Mississippi House Saved from Demolition by Neglect

Medium-sized image unavailable for this photo.
The Lamar House after its restoration

Credit: The University of Mississippi Imaging Services

Every town has its hero, and in Oxford, Miss., L.Q.C. Lamar is king.

Politician Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-1893), the state's only Supreme Court Justice, lived in a small house in Oxford for 20 years and is buried there.

On Sunday, the town rededicated the newly restored Lamar House, a National Historic Landmark, as a museum about Lamar's life. Three hundred people attended the event at the 151-year-old house, which just five years ago was deteriorating.

"It was a smashing success and a wonderful day for those of us who have labored long on this project," says Bill Russell, co-chair of the Oxford-LaFayette County Heritage Foundation, which spearheaded the $2 million project.

Medium-sized image unavailable for this photo.
The Lamar House, Oxford, Miss., before its restoration as a teaching museum. Mississippi's only Supreme Court Justice, L.Q.C. Lamar, lived in this Oxford house from 1868 until 1888.

Credit: Oxford LaFayette County Heritage Foundation

The Lamar House's owner had neglected the wood house for years, prompting the Mississippi Heritage Trust to name it one of the state's most endangered historic places in 2000.

"It was in a sad state," says David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Mississippi. "They had a long way to go to get where they are."

After five years of negotiations with the owner, the heritage foundation bought the building in 2003 and won a Save America's Treasures matching grant of $390,000 that year.

Lamar is best remembered for his 1874 eulogy of Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner. "Lamar's speech called for reconciliation between the North and South," U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), said at the June 8 rededication. "With rhetorical brilliance, he championed Sumner's call for reconstruction in the defeated South and civil liberties for former slaves. This speech was seen as the first step in the road to recovery."

 

For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.

Subscribe to the Today's News RSS feed

Comments

Submitted by patmatricia at: June 19, 2008
mo....good luck and I hope you find something to meet your requirements. I am an Interior Designer with a BA and graduated this May. My passion is Historical Preservation and I would love to utilize my skills in that arena.

Submitted by mo at: June 12, 2008
Where can I find an opportunity in Oxford that will be project/contractual basis to utilize my MA with emphasis in historic preservation/cultural resource manangment. A 2006 graduate of the Univ. of Memphis. Please advise.