Preserving Sulphur Springs

The old high school is now the working administration building.
The old high school is now the working administration building.  For a 1922 structure, it looks really nice.

Neighbors, I need your help.  More importantly, our town needs your help.

If we have learned anything through the years, we should know that preserving our city’s historical buildings is not an optional task. We need them just as they need us.

In the recent surveys conducted by Ian Lockwood and his team at Toole Design Group, they asked us what was important in our community. We said several things that gathered around a few themes, one of which is to retain our old buildings.  Not just public buildings or commercial buildings, but homes as well.

The Oaks Bed and Breakfast was a sad looking house with great bones. The owners renovated and brought a new life to this home.
The Oaks Bed and Breakfast was a sad looking house with great bones. The owners renovated and brought a new life to this home.  This is an Ashcroft home built in 1937.

In the last century we did some very regrettable things. We tore down some amazing structures such as the J. Reilly Gordon designed bank building that stood at the corner of Church and Jefferson, on the square. We tore down the City Auditorium which became the National Guard Armory and was located at Buford Park. We tore down the Carnegie Library. Recently, we tore down an old Art Deco school building.  We can’t get these back. They are gone forever, never to be enjoyed again.

There is something magical about old buildings. Take for instance the SSISD Administration building. It began its life as the high school. My first time going in there, about ten years ago, I had to go upstairs. The stairs were granite and so worn that they looked bowed. I smiled. My mom and dad had walked up and down those stairs decades ago as young high school kids. I was walking on hallowed ground.

This recent renovation of an Ashcroft house on Oak Street turned out nicely. It now houses a law office. Kudos to the owners!
This recent renovation of an Ashcroft house on Oak Street turned out nicely. It now houses a law office. Kudos to the owners!  This structure dates back to 1918.

So, my question for you is this:  Who would like to join me in establishing some form of non-profit group aimed at preserving the old buildings of Sulphur Springs?  We need hard workers, visionaries, community leaders, donors, idealists and people who love Sulphur Springs.  We need to work in conjunction with other significant groups in Sulphur Springs that are preserving our heritage, such as the Hopkins County Geneology Society and the Hopkins County Historical Society.  We need to work with major stakeholders such as the City, County and SSISD.

We need business men and women to invest in our old buildings.  As my dad would say, “We need to clean up and straighten up” our community.

This law office on Oak Avenue is well-maintained and a great example of a mid-century modern in it's glory.
This law office on Oak Avenue is well-maintained and a great example of a mid-century modern in it’s glory.  It was built in the early 1950s.

For years, Wyvonne McDaniel has been a one woman army trying to educate our citizens and young people about the problems with litter.  God bless her for her efforts and staying true to the course.

With Wyvonne as a selfless example, who is willing to join me in preserving our community?  It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fast, but it is the right thing to do!

This old gas station was recently cleaned up and looks pretty good. I love the lines of an Art Deco structure.
This old gas station was recently cleaned up and looks pretty good. I love the lines of an Art Deco structure; this one was built in the 1930s.

I would be remiss if I didn’t not mention two of the Crown Jewels of historic preservation in our community…the Hopkins County Courthouse and the Sulphur Springs City Hall.  Both are well-maintained, useful and gorgeous!

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