Mississippi Industrial College
Holly Springs, Mississippi (Marshall County)
Founded in 1905 on the outskirts of Holly Springs, the Mississippi Industrial College trained young African Americans for 77 years under the sponsorship of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell established the school “for the literary and industrial training of the Negro youth, to train young men and women in Christian ideals, to furnish a practical education, and to make of them better citizens.” Between 1906 and 1982, when the college closed, the school expanded from its two original buildings – Catherine Hall (1906) and Hammond Hall (1906) – to include ten structures, including dormitories, classroom buildings, teachers’ houses, and a gymnasium. Today, four historic buildings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Mississippi Industrial College Historic District, stand unused and deteriorating on the west side of Highway 78, across from Rust College. Some stabilization work on the campus also threatens the buildings’ architectural integrity.
2015 Update – No Progress
At the request of the owners of the property, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the complex was designated a Mississippi landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on November 14, 2002.
Holly Springs-based Rust College purchased the property on which the Industrial College stands. On July 22, 2015, the South Reporter of Holly Springs published a story titled “City Demolishes Old Structures,” in which the historic College was mentioned as a possible future victim. The article states, “several old buildings owned by the City of Holly Springs are being demolished to make room for better use of property. Clay Moore, Public Works Director, remarked ‘It is all part of cleaning up the city to make it look better – city pride.’ Mayor Kelvin Buck said, ‘If you ride the town, you will find we have a lot of buildings that just sit and sit.’ He named Mississippi Industrial College buildings, the compress building in the Depot District, and the Old Colonial Building as examples. He continued, ‘I do think we have to consider, do we have $50,000 to sink into these publicly-owned buildings or can we use the space for something else? Could we use the space for parking or other things?'” The time for action is now. Mississippi Industrial College’s days are clearly numbered.