By GWEN SISSON
The Greensboro Historic District has played a significant role in the daily life of Starkville residents since the town began.
With tales of historic political figures and names that resonate with the history of Mississippi State University, the Greensboro District has made and impact on the lives of a variety of people who have passed through Starkville.
J.B. Van Landingham built many homes in the Greensboro District and lived there for about 20 years as a young man.
Upon Van Landingham’s return to Starkville from his World War II Navy Commission, he built the home at 519 Greensboro Street, where he and his family lived. In 1946, the one-and-a-half story, side-gable roof, frame residence with a Tuscan-columned portico served as the young family’s home. As he built his contracting business, Van Landingham continued to make an impact on the architectural character of the District.
“Mr. VanLandingham’s early twentieth century influence on the architectural character of Greensboro Street is impressive,” said Michelle Jones with the Historic Preservation Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and resident of the Greensboro Historic District. “The homes he built are distinctive and continued the tradition of compatible new construction each decade of the neighborhood from 1870-1960.”
The Greensboro Historic District could be considered a walking tour of Southern architectural history, showcasing excellent examples of styles common to the Southeast, spanning over 100 years. Considered one long residential street, the Greensboro District has 62 structures, more than 55 of which are architecturally and/or historically significant.
According to the Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation website, “the earliest of the styles is the Greek Revival (evident in the houses at 410, 413, and 522 Greensboro Street) that continued to enjoy popularity in this area after it had declined in most other regions. Reflecting the area’s period of economic recovery during the Reconstruction Era, these houses do not possess the high-style classical decoration found in some of the county’s antebellum residences, but primarily limit the Greek detail to simple columned porches and tripartite frontispiece entrances.”
Other architectural styles include Greek, Italianate and Gothic motifs, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Four-Square and Bungalow.
The SCNF website states the earliest structures along the street date from the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. “They were widely spaced from one another and displayed a combination of vernacular versions of Greek Revival and Eclectic architecture. Queen Anne houses followed these styles, as the area began to take on more of the density of a neighborhood, rather than that of a rural road. At the turn-of-the-century, Colonial Revival dominated the neighborhood’s fashion, but that style also gave way by the 1920’s to Bungalows and Period Revivals.”
For more information about the Greensboro Historic District, go to http://www.historicstarkville.org .