Parkhaven Historic District
The Parkhaven Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. 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 Parkhaven Historic District contains a fine collection of residences that date from the early to mid twentieth century. The historic residences contained within this district represent an amalgam of styles, including Spanish Eclectic, Craftsman, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Minimal Traditional, and Ranch architecture. Hardy Street, the major east/west-oriented traffic artery that connects downtown Hattiesburg to Interstate 59, bounds the historic district to the north; Twenty-Second Avenue to the west; Twenty-First Avenue to the east; and Camp Street to the south.
Envisioned as a model subdivision by developer M.M. Simmons in 1922, the Parkhaven Historic District consists of a grid pattern of streets linked to Hardy Street, which provides direct access to downtown Hattiesburg and the University of Southern Mississippi. Oriented in a north/south direction, Twenty-First and Twenty-Second avenues are home to all but two of the residences in the historic neighborhood. Hardy Street claims the remaining two. An entrance archway spans Twenty-Second Avenue at its intersection with Hardy Street. Other historic features in Parkhaven include large lots, sidewalks, and deep house setbacks.
The twenties roared into Hattiesburg with their ebullient flappers, The Charleston, Lucky Lindy, Cecil B. De Mille and Spanish Eclectic architecture. Spanish Eclectic architecture was fashioned in 1915 at the Panama-California Exposition held in San Diego. Before 1920 Spanish-style buildings were typically Mission style. After the Exposition the Spanish style borrowed from varied prototypes of Spanish architecture. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was the exposition designer. Goodhue was originally a student of Spanish Colonial architecture but he wanted to expand his milieu with the inclusion of richer variations of Spanish buildings that harkened to the great Spanish churches of Mexico and Arizona (McAlester and McAlester, p. 398).
After viewing the Exposition, other architects looked further for Spanish examples. They looked to Spain for their ideas. Spain was an old country filled with rich architectural traditions that included Byzantine, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles. A further eclectic note was added by the Mediterranean motifs that migrated to Spain via the Moorish invasion. The Spanish Eclectic style was so named for its extensive borrowing from these various styles.
Following World War I this blended style was used for mansions and substantial residences and by tract builders for more humble dwellings. The style was more prevalent in California, other Southwest states, and Florida (Massey and Maxwell, p. 59). Yet examples can be found throughout the United States including Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Exposition received extensive publicity that spread the movement quickly and it reached its apex in the 1920s and early 1930s (McAlester and McAlester, p. 418).
According to Polk City Directories from 1927 and 1929, those residing in these Parkhaven abodes were from the middle and upper classes of Hattiesburg. Occupants were employed as District Auditor for Mississippi Power, public accountant, and secretary-treasurer at Hattiesburg Building and Loan. These were the professionals in the Hattiesburg workforce. But even the professionals and their fanciful residences could not escape the financial woes of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The timber business began to deteriorate in 1930s Hattiesburg. All the resources were depleted and there were no more pine trees in the area. The mills began to downscale and jobs were lost. Camp Shelby had shut down, taking business from Hattiesburg merchants, and the Great Depression took the money out of the hands that were left in Hattiesburg.
† Gene A. Ford and Linda B. Ford, Architectural Historians, Parkhaven Historic District, Forrest County, Mississippi, nomination document, 2001, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.