Three Warren County landmarks earn state historic markers

Published 5:50 pm Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has selected three Warren County landmarks for state historic markers.

The markers, which are approved by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, recognize significant people, events, and movements across Mississippi.

The markers are funded by sponsoring groups that work with the department to create the text for each marker, which will be fabricated and installed at the expense of the requesting group.

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To qualify, a site must have unique historical significance to the local community, the state, or the nation.

Two of the Warren County markers recognize sites in Vicksburg — Bowmar Elementary School on Bowmar Avenue and the home Dr. Jane McAllister on Main Street— and the site of Fort St. Pierre on Mississippi 3.

Sponsored by the Vicksburg Warren School District, Bowmar Elementary was built in 1939 by the Jackson architectural firm of Overstreet and Town and is notable as one of Mississippi’s earliest and most intact examples of International Modernist architecture, a style introduced to the state by Overstreet and Town between 1937 and 1941.

The school was built by the Federal Works Agency and is designated a Mississippi Landmark property.

Architect A. Hays Town later opened his own office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is well-known for his designs.

The McAllister home marker is sponsored by the city of Vicksburg.

Dr. Jane McAllister was born in Vicksburg in 1899. Her father worked as a mail carrier, and her mother was a schoolteacher.

McAllister graduated high school at 15, and four years later graduated from Talladega College in Alabama in 1919, where she became the youngest Talladega graduate by earning her degree at the age of 19.

In 1929, she became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

She taught psychology and education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee, Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and other schools until her retirement in 1970.

Dr. McAllister died in January 1996, at the age of 96.

“I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving,” said Yolande Robbins, who knew McAllister.

“She was a real history maker. Her second cousin was Dr. Bettye Gardner, and we grew up together, so we spent a lot of time at Dr. McAllister’s house and we both not only knew Dr. McAllister, but her father and mother and sister and brother.”

Located on Mississippi 3 south of International Paper, the Fort St. Pierre site is one of two from the French and Indian period to be designated National Historic Landmarks in Mississippi.

The state marker for the site is sponsored by the Fort St. Pierre Tercentenary Planning Commission, which is planning the 300th anniversary of the fort’s construction north of the Redwood community.

Frederick L. Briuer, a retired research archeologist with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and chairman of the tercentenary planning commission, said the organization received a grant to pay for the marker, adding the Mississippi Department of Transportation has agreed to install the marker on Mississippi 3. He said MDOT officials have also agreed to install signs on the highway alerting tourists to the site.

“We have written the text for the marker and it has been edited and approved by Archives and History,” he said. “Mayor (George) Flaggs has agreed join us for the unveiling, which we will have in January. That will be the start of our observance.”

Built on a bluff overlooking the Yazoo River, Fort St. Pierre stayed until 1729, when the Yazoo and Chickasaw Indians attacked the fort and massacred the soldiers and colonists who lived near it.

The Indians captured some women and children who were later rescued by the Choctaw Indians.

The area around the site is also home to earthworks built by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War to protect the Yazoo.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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