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Lakeport Legacies · July 19 [Encore July 26] · Old Houses of Blanton Park: Greenville’s Lost Downtown Neighborhood

Old Houses of Blanton Park: Greenville’s Lost Downtown Neighborhood

Princella Nowell (Washington County, MS)

Thursday, July 19 — Encore Presentation on Thursday, July 26

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm
Program @ 6:00 pm

Blanton Park, Greenville, Miss. looking North, ca 1911. Image courtesy of Ann Rayburn Paper Americana Collection, Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries

Blanton Park emerged as a downtown neighborhood in 1886 from Harriet (Blanton) Theobald’s old homeplace. In 1865, Theobald donated part of her plantation for the town of “New Greenville” just behind Island No. 83 on the Mississippi River. After her death, her surviving son, Orville M. Blanton, subdivided her personal property into Blanton Park. Blanton Park became a residential subdivision with homes of family members, professionals, and politicians. On its corners and edges were churches, businesses, clubs, and the Greenville Sanitarium. Washington County Historian Princella Nowell will explain how the “Park” was subdivided, who lived there, and what eventually happened to the homes and churches as they were abandoned to fire, flood, and neglect.

Register for this FREE Event (Registration is closed for July 19)  Register for July 26
(by phone, email or online)
870.265.6031 · lakeport.ar@gmail.com

601 Hwy 142 · Lake Village, AR 71653



Greenville’s Elk’s Lodge

Greenville’s Elk’s Lodge, in the city’s downtown, was completed in late 1906 or early 1907. Once a mainstay of the city’s social scene, today it is facing destruction for a downtown “greenspace” (i.e. empty space).

Built for the local “Cotton Pickers” lodge of Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the two-story, Greek Revival, concrete building was almost complete in August 1906, when the newspaper reported it “is one of the prettiest club rooms anywhere.”

Designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2002, the building is also a contributing structure to the National Register Greenville Commercial District. Contributing resources adds to the historic significance of a district. Despite this significance, the city seems set on a new “greenspace” to replace the Steinmart Square that has been designated for a new downtown Federal courthouse. Smart downtown greenspaces are nice in thriving urban area, but destroying an iconic building in Greenville’s struggling downtown isn’t. It will leave a hole in the historic downtown corridor where there was once a majestic 100+-year-old building. The city’s decision is also troubling given the fact that an out-of-town developer, Joshua Cain, has expressed interest in restoring the building into a boutique hotel. Cain has a proven track record in California and with the 1857 Belmont Plantation at Wayside. Ignoring a potential investment and creating an empty space in Greenville’s downtown is obviously a lose-lose situation for the city.

Sources and Resources:

MDAH Historic Resources Inventory Fact Sheet for Elks Club

Mississippi 10 Most Endangered List 2003

MissPres News Roundup 9-26-2017

MissPres News Roundup 10-3-2017

Suzassippi’s Mississippi: The “Cotton Pickers” B. P. O. Elks Lodge

“New Members for Elk’s Lodge,” Greenville Weekly Democrat, August 16, 1906



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