Sunday, October 16, 2016
Designed by architect Frank P. Gates the Armory is considered to be a rare example of a early 20th century Gothic Revival style architecture in a non-religious building. In addition, it has the distinction of being the oldest Armory still remaining in the State.
Although the building had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000 and designated a Mississippi Landmark in 1986, time had not been too kind to it. A flood in 1979 had done significant damage to the roof. In July 2012 the Mississippi State Fair Commission had accepted a $600,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to help preserve the Armory. Construction was under way when a fire broke out and almost consumed the building.
Today the armory appears to be structurally sound with a new roof and boarded up doors; only a few windows are missing glass. A peek through the small openings in the side door confirmed my suspicion that it is being used for storage by the Fair Commission.
I hope this classic building can be carefully re-purposed and re-incorporated into the Fair Grounds. Come on people you can do it!