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Mississippi Industrial College

Mississippi Industrial College

circa 1880

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.

2017 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. A representative from Rust Collge expressed optimism about the future for the old Industrial College campus and its potential restoration and adaptive reuse. The Rust representative also stated that Rust had received a large Federal grant to be put toward the Industrial College campus. A later conversation with Dr. Ishmell Edwards who oversees the Mississippi Industrial College Campus revealed that the college has already used most of the Federal Grant money for stabilization.  Rust is currently in the process of getting bids on some much needed new roofs a and windows for the old campus’ buildings.

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