MDAH continues to support courthouse restoration

From Press & Staff Reports

At its regular quarterly meeting on Friday, the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History expressed unanimous support for grant assistance for the Webster County Courthouse “when the decision to restore the courthouse is made,” according to MDAH.
“The decision to restore the 1915 courthouse has been further delayed by current litigation. The emergency grant of $500,000 offered at the October 2013 board of trustees meeting will be redirected and fund a project ready to begin,” a press release issued Friday afternoon stated.
“The board of trustees strongly encourages the county Board of Supervisors to consider a grant application when the decision for restoration is made,” said MDAH board president Kane Ditto.
During a non-binding referendum last month, 70 percent of Webster County voters who cast ballots supported replacement of the courthouse somewhere in Walthall. The remainder supported restoration of the fire-damaged building.
Pat Cummings, president of the Board of Supervisors, was contacted for comment on behalf of the county board about the MDAH press release but had not replied as of publication time.
Built in 1915 the Webster County Courthouse was one of architect N.W. Overstreet’s first designs in Mississippi. On Jan. 17, 2013, an early-morning fire severely damaged the Neoclassical structure.
Members of the board of trustees are Ditto; E. Jackson Garner, vice president; Reuben V. Anderson, Jackson; Nancy Carpenter, Columbus; Valencia Hall, Natchez; Betsey Hamilton, New Albany; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Hilda Cope Povall, Cleveland; and Roland Weeks, Biloxi.