Historians hope to preserve the old Hinds Co. Armory | News
JACKSON, MS (WLBT)- The old Hinds County Armory stands beaten and battered after being abandoned for years.
However, it's significance isn't lost on state historians.
"It represents Mississippi's effort for military preparedness during the era between two world wars, and it was from this building that Mississippi began mustering its units into national service and federal service at the beginning of world war II," says Mississippi Department of Archives and History Director/Deputy State historic Preservation Officer Ken P'Pool.
Built in 1927, the rare gothic revival architecture with its ornamental caps, pinnacles, and arched windows make the armory unique and appropriate for its military history, says Ken P'Pool.
"It really imparts what it was meant to serve."
The Mississippi Heritage Trust placed the building on its list of endangered historic landmarks in the state, hoping to raise awareness before it has to be torn down.
"We need to have the places where it actually happened. You could have a sign out here but it doesn't necessarily mean anything, but when you walk inside, you can say this is where you know, soldiers went off to world war ii and this is where they came back and it just makes it more alive," says Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director David Preziosi.
On the outside you can see broken windows but a closer inside the reveals years of neglect. The roof is all but gone with water damage on the walls, along with debris.
Despite its rough exterior, architects say the old armory is solid structurally.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has found a $600,000 grant that would make the necessary repairs to preserve the old National Guard Armory for a few more years and possibly for future generations.
"Once we have the building in the dry, that buys us a lot of time in the future to work on raising the rest of the money to finish the rehabilitation," says P'Pool.
"It's perfectly set up for events with the bleachers, the flat floor, the stage. So, it can be incorporated into events that happen on, on the fairgrounds," says Preziosi.
The Mississippi State Fair Commission is responsible for the building. The commission denied a $100,000 grant to rehab a portion of the building about 10 years ago.
They would also have to approve the $600,000 grant before any work could begin.
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