Hinds County Armory
Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)
Completed in 1927 for the Mississippi National Guard, the Hinds County Armory is believed to be the oldest surviving 20th century armory in the state. It may be the only building from that era intentionally built as an armory. The National Guard used the building as a training facility for nearly 50 years. The armory was one of the primary mobilization sites for Mississippi troops who served in World War II. Many returning soldiers mustered out in the armory. It is one of the state’s finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture and one of the few secular buildings employing the style.
The Hinds County Armory is a two-story brick building on a limestone water table. A massive tower with a pyramidal roof and four pyramidal pinnacles is centered on the main façade. The main entrance to the building features a large arched opening with concrete surround which has a large multi-light transom over double entrance doors. Corner pilasters on all four corners of the building are capped with pyramidal pinnacles, and centered on each side façade is a smaller, dual-pinnacled tower with an arched door opening. The interior features a large drill hall with fixed bleachers on three sides and a small stage. Classrooms and storage rooms are found on the second floor above the offices.
The building was damaged in Jackson’s 1979 Easter Flood and has not been used since. The roof leaks, and the building continues to suffer from water damage and a lack of maintenance. Located on the state fairgrounds, the Mississippi Fair Commission has no current plans for the structure. Like many public entities which own historic buildings, the Fair Commission is unlikely to invest funds in the building absent a plan for use. As recently as July 2007, the building was called “useless.” It is clear that the current owners do not intend to invest any money in the structure. Public support is needed to encourage the Fair Commission to at least stabilize the structure until a new use can be developed; otherwise, this unique historic structure could be lost forever.
2017 Update – In Progress
Restoration work was set back by a serious fire in Jul 2013, but thanks to a major grant from MDAH, exterior restoration and stabilization were completed in 2013. The roof was replaced with a new, metal roof, windows were updated, the brick was restored, the inside was cleaned, and exterior stabilized. This was done in hopes of being leased to a developer and with eyes on Phase II funding.