Monday, January 21, 2013

A Place Called Columbia, Mississippi

Our destination was Columbia, Mississippi, but getting there and back was half the fun. In anticipation of visiting Columbia, I researched its history and some of the local attractions and had a list of several places and things I hoped to photograph while we were there.

Number One on my list was capturing (with my camera, not with a net) one of the white squirrels which were introduced to the area by former Mississippi governor and Columbia native Hugh L. White. I was told that they are still common in Columbia's City Park, but I guess they are camera-shy, because we didn't see any squirrels, much less white ones.

We did enjoy our visit, though, and I managed to take several pictures of the beautiful old Marion County Courthouse, and the downtown and historic areas of Columbia.

The present Marion County Courthouse was constructed in 1905, and is in the center of Columbia, which served as the capital of Mississippi from 1821 to 1822.

Surrounded by huge old live oaks, the picturesque courthouse combines the architectural styles of Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, and Italianate, and still serves as the courthouse for Marion County and as offices for local government officials.

It was almost high noon when I photographed it, which is not the greatest time to be taking pictures, but I managed to get a few that I like.

Our next stop was Hill's Hardware (circa 1901).

An "institution" in Columbia, Hill's stocks plows, horse harnesses, a variety of crockery, kitchen implements, both old and new, and any kind of nails, hardware, and tools you can imagine or find a use for.

Before we go in, let's "window shop" for a minute ...

I'm not sure what this machine is, but it appears to be some kind of recording device.

Anyone a Spencer Tracy fan?

Okay, enough window shopping ... let's go inside!

If only those old floors could talk — aren't they beautiful!

This is the view as you step inside the front doors ...

I love this old balcony railing ...

Need a mop or broom?

How about a shovel?

Need some Minwax? I've never seen such a good selection ...

How about a washtub?

Nails?

I love this little baby wagon ...

Now, I ask you ... how often do you find a place where you can buy nails and a punch bowl in one stop!

The mama of all cast iron skillets!

And can you imagine frying fish in a dutch oven like this one?

I love the crockery and I'm sorry I didn't buy some of it ... especially the little salt and pepper set!

The H.M.S. Columbia

I found the staircase in the back of the store, and love the way the wooden treads are worn down from 112 years of use ...

I loved exploring this unique old hardware store, but had other things on my list, too, so it was time to go.

Before we left the downtown area, I managed to capture a few pictures of Columbia's 100-ft. wide Main Street, which was designed to accommodate horse and wagon u-turns. I took these pictures from inside the car due to traffic being heavy during the noon hour on a Saturday.

After leaving downtown, we headed to City Park in search of the elusive white squirrels. Along the way, we passed by Columbia High School ...

Built in 1937, the building is a perfect example of the "art deco" style of architecture which flourished during the 30s and 40s.

In 2012, Columbia High School achieved "Star School" status, the highest rating attainable from the Mississippi Department of Education. Congratulations, Students and Teachers!

After driving around City Park looking for white squirrels, we finally gave up and drove over to Keys Hill Historic District, where most of the older houses are located in Columbia. The following two houses caught my attention ...

This is Merri-Lady, also known as the Lampton-Bourne House, ca 1907.

Designed by architect George F. Barber, one of the most successful architects of the late Victorian period in the United States, the house is described as "Queen Anne Colonial Revival," and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I'm not sure what style architecture it is, but I love this house ...

Not too far down the street I did a double take as we passed this house ... and tree!

Oh, be still my heart! Japanese Magnolias are blooming. Can Spring be far away?

And on that note, I'd like to end my tour of the pretty little town of Columbia. I enjoyed our visit and found lots of lagniappe along the way, even though I wasn't able to capture a picture of a white squirrel.

I hope you will join me next time when I feature some of the lagniappe I captured on the back roads during our travels to and from Columbia. Hopefully, it won't be as lengthy as this post.

3 comments:

Richard Cottrell said...

IT IS 7 DEGREES HERE IN MISSOURI. SORRY NO MAGNOLIA PETALS IN SITE. LOVED THE OLD HARDWARE STORE. MY KIND OF RETREAT AND STORE. MY STEPS ARE WARN LIKE THE ONES YOU SHOWED AS MY HOUSE IS 168 YEARS OLD. I LOVE YOUR TOURS OF THE SOUTH. FONDLY, RICHARD FROM MY OLD HISTORIC HOUSE.

racheld said...

What a wonderful tour, and true breath of Spring. I've visited Columbia perhaps three times, and it's a lovely town. We walked a circuit of several different blocks once, and just looked our eyes full of the porches and gliders and hammocks and chaises and wicker.

OH, the thumb-latch and those floors---remember trying to scoot a spraddle-legged wooden chair up to the dinner-table on floors like that at Grandmas? Or get out without tipping back and smacking your noggin?



Your photos are wonderful to see, for our temps are hovering very near ZERO. But our doubledouble Rose of Sharon is budding out in the sun of the front windows, lulled into Spring thoughts by the warmth and bright days.

I hope your Spring is true, and that the BRIGHT days will stretch on for a lonnnng time.

rachel

Madventures said...

I just stumbled across your blog. I am a lifelong resident of Columbia and have truly enjoyed seeing our town through your eyes. Your photos are beautiful.