Naval Reserve Center
Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)
The distinctive Naval Reserve Center, with its ship-like façade, opened in 1949 as a training facility for the Navy and Marine Corps. Complete with porthole windows and rounded ends, the two-story head house fronts a collection of Butler buildings, common to the World War II era. Jackson architect John L. Turner designed the building, which housed more than 300 sailors and Marines at any given time. Post-World War II reserve centers are becoming increasingly rare and, among those still in existence, Jackson’s Center is unique for its nautical motif.
The Reserve Center building featured offices, a drill hall, classrooms, medical facilities, bathroom and shower areas, a kitchen galley, and even a dental office. The nautical detailing of the head house continues on the interior, as evidenced by curved walls and glass, molding in the shape of ropes, and a compass pattern inlaid into the lobby floor. Even portions of the wood moldings emulate the waves of the ocean. At times, signal flags were placed on the roof, as if reservists were at sea.
The Naval Reserve Center was very active until the summer of 2000 when operations were moved to the Meridian Naval Air Station. Upon closing, ownership of the buildings reverted back to the State of Mississippi. The buildings have seen limited use in recent years and have fallen into a state of deterioration. The state has access to grant money from the Department of Archives and History to do exterior stabilization. However, the Department of Finance Administration will not approve the expenditure of the money if it is not a complete restoration since there is no planned use for the building.
2017 Update – In Progress
The State of Mississippi rehabilitated the building, but two of the original rear wings of the structur, unfortunately, had to be removed for the new addition to the building. The State has not yet appropriated funds to complete the interior of the building. When complete, the facility will be used to house Mississippi Department of Archive and History’s Storage Center.