partial canopy spanning the street; varieties of street trees include red oak, white oak, tulip poplar, sycamore and maple. The lot pattern of the South Ward Street Historic District varies widely, from as little as fifty feet in frontage to as much as 300 feet. Front setbacks also vary widely, ranging from 30 to 200 feet.
Historic architectural styles found in the South Ward Street Historic District include the Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Craftsman, Neo-Classical Revival and Minimalist Traditional styles. House types include the side L-plan house, side L-plan cottage, side T-plan house, pyramidal cottage, homestead house, bungalow, composite cottage, English cottage, Cape, American_Foursquare, and double-crib.
Apart from the residences in the South Ward Street Historic District, there is one complex of non-residential buildings the complex of the First Baptist Church of Senatobia (400 South Ward Street). The non-residential structures contained in this complex include the domed sanctuary of the 1928 church building, and its newer sanctuary, built in 1959. Though the two buildings are connected by various additions and annexes, they have been treated as separate structures for the purposes of the nomination. The 1928 church building serves as an important feature of the streetscapes in the South Ward Street Historic District because of its location directly opposite the eastern terminus of Church Street. The church building serves as the backdrop for the vista along Church Street looking east from North Panola Street.
There are elements of significant character provided by the general streetscapes in the district which establish its qualities of historic setting, as evolved over time. The pattern of streets, lot divisions, front yard, and side yard setbacks all combine to establish a matrix of rhythm surrounding its historic buildings; the patterns of public spaces, historic street trees, sidewalks, lawns and private plantings reflect evidence of continuity in the district as a place for living. All of these elements contribute to the historic significance of the South Ward Street Historic District.
The South Ward Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the area of architecture for its significant concentration of well-preserved historic architectural styles and traditional building forms. The South Ward Street Historic District makes a substantial contribution to the character of time and place that define Senatobia's identity as a city. The period of significance for the South Ward Street Historic District begins with the date of its earliest structure and concludes with the date of the latest structure that reflects its significant architectural characteristics.
The development of the South Ward Street Historic District was likely underway when construction of the Tate County Courthouse was begun in 1875. However, the buildings in evidence today suggest that most, if not all of these original dwellings have been replaced by later structures. It appears that the earliest structure remaining in the South Ward Street Historic District which retains its original character is the fine brick Italianate residence built in ca. 1875-80 at 224 South Ward Street, known locally as the Shands House. Other notable structures were built in the district over the next half-century to fill out its historic character. Among these are the Oglesby-Perkins House (405 South Ward Street), completed in 1884 for Ira Oglesby, a prominent local lawyer. This structure is a fine example of Queen Anne styling that remains well preserved, inside and out. Another residence of note is the property at 309 South Ward Street, which was built in ca. 1910-15 in the Craftsman style. The quality of design in this house, with its tent-like hip roof, suggests the hand of a talented architect, whose identity is unfortunately unknown. The same is true of the quality of the original sanctuary of the First Baptist Church; the proportions, qualities of design and materials, and attention to detail of this Neo-Classical Revival church also suggest the hand of a highly-talented architect, also unknown.
The variety and qualities of design among the historic building stock in the South Ward Street Historic District make a significant contribution to the scope of the entire historic environment of Senatobia. It is hoped that this nomination to the National Register of Historic Places will help to insure the preservation of its qualities for future generations, and to spur further interest in the rediscovery of its history.
Carpenter, Howard, editor. The History of Tate County (Senatobia, MS: B/C Printing, 1975)
Puryear, Caroline, contributor, "Progress Edition" Tate County Democrat. July 3, 1980, Section D, pgs. 1-12.
Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Senatobia, Mississippi, Map Series 1886, 1892, 1897, 1902, 1907, 1915, 1925, 1936-42.
† John Linn Hopkins, Preservation Consultant, South Ward Street Historic District, Tate County, Senatobia, MS, nomination document, 1993, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.