Our newsletter is mailed to all registered members.
Join the Hattiesburg Area Historical Society to receive your copy.
(Hover Summary for newsletter highlights.)
2021-2019 2018-2009 2008-1999 1998-1989 1988-1979
This issue celebrates the HAHS with a brief description of major milestones and events in our 50 year history. We review a few of the many educational and community programs and projects that were started by our founders, many of which continue today under newer sponsorships.
Photos of friends and leaders who were instrumental in creating the HAHS are included.
A 50th Anniversary Open House is scheduled for Thursday, October 14, 2021. Download our newsletter for details.
Even in today's socially distanced world, time moves on. Work continues at the HAHS Museum and Archives, too. Volunteers have put in nearly 1,500 hours identifying, sorting, typing, placing, and organizing ephemera and artifacts.
In this issue, we share a few old photos of Hattiesburg that we discovered in our archives; enjoy! Gifts to the Historical Society from December, 2019 through November, 2020 are also listed.
Happy New Year!!!
This issue includes just a few of the many photos recovered by the HAHS in 1984 from the Hyland Photo Studio. Held in storage since that time, the photos have been recently scanned and include snapshots of Hattiesburg back in the 1950's and 1960's.
Gifts to the Society from September to December, 2019 are also listed.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
We revisit the early days of the Kamper Park baseball field when it was originally constructed in the early 1900's.
We also remember our friend, Tom Rhea Phillips III (1959-2019) with stories and photos.
There are two more "Mystery Photos" to challenge you.
Friends of the HAHS are invited to attend our annual meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.
In this issue, see a photo of Bob Hope's visit to Hattiesburg in 1961. We also remember the March of Dimes fundraising campaigns of the 1950's, and we revisit the Dixie Pine Grocery store with a 1941 photo.
In addition, try your hand at identifying the objects in our "Mystery Photos"
This issue spotlights the USS Mississippi, launched on January 25,1917, which served in the Atlantic and the Pacific.
We include a 1952 aerial photo of Broadway Drive; see if you can identify the landmarks.
A parade of Coca Cola wagons and cars on Main Street are included in a circa 1910 photo along with the cover of a pamphlet describing the 1908 Purvis tornado.
In August of 1880, William Harris Hardy took a lunch break under a large Oak tree that stood just behind Hattiesburg's current City Hall. He was surveying for the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad ....
A look through old photographs, city directories, and telephone books provides evidence that businesses in early Hattiesburg frequently moved from one location to another.
After the great fire of October 11, 1893, a new ordinance mandated that all future downtown buildings be constructed of brick or stone. Many remain to continue a cycle of providing space for new ...
This issue continues the discussion of Hattiesburg Public Schools, a bit of their history, and how the schools got their names.
Before those who know the information are gone or someone wants the buildings renamed, the HAHS has compiled this information. If you have additional information please call or write us.
In this issue: Grace Love Elementary, Mary Bethune Elementary, G. L. Hawkins Elementary, Grace Christian Elementary, W. H. Jones Elementary, Hattiesburg High, Lillie Burney Elementary, W. I. Thames Elementary.
The recent donation of a composite photo of the first Rowan High School graduating class and an inquiry about an elementary school's namesake were reminders that the HAHS needed to compile information about the people for whom Hattiesburg schools are named.
It was surprising how little was known about some of them and how few of our residents had actually known the individuals or the reason for their selection. This newsletter begins a two part series with some very interesting information for Walthall Elementary, Eaton Elementary, Lamar Elementary, Camp Elementary, Main Street School, Main Street Elementary, Eureka Community Education Center and Jeff Davis Elementary.
If you have ever passed through downtown Hattiesburg, you have seen it. It has stood beside the 1908 neo-classical revival style Forrest County Courthouse for the last 105 years.
Like thousands of others in both the South and the North, the monument recognizes the men and women who lived and died during the War Between the States.
As observances of the sesquicentennial of that awful turmoil have been held across the United States, the media has given much attention to events that lead to the conflict and the struggle (especially in the South) to rebuild a life and a country ...
Each week information and artifacts are added to the HAHS collections. These pieces woven together often tell the stories of Hattiesburg and her citizens.
In the Winter 2013 HAHS Newsletter we wrote about the YWCA statue and asked if anyone had additional information on this piece of local history. One of our HAHS members knew where it is now.
We contacted the current owner and sure enough the head and torso of a young girl stands in the yard of Betty and Thomas Tyner.
When the YWCA building on Hemphill Street was renovated for the Altman, Tyner, Ruffin, Bell and Swetman law offices, the statue was offered to the Family Y. After they failed to retrieve it ...
This issue provides a brief history of the aviation industry along with a story and photos of the opening of the Hattiesburg's first airport in 1930.
The facility was renamed the Bobby Lee Chain Municipal Airport in the 1980's; the original 1930's hangar currently serves as a maintenance facility.
No matter the reason, "do you remember..." questions always arise and often find their way to the HAHS. Some examples follow:
"Do you remember the statue of the lady in front of the YWCA on Hemphill Street?" asked one caller.
Those of us who do remember can not answer questions about why she was there or what she represented.
Homeowners, who lived across the street, did not know her importance. The most often seen photo of the YWCA shows a group of members standing in front of the statue. Unfortunately, they are taller than the statue, so it can't be seen.
Hattiesburg was fortunate in having an "accoucheur" (a male midwife) living near the limits of the spot of its birth in 1882. Dr. John Gillis, a graduate of Tulane Medical School, lived just south of Hattiesburg at "Dixie Pine."
In 1884 Dr. Gillis opened the "Doctor Shop" up the path from Mobile and Front Streets. City counsel meetings and other civic affairs were held there in addition to the practice of the healing arts.
Dr. Gillis was noted for his remarkable cures in the treatment of typhoid fever possibly more than any other disease. He continued his practice in the town until he grew too old to be active. He died March 14, 1901.
It is not uncommon for the HAHS to receive questions about the past. New people, who move into town, want to know about buildings and locations. Researchers want to learn about area's history and development. Lifelong residents, who see programs on the History channel that stir memories, call for help filling in the gaps. The Museum Staff does its best to provide the requested information.
Sometimes the answer is close at hand, but often research is needed. There are questions for which no answer can be found. Then there are others whose answers turn up unexpectedly months later. Today, we'd like to share some of the answers with you.
There have been several who inquired, "What role did Hattiesburg play in the Civil War?" ...
Tourists, area students, and new residents inundate the HAHS Museum with questions about Hattiesburg's history. They are amazed to learn that we are the only Hattiesburg in the world, excited to know that the Choctaw lived here first, and surprised that Hardy also founded Gulfport.
However, one does not have to visit a museum, read one of the numerous books about our area, or even go on line to view our history. Like the flowers of spring, pieces of our local history pop up all round us. In an age when "big bucks" or fame gets one's name on the front of a building, it is easy to forget that some names are there to honor that person's contributions of character, education, leadership, business, and community service.
Doyle Downs, a 35 year Hattiesburg banker, donated this First National Bank memorabilia to the HAHS Museum.
The collection includes embossing stamps, a coin counter, bank bags, photographs, desk supplies, a Model-T minature bank with the "First National Bank of Hattiesburg" logo, a lighted magnifying glass for examining the stamps on the back of checks and numerous documents including a check signed by J. P. Carter, the bank's second president.
Tucked away among the papers was a November, 1966 edition of First Line, a publication ...
Every week people contact the HAHS Museum searching for information to fill in the blanks of their community's or family's history. Sometimes we can help. Other times the information seems to be lost in the past, and we have no resources to help ...
Recently, a photocopy of a 1908 Hattiesburg, Mississippi, promotional publication arrived at the museum.
This Industrial Edition was published under the direction of the Hattiesburg Commercial Club and is so rare that even the Mississippi State Department of Archives and History does not have a copy. The publication filled in a blank for many people concerning the Hattiesburg Business College ...
Most of us have enjoyed ABC books.
Although not intended solely for children, these books quickly became associated with simple teachings and early learning. From the 15th century through the 18th century the primer, for students of all ages, often opened with a page of the letters. In 1596, Shakespeare even mentioned the "Absey book" in King John.
In early books, the alphabet appeared in table form. Eventually, illustrations were added to the letters, as a mnemonic aid. In the nineteenth century, ABC books became a ay to teach the alphabet and introduce them to new subjects. Although the subjects were extremely varied, the format was generally a single word or rhyming verse accompanying an image for each letter.
Check this ABC variation related to Hattiesburg beginning with "H is for Hattie."
The Arnold-Meador Cabin, a unique piece of area history, stands beside Highway 49 just north of the I-59 interchange. The double pen dog-trot cabin is supported by twenty heart pine joists that measure 33 feet in length.
The roof of hand split cedar shank shingles still protects the memories of seven generations of the Meador family. The exterior walls bear the "juggling" marks created while shaping beams by hand. Giant cedar trees on the property mark the trail wagons traveled, and the original water well stands in the yard.
Dean Meador Smith, a fifth generation Hattiesburg Meador and the current owner ...
Current Fire Chief David Webster said, "I believe that the new building will enhance the neighborhood. From this facility we hope to be able to build better relationships with the community as a whole and to aid in the revitalization and preservation of the downtown area." The new station may open by December 2009.
Fires, in early days, were fought by neighbors and citizens who came when the fire call sounded. In 1893, a major fire destroyed 26 business houses in downtown Hattiesburg. By 1904, the Mayor and Board of Alderman decided a paid fire department was needed.
Barbara Merkel Johnson with sons, Steve and Ray, pose with their donation at the February 22, 2009, Grand Opening of the Hometown Heroes Exhibit.
The exhibit featuring Barbara's father, World War I hero Edmo Merkel, tells the stories of a number of Hattiesburg natives who have made notable contributions to their communities.
Citizen heroes walk among us daily... Our citizens have contributed in all areas of life: from government to sports, from education to healthcare, from religion to volunteerism, and from writing music to writing books ...
There is something for everyone in this exhibit, so be sure to visit your museum soon.
Hattiesburg has always honored her heroes. Their names are seen on the columns in our memorial park, and their photographs hang on the walls of buildings named in their honor.
Their sacrifices are remembered and recognized in ceremonies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
True heroes and heroines are more than just names carved in stone or images upon a wall. Although some paid the "ultimate" cost, living heroes walk among us every day. They will tell you that those who gave their lives in battle are heroes, and they never seem to see themselves as heroic.
This issue highlights the new Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Hometown Heros Exhibit. Take a look.
In the days before digital and computer enhanced photography, when images slowly emerged on treated papers dunked in the chemical "soup" of darkrooms, the standard joke was, "Come on in, and see what develops!" That should be the greeting on the HAHS Museum door.
Pieces of area history appear at the HAHS museum door daily. They arrive by snail mail, email, telephone, and are carried in by visitors. Where they have been and how they came home is often a story in itself ...
This newsletter issue features Pine Belt timbers used to repair the USS Constitution, a beautiful glass and gold leaf Citizens Bank sign, plus details about the Newman Lumber Company.
... Buildings are usually named for the business housed there, the architects who designed the structures, the builders who constructed them, the citizens who have made great social or financial contributions, or the owners themselves. Of course, not all older buildings have names, but the one at 509 Main Street did...
The Carter Building was built in 1904-1905 for the Honorable John Prentiss Carter, a Hattiesburg banker, lawyer, civic leader, and former Mississippi Lieutenant Governor.
When the building was sold in 1973 to Faulkner Concrete Pipe Company, the name plate was replaced with the Faulkner Building plate that is on the wall today.
The Pine Street United States Post Office was built in 1934 and is listed on the Register of Historic Places. Its limestone, fine gray and pink granite, and art deco style (which it shares with the Saenger Theater and Forrest Towers) have helped make it a beloved landmark in downtown Hattiesburg.
In July of 1992, former Mayor Moran Pope wrote in the Hattiesburg American about the building as it received a much needed facelift and cleaning. The following information is based on his research and interviews with local architects.
The Hattiesburg Area Historical Society and the three local Daughters of the American Revolution Chapters (John Rolfe, Norvell Robertson and Twentieth Star Chapters) held a Constitution Day Tea in the HAHS Museum on September 17, 2006, in honor of the 219th Anniversary of the United States Constitution. The community was invited.
In keeping with the HAHS purpose to promote better understanding of our American heritage and democratic way of life, a continuous slide show was presented by the HAHS.
Down at the HAHS Museum we've been anxiously waiting for our ship to come in. Finally, after several false starts, floating around paperless in the shipping system, and resting on a loading dock in devastated Gulfport, Mississippi, it landed upside down (fittingly) in Hattiesburg.
What is it? It is a scale model of The Leaf, the circa 1830-1852 river craft found buried upside down in a Leaf River sandbar near New Augusta in the summer drought of 1990.
The New Orleans & Northeastern Railroad brought William Harris Hardy to our area, and it was Hardy who had the privilege of picking the spot for the station and naming it Hattiesburg.
Before the depot was even built, the first news of the 1908 Purvis cyclone arrived at this whistle stop, and the first help for that stricken community departed from here. After its construction in 1910, the Southern Railway Depot, along with the depots for other lines, soon made our town the Hub of South Mississippi's trade and transportation.
We spotlight the Self-Dunn House in this issue. Located at 901 North Main Street, the house was originally built in the 1890's by the Self Family as a bungalow. Some Hattiesburg residents know the home as the Brock Furniture House, opened in the 1980's by George Brock.
Our current Museum exhibit features the early history of the Piney Woods area. Authentic Choctaw tools and arrowheads are also on display.
This issue includes a summary of the many activities hosted by the HAHS. A photo of participants in the five week, ten hour class on "Hub Area History" is included.
A portion of a letter from Mr. Butch Bouvier to HAHS president Paula Harvey describing the significance of our keelboat find is included.
The HAHS announces it's "School Days" exhibit. The display features memorabilia from the Brian Blair collection, grandson of S. H. Blair, for whom the current high school building on Hutchinson Street is named.
The museum has opened its doors to any number of groups including Colonial Dames XVII Century, Magnolia Questers, the Institute for Learning in Retirement, and Descendants of Founders and Patriots of America.
HAHS president Paula Harvey's report includes progress on restoration of the keelboat that was unearthed near New Augusta. Restoration efforts that include recommended insecticide, fungicide and water seal treatments are underway.
Photos of Piney Woods life found at the old Walthall School by Lee Walker have been moved to the museum for cleaning and reframing.
Drop by the HAHS Museum in order to take a trip back through our 90 Years of Girl Scouting exhibit. Tour through GSUSA history from its national beginning in 1912 to its Hattiesburg debut in 1934. Learn about the growth of the local council from a 1945 office in City Hall to a 15 county council in 1960 to today's expanded service area of 21 counties that stretches from the Gulf Coast to Meridian and includes two camps.
The HAHS has acquired bound copies of the Hattiesburg American. Read more about our preservation efforts.
This issue includes updates on the restoration of the keel boat and the 1957 Hattiesburg High class composite photo.
The HAHS was selected to receive the Frank E. Everett, Jr. Award for 2002. The Mississippi Historical Society presents this award as merited to a local historical society that has made an outstanding contribution to the preservation and interpretation of Mississippi history.
Keel Boat restoration continues as the HAHS Board of Directors voted to bring in Dr. Annalies Corbin who will provide recommendations on moving and restoring the craft.
The HAHS Museum is pleased to feature sheet music from the collection of Brian Blair with our exhibit of WWI and WWI memorabilia. Photos, uniforms and other items included in the display make a very unique "picture."
HAHS president Paula Harvey shares information from Captain Andrew English with his thoughts and suggestions for preserving and displaying our Keel Boat.
The Hattiesburg Area Historical Society's exhibit, The Price of Freedom, has won second place nationally in the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Week Display Contest. The display placed first in the state and first in the southeastern division before winning second place nationally.
We also report on the progress being made with restoration of our Keel Boat.
We are moving. Our space in the Cultural Center (the old Library Building) is ready for occupancy.
We will be sharing the facilities with the Hattiesburg Arts Council and the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. These two organizations will be located on the top floor, while HAHS will occupy the bottom floor.
For Constitution Week, September 17-23, kiosks on the Bill of Right are on display at the Museum. The exhibits highlight major milestones for the ten Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
This newsletter includes a story on the creation and history of the American Flag that was flown at Fort McHenry during the battle of Baltimore.
This newsletter spotlights the new book The History of Forrest County. Pre-ordered books have been mailed to their owners. Additional copies are available for purchase at the Museum.
The museum's current display, Freedom has its Price, is open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to stop by for a visit.
With a Leap of Faith, HAHS has reserved the Forrest County Multi purpose Center on Tuesday, February 29th for the formal release of The History of Forrest County.
This newsletter also includes a story about Captain William Harris Hardy along with drawings by the late Lucille Parker.
The HAHS received the Frank E. Everett, Jr. Award for its contribution to the preservation and interpretation of Mississippi history.
The museum also has a 1900 Maytag washing machine (courtesty of David Bomboy) and a railroad station telephone (courtesty of Captain Andrew English) on display.
This issue includes notes on the HAHS museum's move to the basement of the Hattiesburg Cultural Center.
The museum spotlights 20th century Hattiesburg with displays from the early 1900's (with the Hub City Sign bulb) to the 90 year celebration of Forrest County in 1998.
This issue includes an update on the progress of The History of Forrest County.
The many activities of HAHS members are listed. The newsletter wraps up with stories about Dr. Nollie C. Felts and Thomas Martin Ferguson.
Cindy King will host an April 29th meeting on environmental awareness.
New museum displays include (a) life-size portraits of the Declaration of Independence and (b) an egg exhibit (re: the annual easter egg hunt at Kamper Park).
We spotlight Hattiesburg's connection with the "blues" during our January meeting.
Our programs for this year include Camp Shelby and the Evironment, Pioneer Plots and Tales and an exhibit honoring American History Month.
This issue reports the progress we're making on our book The History of Forrest County.
Notes include progress being made on rebuilding the "Hub" sign, and we announce a special train trip to Hattiesburg from Meridian and Laurel as part of our association with the Mississippi Heritage Trust.
The museum has acquired a replica of the Ellicott Stone used to mark the 31st which runs through Forrest County.
This newsletter includes a story by Andrew R. English entitled "Early Settlers and Keelboat Leaf."
We spotlight a variety of member activities that include the "Program of Thanksgiving for our Rich Heritage" with Mrs. Dean Meador Lambert and Dr. Harvey Poole.
Dr.'s Harvey Poole and Jeanie Gail Bowman will present different stories at Turtle Creek Mall in January, and Terry LaTour will conduct a workshop on the preservation of old papers, books, and photos. The workshop will be held in the McCain Library at The University of Southern Mississippi.
HAHS extends an invitation to a demonstration of welding equipment and gasoline engines by Dr. Milam Cotten and Mr. Joe Spell.
The public is also invited to a display of The Leaf, circa 1830, at the Mississippi Power Company boat barn.
Mr. Bill Villberg, USM Director of Academic Computers, will host "The Information Superhighway" in Johnson Science Tower in September.
The HAHS will also sponser Danny Boyd, a self-taught flintknapper from Forrest County, who will demonstrate his arrowhead making skills in October.
The HAHS will host a "Bill of Rights" exhibit which consists of three kiosks and educational materials.
Otis Robertson's 1898 book Facts about Hattiesburg (3rd edition) is now available for purchase.
The public is also invited to join HAHS members for a tour of the new Polymer Science building at The University of Southern Mississippi.
We spotlight Sherry Moudy Johnson who will share a story line idea on the evolution of "Julie's Journey."
Our museum exhibit, "The Road to Rights--- a Government that Almost Didn't Happen," highlights major milestones of the United States Bicentennial celebration and terminates with the new state of Mississippi's ratification of the Bill of Rights.
The HAHS announces the August tour of The Bay Street Presbyterian Church. David Storment and Dot Holton will provide insight into this church's history.
A museum exhibit entitled "Red, White and Blue" will feature patriotic collectibles and items from HAHS permanent collection.
Paul B. Johnson, III, will present "Mississippi Politics and Politicians I Have Known Best" in March.
The museum's current exhibit, "Bottles and Tins," includes items from dozens of private collections. Some items are old, some new, some are reproductions and all are interesting.
This issue includes a review of the year's activities as reported by HAHS president Jacq Jones.
We include a copy of a 1942 Christmas card that seems appropriate for today's times along with a New Year's wish from Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
We recognize our Partners in Liberty with an exhibit "Scientists and the French Revolution" courtesy of the French Cultural Services in New Orleans.
We extend an invitation to you to join us for a brunchy membership event at the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
Dolls from Jeannette Howell's collection are currently on exhibit in the HAHS Museum. Tentative plans for the year include programs and exhibits on trains, doll dressing and indians.
Join us for a special presentation by William H. "Billy" Robbins, Special Energy Projects with the Mississippi Department of Energy and Transportation.
Also on tap is Nanih Wayia of the Dancing Creek Choctaw Indian Association" with her presentation "Let's Talk Mississippi."
We take a look back at silent movie days. Join us at the Saenger as we place a musical spotlight on old music boxes, player pianos, a pump organ, Edison record players and the mighty Saengar Theater organ.
HAHS activities this year include a Camp Shelby Tour, a museum tour by HHS classes of '27, '28 and '38, and slide programs about the Statue of Liberty.
Polly Scott is on tap to recount the experiences of her father, Caleb King, who was a Mississippi Justice of the Peace under English and Spanish rule and the new United States Constitution.
We list some of the many activities sponsored by HAHS. These include the museum's exhibit "Mississippi Patent Models" from the Department of Archives and History. "Aviation in South Mississippi, How Old House People Do It" was well attended.
We continue group tours of the museum, and critera for the HAHS roster of Historic Homes and other buildings has been adopted and will be used for our spring tour.
Join us for our January planning meeting where we'll discuss (1) search and research, (2) collections and recollections and (3) sources and resources.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions and discover where you can join in planning HAHS' best year.
Join the HAHS fall program and annual business meeting. We'll discuss museum expansion, heritage tour standards and calendar publication. We'll also hear a report from the nominating committee.
This bulletin reports on upgrades to the museum and workroom. Special thanks to members who have worked to create specific museum exhibits.
The first business meeting for 1984 will be held in February in the First Magnolia Federal Meeting Room.
HAHS announces its 12th Heritage Tour. A map of the location of homes on the tour as well as photos of selected homes are included for this driving tour.
Instructions for ordering tickets are included.
This newsletter announces plans for the 1980 Heritage tour. A photographic study of Folk Architecture by Patty Carr Black will also be open especially for HAHS members.
We also announce dates and times for the HAHS bus tour to the Pioneer Pilgrimage which includes a visit to Crooked Creek Church and the Stephen A. Douglas Plantation.
Access Archived web pages
(maintained by James N. Yelverton)