South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District
The South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2015, The Gombach Group.
While Vicksburg has lost a number of its early residential and commercial buildings, the neighborhoods located south of downtown along Drummond Street survive as a reminder of the city's continued growth throughout the early- to mid-20th century. In addition to Speed's Addition, the South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District is comprised of six subdivisions, or tracts of land surveyed by developers, within which streets were planned and lots laid out. These include Southside Land Company, National Park Addition, Parkside Land Company, Prospect Place, Parkside Terrace, and Parkside Heights.
The Union Bank Survey was among the earliest surveys that subdivided land for the expansion south of the downtown heart of Vicksburg. It was platted in 1885 by W.L. Polk. At the time of the survey, the large acreage was primarily farmland south of Bowmar Avenue, west of Halls Ferry Road, and east of Warrenton Road. The establishment of the street car system opened Drummond Street for "suburban" residential development. A number of the residences along Drummond Street are among the earliest and finest within the historic district and are reminiscent of the introduction of the streetcar, and the growing desire to build grand homes on large lots outside of the city.
The streetcar and the Union Bank Survey ultimately led to the development of various planned subdivisions beginning in 1906 with the Southside Land Company survey and the National Park Addition. [see: Streetcar Suburbs, 1888 to 1928]
Southside Land Company was platted in May of 1906 by A.B. Lee. The subdivision occupies a portion of Lot 47 of the Union Bank subdivision. It is more or less occupied by lots on the east and west side of Drummond Street (formerly Park Avenue), south of Division Street, and east to Cherry Street, and west to Meadow Street. The plat also includes lots fronting the north and south sides of Realty Street east to Short Cherry and south to Mulvihill Street. The plat identifies the former Vicksburg Clubhouse (not extant) on the east side of Short Cherry Street. A considerable portion of this subdivision east of Drummond Street is not included in the 1925 and 1948 Sanborn maps.
National Park Addition was platted in 1906 by Paul M. Polk. It is comprised of lots fronting the north and south sides of National, Polk, and Markham Streets, Candee Street (formerly Short Street), and Forrest Street (formerly Kate Street); and the east and west sides of Second Street and Drummond (formerly Park Avenue). It is bordered to the north by Mulvihill Street, Green and Washington Streets to the west, Confederate Avenue to the east, and the rear property lines of lots fronting the south side of Polk Street.
Prospect Place is comprised of parts of Speed's Addition and Lot 47 of the Union Bank Survey. It is bounded by Yerger Street (formerly Lincoln Street) to the north, Drummond Street (formerly Park Avenue) to the west, Division Street (formerly Vivian Street) to the south, and Oak Street (formerly Yerger Street) to the east. Properties front Prospect Street which runs east to west through the subdivision, and the north side of Division Street. Its original survey date is unknown; however, Sanborn maps indicate that Prospect Street began development prior to 1925.
Parkside Land Company was surveyed by Paul M. Polk and platted in 1939 and 1941 and occupies land belonging to a part of Lot 47 of the Union Bank Survey. The subdivided lots are situated on the east side of Short Cherry Street and formed the subdivision along Wisteria Drive, Laurel Street, and the east side of Short Cherry. Wisteria Drive was among the first to adopt a curvilinear street pattern popular among later Post-War suburban residential neighborhoods.
Parkside Heights was platted in April of 1950 by Daniel G. Flohr. Parkside Heights was formed from a portion of the northeast corner of the Parkside Land Company survey. It is comprised of lots fronting Parkway Drive, south of Division Street and west of Halls Ferry Road. A designed, picturesque cul-de-sac at the end of the neighborhood also reflects the popularity of later Post-War curvilinear planning.
Parkside Terrace was developed during the 1950s and 1960s and includes lots fronting Parkside Drive and Rose Lane.
Each of these subdivisions was planned and surveyed by developers for the purpose of providing a range of suburban residential housing opportunities. From the many grand homes along Drummond Street and Mulvihill Street, to the smaller, more modest residences along Second Street or Prospect Street, the historic district reflects the growing desire to reside outside of the noise and pollution of the city, as well as newly evolving opportunities for home ownership. Until the mid-20th century, home ownership was costly for most Americans. However, efforts made during the early-20th century promoted home ownership for many moderate-income families. Installment plans requiring a down payment were soon made possible by building and loan associations and real estate developers, among others. By the 1930s, Federal laws expanded the financing available for the purchase of owner-occupied housing.
Development within the South Drummond Street Neighborhood was relatively slow during the first two decades of the 20th century. Residences constructed during this period were among the largest in the historic district, built by the more affluent members of the Vicksburg community. As a result of the growing financing opportunities, a tremendous surge in development within the historic district occurred during the 1920s and 1930s. These residences were more modest than their predecessors, and are indicative of affordable housing opportunities for the middle-class. It was not until the years leading up to, and immediately following World War II, that housing became more affordable to lower income families through "Efficient Low-Cost home" initiatives (1931-1948). The strength of residential development within the historic district continued through the 1940s. The majority of these residences are indicative of the low-cost home initiatives between the Great Depression and the close of World War II. Throughout the 1950s, a shift in planning once again encouraged middle and upper-income housing. This is seen in the district with larger, wide lots planned to accommodate the growing popularity of the sprawling Ranch houses.
In addition to the range of income-based housing opportunities available throughout the South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District, the planned layout of streets is indicative of evolving early- to mid-century suburban planning. With the exception of Drummond Street, which developed along the streetcar route, the first neighborhoods continued the traditional grid alignment commonly found in urban residential areas. Oftentimes referred to as the gridiron plat, most American cities were laid out in a grid pattern as the most efficient and inexpensive means to subdivide and sell land in small lots. The introduction of the streetcar formed the initial transportation system within the South Drummond Street Neighborhood, and the earlier subdivisions incorporated the traditional grid plan around Drummond Street. An abrupt shift in residential planning occurred in the early 1940s with a large portion of the Parkside Land Company survey laid out in a curvilinear design with large lots. Most often associated with Post-War suburban planning, curving streets of this period revisited earlier ideals in residential planning such as the City Beautiful and Garden City models.
Shared attributes contributing to the overall character and setting of the district as a whole include consistent setbacks within individual subdivisions; generally consistent lot sizes with larger lots occurring within the Parkside Land Company neighborhoods; concrete and/or paved streets; concrete curbs and sidewalks; individual streets lined with trees, primarily magnolias; grassed yards; and a rolling landscape. Being the central artery, Drummond Street deviates from its counterparts, contributes substantially to the character and significance of the district. The majority of the residential properties feature concrete, stone, or brick paths leading from the street or sidewalk to an entry porch. In many instances, due to topography, steep steps unite the path to the street. It is not uncommon for small, frame garages or utility sheds to be situated near the rear of a residential lot, and at the end of a concrete, concrete strip, or gravel driveway. Historic carports or porte-cocheres are also common features of the earlier, more affluent residences. Integral or attached garages frequently occur on the later residential properties.
The South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District retains outstanding integrity, providing a distinctive sense of place emblematic of Vicksburg's suburban expansion throughout the early- to mid-20th century. While each of the additions retains a degree of its own unique character, together, the neighborhoods represent the growth and development of the City of Vicksburg south of the central business district during this period. With very few modern intrusions, the South Drummond Street Neighborhood provides a glimpse into evolving suburban residential planning and design during a period of history when affordable housing became available to a growing number of families.
The earliest residential house types, or forms, within the district include one example of a saddlebag located within the former Speed's Addition constructed c. 1890, and five interpretations of a Queen Anne style. The examples of Queen Anne Houses within the historic district were constructed at the turn-of-the-century in response to the introduction of the streetcar along Drummond Street. The Queen Anne House (1880s-1900s) derives its name from the architectural style with which it is frequently linked. It is typically one- to two-stories in height and characterized by a square mass with projecting gable bays on the facade and side elevations. In Vicksburg, two variations of forms influenced by the Queen Anne style include the two-story Queen Anne House, and the one-story cottage. The roof of both variations is usually hipped with one or more lower gables. Chimneys have a variety of locations and are typically tall and corbelled. The grand, two-story residence located at 3131 Drummond Street is a good example of a Queen Anne House within the district.
The Practical Suburban House (1890-1920)
This period of suburban housing emphasized "simplicity and efficiency" which "called for house designs that reflected less hierarchical relationships, technological innovations, and a more informal and relaxed lifestyle." Subdivisions of this period often provided utilities and amenities. Technological innovations were also introduced to improve household life including central heating, gas hot water heaters, indoor plumbing, and electricity. Due to the rising costs of construction, the reduction of floor space and the use of standardized plans helped to reduce costs and make home ownership affordable for more Americans. The bungalow, first introduced in the 1890s, provided an affordable house for families with no servants. Bungalows were sold by catalog and are among the first mass-produced houses in the United States.
By 1910, the bungalow had become the ideal suburban home, giving rise to what has been called the "bungalow suburb." A bungalow is a one- or one-and-a-half-story house with a low-pitched roof featuring overhanging eaves. The house type features an open floor plan for family activities at the front of the house and private bedrooms at the back or upstairs. A prominent front porch, a distinctive feature of the ideal bungalow, provided a transition between interior and outdoor space.
The South Drummond Street Neighborhood is dominated by bungalows. The straight streets and narrow lots of the National Park Addition and Prospect Place are excellent representations of the "bungalow suburb." While the bungalow house type is prevalent along these streets, it is represented throughout the entirety of the historic district, with the exception of the later 1940s and 1950s developments. Exemplary bungalows in the district include 1301 Division Street, 3229 Drummond Street, 1130 Polk Street, and 1306 Prospect Street.
As the automobile became increasingly popular during the early-20th century, so too did the number of detached garages on residential lots within the district. [see: Early Automobile Suburbs, 1908 to 1945] The earliest garages were typically placed behind the house at the end of driveways that were "accommodated in the progressive design of new neighborhoods having road improvements such as paved surfaces, gutters and curbs, and sidewalks." The earlier driveways were typically strips of concrete leading from the street, or a rear alley. The garage found at 1307 Division Street is an excellent representation of a typical early-20th century, single-car garage within the South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District. This modest, front-gabled garage is indicative of lower-income to middle-class residential properties. Among a number of the middle- to upper-class residences, the driveway runs beneath a porte-cochere attached to the side of the house before leading to the garage. Secondary entrances are commonly found beneath the porte-cochere which provide a means of shelter from the weather upon exiting the vehicle.
Better Homes and the Small House Movement, 1919 to 1945
Following World War I, improving the quality of American domestic life became a primary focus among architects, developers, builders, social reformers, manufacturers, and public officials to encourage home ownership, standardized home building practices, and neighborhood improvements. Among the predominant house types that came about from this movement was the early American Small House.
Established in 1919, the Small House Architects' Service Bureau's (the "Bureau") ultimate goal was to provide architect-designed plans and technical specifications to builders of small houses—a house with no more than six rooms. The Bureau promoted efforts to design small homes in a variety of popular forms and styles, and which home builders could order drawings and plans from catalogs. During the 1920s, the small house appeared in a variety of forms and period revival styles, the most popular being drawn from the English Tudor Revival and numerous American Colonial influences such as Dutch, English, French, and Spanish. "The movement resulted in a great diversity of architectural styles and types nationwide as regional forms and the work of regional architects attracted the interest of an increasingly educated audience of prospective home owners."
The South Drummond Street Neighborhood consists of a number of resources indicative of the American Small House movement, particularly the English Cottage (1920s-1930s). This picturesque house type is most distinctive for its cross-gabled massing and a prominent front chimney. The plan is tightly massed within a compact square or rectangular block. Secondary gable-front or recessed openings accent the entry way. English Cottages account for a total of 13 resources and are found throughout the historic district. The English Cottage most often exhibits English vernacular revival stylistic influences such as Tudor Revival. Residences at 2901 and 3013 Drummond Street are two examples of a small house English Cottage, one with limited stylistic influence, the other exhibiting impressive Tudor Revival elements.
The Efficient Low-Cost Home, 1931-1948
During and immediately following the Great Depression, the collapse of the home building industry and the rising rate of mortgage foreclosures resulted in a renewed push to further improve the design and efficiency of the American home while lowering its cost. Among the efforts made during this period was the FHA's national program to regulate home building practices. The FHA published house designs in a variety of periodicals that "addressed issues of prefabrication methods and materials, housing standards, and principles of design." Five FHA house types appeared in Planning Small Houses in 1936 that offered "a range in comfort of living." Ames and McClelland note that "each type was void of nonessential spaces, picturesque features, and unnecessary items that would add to their cost." Houses could be built in a variety of materials, including wood, brick, concrete block, shingles, stucco, or stone. Kitchens were equipped with modern appliances, and the utility room's integrated mechanical system replaced the basement furnace of earlier homes.
By the 1940s, the FHA introduced a "dramatically different, flexible system of house design based on the principles of expandability, standardization, and variability." The simple, one-story house plan was minimal, yet allowed for a number of variations as rooms were added or extended to increase interior space, often forming an L-shaped plan. Modifications to the base exterior design could be incorporated such as projecting gables, porches, materials, windows, and roof types. The house type which evolved during this period was a reduced Small House, efficient, cost effective, and flexible in design, which is most often referred to as Minimal Traditional.
The South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District includes a large number of Minimal Traditional residences. The house at 1212 National Street is a good example of how the Minimal Traditional House could be modified to not only provide additional interior space, but also exterior embellishments. This example includes an exterior chimney on the facade, a side porch, and an ell extension in the rear.
† Jamie L. Destefano, Principal Architectural Historian, History Incorporated, South Drummond Street Neighborhood Historic District, Warren County, Mississippi, nomination document, 2015, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.