The 1927 Ocean Springs Public School

 

The 1927 Ocean Springs Public School (abstract)

Post WW I growth in the Ocean Springs community, a spillover of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, dictated that a new public school be erected in 1926-1927.  Land for the building on Government Street, at the time a part of US Highway 90, the Old Spanish Trail, was donated by Daniel J. Gay (1870-1949), a local entrepreneur in naval stores, banking, and real estate.  Mr. Gay’s three granddaughters graduated from the school in the 1940s and 1950s.

Charles T. Nolan, an architect from New Orleans, designed the new public school for Ocean Springs, in Jacobethan-English Renaissance style.  The design is typical of the buildings of this era having ornamental castings and parapet copings in load bearing masonry.  This structure is a two-story, T-shaped, flat-roofed, masonry building of approximately 20,600 square-feet.  The low bid for the construction of the edifice, which cost approximately $80,000, was submitted by general contractor, Berry & Applewhite of Columbia, Mississippi.  Local craftsmen who labored on the school building were plumber, Charles E. Engbarth (1885-1962) and Jack Shilling, a plasterer.  Some building materials for the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School were vended by J. O’Keefe and A.P. Moran (1897-1967) of The Ocean Springs Lumber Company.

During the Depression Era, two WPA art commissions for the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School were granted to local artists, Walter I. Anderson (1903-1965) and his brother, James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998).  They respectively created two artistic scenes, “Ocean Springs: Past and Present”, a six panel oil on canvas, and “The Fish and Bird Mural”, a tile mural constructed in four sections.  Both works of art are extant, although Walter I. Anderson’s paintings were removed from the school’s auditorium in 1989, and placed in the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in 1991, were they hang permanently.

In May 1965, the last senior class of the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School graduated.  The high school population moved to its new plant on Holcomb Boulevard.  The Ocean Springs School District Superintendent and his staff have occupied the old public school building since 1974.

In 1987, the 1927 Ocean Springs Public school was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This designation came when five historic districts of Ocean Springs were accepted by the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.  By 1998, the building had began to demolish by neglect to the extent that it was designated as one of “the ten most endangered historic buildings in the State” by the Mississippi Heritage Trust.  The Friends of the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education was formed in February 1999, from alumni and concerned citizens to preserve the structure by raising funds to refurbish it. 

On October 9, 1999, the building was dedicated as The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education by the City of Ocean Springs.  Miss Mary C. O’Keefe (1893-1980) was School Superintendent of Ocean Springs Public Schools from 1929 until her retirement in 1945.  In this capacity, she was the first woman in the State to achieve this status.  During her tenure as School Superintendent, she instilled in the community the value of education, and raised the level of learning in the public schools to a higher level.

A preliminary estimate for a complete refurbishment of the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School is $3,174,000.  This cost is summarized as follows: Exterior repair-$312,000; Auditorium-$450,000; Roof $150,000; Interior remodeling-$1,612,400; Mechanical-$250,000; Electrical- $275,000; and Plumbing-$125,000.

 

1927 OCEAN SPRINGS PUBLIC SCHOOL

After decades of demolition by neglect, one of this city's most venerable landmarks is receiving the attention and long overdue respect.  Thanks to a loyal alumni core and the support of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, there is finally an attempt to preserve the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School, which has been called in recent times the School Administration Building.  It currently houses the administrative offices of the Ocean Springs Municipal School District.

In November 1998, the Mississippi Heritage Trust recognized this building as being one of "Mississippi's 10 Most Endangered Historic Places".  Its image will be in the traveling portfolio of photographs of the other at risk Mississippi structures that will be exhibited across the State and in Washington D.C.  The aim of the traveling exhibit is to focus attention on the diverse architectural heritage of Mississippi and for people to be aware of the need to preserve our architectural treasures.(The Mississippi Press, November 29, 1998, p. 8-A)  Funds from the City treasury as well as the O'Keefe Foundation are providing the finances to arrest the slow destruction of this hallowed structure.  With more community interest and the influx of money, it appears that it is only a matter of time, before a complete restoration of the edifice will be accomplished.  Fund raising committees have been formed thusly initiating the process of acquiring capital for improvements to the seventy-two year old, former educational facility.

1927 Ocean Springs Public School

Early history

The Ocean Springs Public School, which was built in 1926-1927, at present day 1600 Government Street between Ward and Magnolia Streets, by general contractor, Berry & Applewhite of Columbia, Mississippi, replaced the 1900 "Big White School House" on Porter and Dewey.  In May 1926, Architect, William T. Nolan, of New Orleans designed the Jacobethan Style edifice.  Nolan also designed the Bay St. Louis Junior High School and when with the firm of Nolan & Torre, he designed the 1912 Biloxi Senior High School.(Miss. Dept. of Archives & History, Historic Site Survey, 1985 and The Daily Herald, July 5, 1912, p. 8)

The necessity for a new school had been dictated by the influx of new families into Ocean Springs. The 1920s Florida land boom had spread westward as far as Ocean Springs, and the Public High School on Porter was becoming very crowded.(Schmidt, 1972, p. 70)

1923 bond issue

In late September 1923, the electorate of Ocean Springs in a modest turnout defeated a proposal by the Trustees of Ocean Springs Public School to issue $65,000 in municipal bonds to construct and outfit a new public school.  Sixty eight citizens were for the indebtedness, while one hundred twenty nine opposed erecting the educational facility.(The Jackson County Times, October 6, 1923, p. 5)

Proponents of the school bond issue argued that the old school was a fire hazard, unclean, and over crowded.  In addition, some local students were attending Biloxi High School, a modern facility.(The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1923, p. 1)

W.H. Lewis, a former principal of the school, led the opposition to the new bond issue.  His major complaint was the tax increase to the citizenry.  Mr. Lewis expressed this opinion and countered the firetrap issue of the proactive movement in a letter published in the local journal.(The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1923, p. 1)

The bond election

On May 18, 1926, a referendum was held at Ocean Springs to determine if the citizenry would support a bond issue to finance the construction of a new public school estimated to cost $80,000.  Election commissioners, H.M. Russell (1858-1940), L.J.B. Mestier (1883-1954), and J.B. O’Keefe (1894-1954) reported that the proposal passed with 118 votes of the 202 cast or 58% in favor.(The Jackson County Times, May 29, 1926, p. 1)

The Minute Book of the Town of Ocean Springs reflects that 160 citizens were in favor and only 42 opposed.  The Chemical National Bank of NYC bought the 5.5% school bonds.( .(Town of  Ocean Springs Minute Book 1916-1928, p. 369 and p. 383)

In June 1926, a scheme was proposed to move the “Big White School” to the rear of the public school lot, which was situated on the corner of Porter and Dewey.  A new structure would be erected on the footprint of the former building.  It was aspired that work would commence before the start of the September school session.(The Daily Herald, July 1, 1926, p. 10)

This plan did not come to fruition.  Inertia from the school project could not be overcome until May 1927, when Alderman H. Minor Russell (1892-1940) made a motion that passed unanimously.  It read as follows: "The School Board be given the authority to demolish the present school building upon completion of the school term and use all available material therein for the construction of the colored school".(The Jackson County Times, May 14, 1927, p. 1)

The mid-January 1926, pleadings of Ruth O. Keys (1903-1988), the principal of the Ocean Springs Graded School, were instrumental in awakening the White city fathers to the need of the Black community in regards education.  In a letter published in The Jackson County Times to state her grievances and concerns in regards to public education for her race, she related that since moving to the Odd Fellows Lodge the teachers and pupils had been exposed to an unsanitary environment that required teaching seventy to seventy-five pupils in eight grades in one large room.  This solitary room was heated with a lone wood stove, which had to warm cold air entering the space through barn-like portals.  There were no shades on the windows allowing light and heat to make a warm day almost intolerable in the classroom.  Additional handicaps to learning in the Odd Fellows Lodge were the absence of blackboards, maps, and other educational tools destroyed in the fire and had not been replaced.  Also, pupils had to sit on fourteen benches and had the use of only six writing tables.  The old piano in the building was not available to the students.(The Jackson County Times, January 16, 1926, p. 6)

R.T. Vaughn was awarded the contract to demolish the Dewey Avenue school building.  He received $485 for his efforts, and began demolition on June 3, 1927.  By mid-June, the demolition work was progressing rapidly.  The old school building was believed to have been the largest wood-framed edifice on the Mississippi coast when it was built in 1900, by Frank Bourgh (1878-1954+).  The wooden structure had been erected with very fine materials.(The Jackson County Times, June 4, 1927 and June 18, 1927)

Architects

On May 24, 1926, Orey A. Young (1892-1986) and L.J.B. Mestier representing the Board of Trustees of the Ocean Springs school district recommended to Mayor A.J. Catchot (1864-1954) and the board of aldermen present, L. Morris McClure (1884-1940), Joseph A. Wieder (1877-1960), Thomas N. Murphy (1892-1966), and F.E. Schmidt (1877-1954), the new school design of William T. Nolan, a Canadian born architect and engineer, domiciled at New Orleans.  Other submitting plans were J. Usner of New Orleans and Carl Matthes (1896-1972) of Biloxi.  The board with the exception of Alderman Frank E. Schmidt were in favor of the Nolan concept for the new educational facility.(The Jackson County Times, May 29, 1926, p. 1)

The disputed Daniel J. Gay donation

The concept for this school building began in controversy.  The location of the new educational facility was the primary concern of many citizens.  It appears that the Board of School Trustees composed of Orey A. Young, president; Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936), secretary; Charles E. Engbarth (1885-1962), and L.J.B. Mestier were united in their contention that the new school be built on the land donation of the Gay Realty Company.(The Jackson County Times, February 5, 1927, p. 5)

On December 7, 1926, Daniel J. Gay (1870-1949) of the Gay Realty Company had donated Lots 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, and Lot 2 and Lot 3 of the Colonel W.R. Stuart Subdivision in Section 30, T7S-R8W to the City of Ocean Springs.  This land contribution fronting on US 90 or Government Street, was made for the specific purpose of a school building site.  Stipulations in the grant from Mr. Gay authorized a return of the donation to the grantor if the land were not used for a school within ninety days.  It was further specified by the donor that it was to be an educational facility for the Caucasian race only.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 60, pp. 348-349)

Daniel Judson Gay was born in Emmanuel County, Georgia.  In 1902, he found his way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast via the turpentine industry from Florida.  Mr. Gay settled at Biloxi and made his livelihood in banking, real estate, and naval stores production.  He also taught school.(The Ocean Springs Record, May 28, 1998, p. 20)  His son, John Champlin "Champ"Gay (1909-1975), resided at Ocean Springs where he was active in the business community making his livelihood in naval stores, retail hardware, banking, and real estate.  Champ Gay was elected Mayor of this city for three terms (1953-1961 and 1965-1969).(The Ocean Springs Record, June 29, 1995, p. 20)  The three daughters, Gloria G. Hobgood, Estelle G. Williams, and Jonne G. Pollina, of  Mayor Gay and his wife, Jennie Tucker Heiss "Tuck" Gay (1909-1996), are graduates of the 1927 Ocean Springs High School.  They finished the institution in 1947, 1949, and 1957 respectively.  

Many citizens of Ocean Springs believed that the Gay school site gift was to far from town.  It was also located on a busy thoroughfare, US 90, the Old Spanish Trail.(Schmidt, 1972, p. 70)   Probably as a result of the popular support for the old school site, on January 5, 1927, the city government ordained that a new school be erected on the site of the former high school, which was situated on East Porter, by passing Ordinance No. 186.(Town of Ocean Springs Minute Book, 1916-1928, p. 433) 

Orey A. Young, president of the Board of School Trustees, and fellow board members went forward with their decision to build the new school on Government.  In a letter presented to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at the recess meeting of January 12, 1927, Mr. Young explained that since a contract with Berry & Applewhite had been signed and construction had commenced at the Government Street school site, any change in the location of the school would increase the cost to the taxpayer and delay the opening of the new school.(Town of Ocean Springs Minute Book 1916-1928, p. 436)

At its council meeting of January 24, 1927, the Board of Aldermen authorized the city attorney to file an injunction against the School Board and contractor to halt construction of the new school.(Town of Ocean Springs Minute Book 1923-1934, p. 435)

The 1927 Ocean Springs High School site controversy was finally settled on February 1, 1927, when the town council rescinded Ordinance No. 186 by unanimously passing Ordinance No. 187, allowing the Government Street school facility.(Town of Ocean Springs Minute Book, 1916-1928, p. 441 and The Jackson County Times, February 5, 1927, p. 5, c. 3)  

The Mayor of Ocean Springs at this time was Antonio J. Catchot (1864-1954).  There were four wards led respectively by aldermen: Frank E. Schmidt (1877-1954), Ernest G. Pabst (1883-1927), Joseph A. Wieder (1877-1960), H. Minor Russell (1892-1940), and Thomas N. Murphy (1882-1966), Alderman at Large.(Schmidt, 1972, p. 135)     

The new school building

When classes began on September 12, 1927, students entered a symmetrical, T-shaped, two-story masonry structure covered by a flat roof hidden by a parapet.  In the opinion of Brian Berggren, who surveyed the 1927 Public School in the 1980s, for the Mississippi Department of Archives & History, the building is architecturally significant as an example of the architectural eclecticism of the 1920s, and as a manifestation of the continuation of the bond between the city of Ocean Springs and New Orleans into the Twentieth Century.(Miss. Dept. of Archives & History, Historic Site Survey, 1985) 

The 1927 Public School, when completed, had fifteen rooms to accommodate both the elementary and high school students.  Two of these rooms served as a science laboratory and library.  In addition to offices for the principal and his assistants, there was a large auditorium for general assemblies and entertainment.  With balcony, the auditorium could seat five hundred and fifty people.  A stage and projecting room afforded opportunities for theater and visual education in this assembly hall.  A cafeteria provided lunches for those pupils who desired to eat on the premises.(The Jackson County Times, September 10, 1927, p. 1, c. 5)

The "1900 Big White School" on East Porter was demolished by R.T. Vaughan for $485 in June 1927.(The Jackson County Times, June 4, 1927, p. 5, c. 1)   At the time, it was reputed to be the largest wood-frame building on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and built with fine materials.  The lumber salvaged from this edifice were utilized to erect a new Black school.(The Jackson County Times, June 18, 1927, p. 3, c. 1)

General contractor, local artisans and building material suppliers

General contractors, Ben B. Berry and I.C. Applewhite, of Silver Creek, Mississippi, were awarded the contract by the school board to erect the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School over eleven competitors.  Bids ranged from their low of $63,549.16 to the high bid by the Stewart Lumber Company of $75,200.(The Daily Herald, July 30, 1926, p. 2)

Although the offices of general contractor, Berry & Applewhite, were situated at Columbia, Mississippi, several local craftsman and building suppliers worked on the building and provided construction materials.  In January 1927, Charles E. Engbarth (1885-1962) was awarded the plumbing and heating contract.  His bid of $6590 was $110 lower than local competitor, James Colligan (1888-1951).(The Jackson County Times, January 15, 1927, p. 1, c. 6)   

Jack Schilling and son, Herbert Schilling, masons of Shreveport , Louisiana performed the interior plaster and exterior stucco work on the structure.  They finished all the school rooms in white plaster, which in contrast to the walnut woodwork gave a most pleasing result.(The Daily Herald, May 9, 1927, p. 4 and The Jackson County Times, September 10, 1927, p. 1, c.5)

Local building materials suppliers who furnished construction materials for the new high school were: J. O'Keefe-cement, lime, plaster, gravel, and sand and the Ocean Springs Lumber Company (A.P. Moran, manager)-lumber, brick, and lime.  Out of town vendors were: The Hammond Brick Company-Baton Rouge and Hammond, Louisiana; Acme Building Supply Company of Meridian, Mississippi-millwork; and the Hamilton Brothers Company of Gulfport-roofing materials.(The Jackson County Times, September 10, 1927)

The first faculty

Professor S.A. Chandler, a native of West Point, Mississippi, was the first principal of the new school.  His faculty consisted of the following educators: W.H. Lewis, Miss Barbee, Miss Amy Quick, Miss Margaret Dunshie, Miss Francis Jolly, Miss Mary O' Keefe (1893-1980), Miss Salome Bailey (Watkins), Miss Florence Morrow (1877-1936), Miss Irene Hunter, Mrs. Virginia T. Lee (1901-1986), Miss Hadley, and Miss Fannie Wise.  Miss Corrine McClure (1887-1961) was the music teacher and Mrs. Stockard ran the cafeteria.(The Jackson County Times, September 10, 1927, p. 1, c. 3)

Affiliated school

By June 1923, the graduates of the OS Public School were accumulating enough credits to enter college without taking entrance examinations or taking remedial courses of instruction.  This is an affiliated school.(The Daily Herald, June 6, 1923, p. 5)

The 1927 football team

The 1927 Ocean Springs High School football squad was called the Panthers.(The Jackson County Times, October 15, 1927, p. 3,)   When they reported for training in September 1927, Coach William H. Cole related to the press that his gridsters were light of weight, but heady and fast.(The Jackson County Times, September 4, 1927, p. 5)

The Ocean Springs Panthers' starting eleven was composed of: Frank C. Beuhler (1909-1985), LE; Theo Bechtel Jr. (b. 1909), LT; Judlin H. Girot (1912-1970), LG; Leroy White, C, Schuyler Poitevent (1911-1978), RG; F.J. Lundy, RT; Henry Endt (1910-1989), RE; Carl Dick, LH; Elwin Friar (1910-1970), RH; Bernard Van Court (1910-1976), FB and Captain; and Richard Hrabe (1910-1979), QB.(The Jackson County Times, October 29, 1927, p. 2, c. 4)

The 1927 football team, in addition to its small size, was handicapped in that they did not have a home field to play their games.  Their record was 2 wins, 1 loss, and 2 ties.  Victories came at Pascagoula (7-0) and Escatawpa (24-6) while the teams' only defeat was by the Long Beach squad (0-6).  Hard fought ties were in contests against Bay St. Louis (0-0) and Biloxi (12-12).(The Jackson County Times, October 1, 1927, p. 3, c. 5; October 8, 1927, p. 2, c. 2; October 29, 1927, p. 2, c. 4; and November 5, 1927)       

The War Memorial

In the front yard of the 1927 Ocean Springs High School building, there is a 1927 War Memorial.  It was erected, by American Legion Ladnier Post 42 to memorialize the communities' efforts during WW I, especially those of Emile Ladnier Jr. (1894-1918).  Ladnier gave his life on a battlefield in France on November 7, 1918 while a member of the US Army.  A committee composed of T.N. Murphy (1892-1966); Edward Brou; Oscar Davis; and J.B. 'Ben' O'Keefe, was selected to get the project completed.  Architect William T. Nolan of New Orleans designed the monument.(The Daily Herald, August 25, 1927, p. 3 and September 17, 1921, p. 1, c. 7)

The War Memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day [November 11th] 1927.  Captain Ellis Handy (1891-1963), Commander of Legion Post 42, headed up the program.  Featured speaker for the solemn occasion was Captain F.J.V. Le Cand (1841-1933), a prominent citizen and Civil War veteran.  Prior to the dedication ceremony on the high school grounds, the Biloxi Boys’ Band led a large parade of Legionnaires, Coast Guard officers and sailors, the local fire company, Boy Scouts, and hundreds of automobiles from the L&N square to the school grounds.(The Jackson County Times, November 12, 1927, p. 3)

In the 2004, the Ladner Plaque was removed and cleaned by the Ocean Springs Public Works Department.  It was reinstalled in October 2004 with members of Legion Post 42 in attendance.(The Ocean Springs Record, October 21, 2004, p. A1)

Fatal Accident

In late December 1927, A.G. Foster (1863-1928) expired from injuries, which resulted from a fall from the second story of the school building.  Foster, a native of Iowa, had been cleaning windows.  He had sold peanuts in town for many years before going to work for the school.(The Daily Herald, January 2, 1928, p. 2)

Landscaping

In late February 1928, local landscape architect, James S. Bradford (1884-1963), donated his labor and time to supervise the planting of decorative shrubbery on the grounds of the new public school.  He acquired the plants from the Brodie Nursersy at Biloxi and sold them to the school board at his cost.  The school board admonished the local citizenry that “any cattle found on the school grounds will be promptly impounded and the owner held strictly accountable for any damage done to the plants and shrubbery growing thereon.” (The Jackson County Times, March 3, 1928, p. 3)

1928 Chautauqua

In the afternoons and evenings of April 19-21, 1928, the Radcliffe Chautauqua presented lectures, plays, magic, and music at the Ocean Springs Public School.  Dr. Anton Hrabe (1881-1943) and Stuart C. Spencer (1867-1959) spearheaded the cultural event.(The Daily Herald, April 16, 1928, p. 16)

The first graduation class-May 1928

On May 31, 1928, the following graduates were awarded diplomas from the Ocean Springs High School by School Board member, Louis Jean-Baptiste Mestier: Theodore Bechtel Jr. (b. 1909), Frank C. Beuhler (1909-1985), Seth McEwen (1909-1986), Sarah Stewart, and Leroy White.(The Jackson County Times, June 2, 1928, p. 3, c. 3)

Although two others students in the 1928 graduation class had the same scholastic average as Frank C. Beuhler, he was named Valedictorian of the class since he had a better attendance record.  Local jeweler, Phil N. Kreutz (1869-1934), donated two gold medals to the public school.  One was awarded to Beuhler as Valedictorian and the other to Catherine Carver, a third grader, for her perfect attendance record.(The Jackson County Times, May 26, 1928, p. 2, c. 4)

In April 1928, several members of the Senior Class had distinguished themselves at the Literary Field Meet in Biloxi.  Theo Bechtel Jr. won second place in Biology and Frank Beuhler was awarded fourth place in English and Rhetoric.  Ocean Springs High School placed third among the competing educational institutions of the Gulf Coast.  Lower classmen, Francesca Spencer (1911-1971) and Schuyler Poitevent (1911-1978), won gold medals for their knowledge of American History and Current History.(The Jackson County Times, April 28, 1928, p. 2)

The indigenous educator, Miss Mary Cahill O'Keefe

Who else to instill in the local populace the importance of education than a native daughter, Miss Mary C. O'Keefe (1893-1980), who was born on the northeast corner of Porter and Jackson in 1893.  Her grandfather, Edward O'Keefe (1815-1874), an Irish immigrant, settled at Ocean Springs in the late 1850s.  Miss O'Keefe attended local elementary schools and was a 1913 graduate of Newcomb College at New Orleans.  In the pursuit of knowledge and her love for travel, she took additional courses during the summer months at the University of Chicago, Columbia University (1925 and 1929), and the Sorbonne (1924) in Paris.  Before returning to Ocean Springs in 1927 to teach English, Miss O'Keefe had lectured in French and English at high schools in Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana and at Biloxi.         

Mary C. O'Keefe was elected Superintendent of Education at Ocean Springs in 1929, the first woman in Mississippi to be honored.  Her charge was the elementary, high school, and Black schools of the local public school system.  In this capacity, Miss O'Keefe was able to awaken the community to her philosophy that education was the key to a better life.  She was also able to raise the academic standards of the public school system to higher accreditation levels.

By 1933, Miss O’Keefe had raised the academic standards at the Ocean Springs Public School that its elementary department achieved the highest score in the State.  It made a score of 1063, when 1000 was considered perfect.(The Daily Herald, February 21, 1933, p. 6)

Elizabeth Lemon Roberts, a former student, remembers Miss O’Keefe with great respect and gratitude for creating the atmosphere, which was present in the school building and on the playgrounds.  It could never be misunderstood or forgotten: to learn was the purpose for being in school.(Roberts and Lemon, 1996, p. 138)

In March 1930, Miss O’Keefe was honored with membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, a national honorary educational fraternity.  A salient qualification for membership in Delta Kappa Gamma was extraordinary achievements in the field of education.  Miss O’Keefe had demonstrated outstanding leadership as during her short tenure as School Superintendent, the Ocean Springs Public School had: increased enrollment; the elementary school had been reclassified from B to A; the high school had become fully accredited; and the school district had also been enlarged.  At this time, Mary C. O’Keefe held memberships and offices in the following organizations: Jackson County Teachers Association, vice-president; Harrison-Stone-Jackson Junior College, trustee; Jackson County High School Accrediting Commission, member; Examining Board of Jackson County, member; Newcomb Alumnae Coast Club, president; Junior Red Cross of Jackson County, chairman.(The Jackson County Times, March 30, 1940, p. 4)

Miss O’Keefe retired from her career as an educator prior to the fall academic session of 1945.  She remained in the Ocean Springs community maintaining her residence on West Porter until she sold it to the Catholic Charities Housing Association in February 1970.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 371, p. 506)  Her remaining days were spent as a tenant of the Villa Maria.(The Ocean Springs Record, January 24, 1980, p. 3, c.1)

S.S. Wall from Decatur, Mississippi replaced Miss O’Keefe as School Superintendent.  He came from Pascagoula.(The Jackson County Times, July 28, 1945, p. 1)

The Anderson family art works

 Although the Great Depression of the 1930s wrought economic woes upon the citizenry of America, the New Deal programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) promoted work for the masses and gave hope for better times.  One of the positive effects upon the Ocean Springs Public School were two Public Works of Art commissions granted to Walter Inglis "Bob" Anderson (1903-1965) and his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984) and James McConnell "Mac" Anderson (1907-1998). 

Between 1933 and 1934, Peter and Mac Anderson labored on the "Fish and Birds", a tile mural created in four sections.  It is extant and situated in the foyer of the building.(The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, 1992, p. 7 and The Jackson County Times, June 9, 1934, p. 1)

Contemporaneously, Bob Anderson created his mural, "Ocean Springs: Past and Present", in the school's auditorium.  The six panels composing the oil on canvas mural were painted in Anderson's highly stylized mode.  They were glued to the plaster walls of the auditorium and removed in 1989, by a professional art curator.(The Jackson County Times, June 9, 1934, p. 1 and The Ocean Springs Record, January 18, 1989)

"Ocean Springs: Past and Present" was placed on oaken, canvas stretchers and relocated to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art on Washington Avenue for opening day in May 1991.(The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, 1991, pp. 2-3)

            It is interesting to note that Agnes “Sissy” Grinstead Anderson (1909-1991), the spouse of Bob Anderson, taught first grade in the Ocean Springs Public School system for twenty-three years.  She retired in May 1970.(The Ocean Springs Record, May 21, 1970, p. 16 and The Mississippi Press, March 8, 1991, p. 3-A)

The Lyon Consolidated School students

The 1937-1938 school year commenced with the addition of seventy-five students from the Lyon Consolidated School at Hilda, a small community west of Gautier on the Old Spanish Trail.  The eastern boundary of the Ocean Springs School District was set at the underpass on the Old Spanish Trail.  Four school busses were utilized to transport pupils from rural areas into Ocean Springs.(The Daily Herald, September 10, 1937, p. 5)

WWII

In March 1943, the students of the Ocean Springs Public School with the ninth grade being the vanguard raised $2811.80 for the war effort.  Three jeeps were purchased by the school and donated to the government though the sale of stamps and bonds by the student body.(The Jackson County Times, April 10, 1943, p. 1)

1949 additions

In October 1949, a building was acquired from Camp Shelby through the War Assets Administration program.  The lumber in the former Army structure was valued at approximately $10,000 and cost the public school only $150.(The Daily Herald, October 20, 1949, p. 5)

The 1952 additions

As the population of Ocean Springs increased during and after WWII, the 1927 Ocean Springs School building was insufficient to serve the increased student enrollment.  It was apparent that refurbishment and a modern gymnasium for the school plant and a new elementary school and Colored School were essential to the community.  The enrollment in the White school in 1945 was 388 while the Black student population was 127.  By 1959, these numbers had increased to 1125 and 275 respectively.(The Ocean Springs News, August 20, 1959., p. 1)

In 1952, the “annex”, now the oldest portion of the Taconi School, adjacent to the 1927 School, was commenced as a one-story masonry and steel building with six-classrooms and a cafeteria.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 31, 1952, p. 1).  It was later named for Nolan Edward Taconi (1910-1971), who became superintendent of the of Ocean Springs school system in September 1950, after S.S. Wall resigned in April 1950.(The Jackson County Times, April 7, 1950)  Mr. Taconi expired in his office on March 8, 1971.  He was a native of Bay St. Louis and had earned his masters' degree from Mississippi Southern College.  Mr. Taconi was married to Opal Faulkenberry (1915-1980).  Mrs. Taconi also taught in the Ocean Springs school system.  Their son, N.E. Taconi Jr. (1939-1998) was a graduate of Ocean Springs High School and Mississippi State University.(The Daily Herald, March 9, 1971, p. 1, c. 3 and p.  2, c. 5)

Also at this time, the 1927 Ocean Springs High School received additions.  They consisted of a two-story, masonry and wood gymnasium (now called the Taconi Elementary Gym), shop building-band room, and new cafeteria.  In addition, a one-story masonry and wood school building for the Black community was erected.  (The Gulf Coast Times, January 31, 1952, p. 1)  The Colored School was later named for Elizabeth Smith Keys (1892-1976), a long time community educator.

In 1993, fund raising began to renew the Taconi Elementary Gym.  It was refurbished in 1995 with community raised funds.(The Ocean Springs Record, May 20, 1993, p. 1)

The 1927 Ocean Springs Public School closing

After the 1927 Public School closed in May 1965, with former Jackson County School Superintendent, Perry Gautier, as its principal, upper level students attended the new public high school situated on Holcomb Boulevard.  It was funded by a $630,000 school bond issue, which had been approved in 1963.  The new high school's, award winning design was created by local architect, William R. Allen Jr. (1911-1976).  Oden Construction Company of Hattiesburg, Mississippi was the General Contractor.  The building was first viewed by the public on August 22, 1965.(The Ocean Springs News, August 19, 1965, p. 1

The 1927 Public School served the 9th grade and became the Junior High School until a new one was built in 1974 on Government (now the North building of the Ocean Springs High School).  It was designed by Slaughter & Smith of Pascagoula with W.F. Mosley as general contractor.(school dedication plaque)  The original completion date was agreed to be August 15, 1974.  After much delay and controversy with School Board, the building was completed in late 1974.(The Ocean Springs Record, November 21, 1974, p. 1, cc. 1-4)

1970 Bond issue

In December 1970, a $1.5 million school bond issue was put to the ballot.  If passed, it would have demolished the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School.(The Ocean Springs Record, December 3, 1970, p. 1)

The National Register of Historic Places

In November 1987, the Mayor of Ocean Springs was notified by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History that the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service of the Department of Interior.(letter to Mayor Chester MacPhearson dated November 3, 1987)  The structure was later made a Mississippi Landmark.(Alice P. Duckett, August 16, 1999)

Gone but not forgotten

A glimmer hope for the salvation of the old structure appeared in late 1988, when The Historic Ocean Springs Association (HOSA), a business oriented civic group, which was founded in 1989, to enhance and protect the character of Old Ocean Springs, became interested in the preservation of the 1927 Public School in late 1988.  Wynn Seaman, executive director and others from HOSA, flew to Starkville, Mississippi to observe the restoration of the old high school there.  Lagniappe from this trip was that John McRae, dean of the architectural school at Mississippi State University, suggested that some of his architectural students come to Ocean Springs and survey the old public school.( (The Ocean Springs Record, September 22, 1988, p. 1 and January 5, 1989, p. 2)

The New City Library proposal

In 1992, there was some popular support from the Library Board for refurbishing the 1927 Ocean Springs School and utilizing it as a new city library.  The Board of Aldermen was given an estimate of $2.1 million dollars to renovate the structure for this purpose.  The City government decided to enlarge the existing library on Dewey Avenue while keeping expenditures on the project under $500,000. (The Ocean Springs Record, October 1, 1992, p. 1)

Demolition by neglect and recent relief

Years of neglect, especially that of the roof, has caused major damage to this old structure.  It appears that neither the School Board nor City of Ocean Springs took responsibility for the general maintenance of the building since classroom instruction was suspended in 1973.

Damages to the structure in the wake of Hurricane Georges in late September 1998, has been the catalyst for current activity.  On October 13, 1998, Carl Germany, a local architect and former student of the Ocean Springs Public School system, was hired by the City government to assess the condition of the old school building, which currently houses the Ocean Springs Public School Administration.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Bk. 26, p. 279)  

Mr. Germany concluded from his survey that running water has been the primary source of physical harm to the structure.  Leaks from the roof, gutters, and downspouts have permeated the edifice and caused widespread damage especially in the auditorium.  There has been a major structural failure on the southwest corner of the building as the piers have subsided from massive amounts of water coming from the roof through vents and downspouts.  The Saucier Brothers of Biloxi, a roofing contractor, were hired to place a temporary patch on the roof.  This project cost $22,000 and was funded with insurance money paid from the Hurricane Georges damage claim. A new roof will cost approximately $150,000.(Germany, April 22, 1999)

In early November 1998, The O'Keefe Foundation awarded the City of Ocean Springs $10,000 for the repair and refurbishment of the old school building.  On December 1, 1998, Mayor Ainsworth presented The Board of Alderman with the O’Keefe grant.  It was placed in an escrow account.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 319)  Also in November, Alice P. Duckett, Chairperson of the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission, requested that the City government apply for a Certified Local Government (CLG) grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 351)  This grant for improvement to the 1927 Ocean Springs School/School Administration Building were awarded in March 1999, and announced at the meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on April 6, 1999.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 592)

The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education

In recent years, efforts of local citizens led by Elizabeth Lemon Roberts, who with other former students of their venerable school had appreciated Miss Mary C. O'Keefe's leadership and guidance while obtaining a fine education, began lobbying for the preservation of their former school building.  They also wished the old educational facility to be named for Miss O'Keefe.  Mrs. Roberts circulated a petition espousing this and collected over a thousand signatures from the community.

Ms. Roberts and Betty Magee of the Ocean Springs Art Association presented the petition and request to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on December 15, 1998.  Alderman at Large Jalanivich made a motion, which was approved by the all aldermen present to name the 1927 Ocean Springs School building in honor of Superintendent Mary C. O'Keefe.(The City of Ocean Springs Minute Bk. 26, p. 394)

      Citizens respond

“Concerned Citizens For the Restoration of the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education” was organized in February 1999 under the leadership of Ward 4 Alderman Larry Cosper and Alderman-at-large Dan Jalanivich.  This group meets the 3rd Monday of each month in the old school building on Government Street.  Its membership is composed of people from the Ocean Springs Art Association, Ocean Springs High School alumni, Main St., HOSA, the Chamber of Commerce, Walter Anderson Players, the Ocean Springs school administration, YMCA, the Ocean Springs  Historic Preservation Commission, and genuinely interested citizens.  The restoration group has appointed the following chairpersons: grant writing-Jean Erickson; public relations-David Clark; and fund raising-Sue Willoughby.(Cosper, April 22, 1999)

Recent happenings

In early April 1999, the Mississippi Heritage Trust held their annual meeting at Biloxi.  The 1927 Ocean Springs Public School had been named in late 1998, to its list of “the ten most endangered historic buildings in the State”.  During the April assembly of the Mississippi Heritage Trust chose the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School as the site to open the their Biloxi conference.(The ocean Springs Record, April 15, 1999, p. 1)

As of late, with the survey of the structure by Mr. Germany complete, the City government has began to approve funds for primary repairs.  Bids to advertise for the removal of asbestos from steam pipes and the crawl space beneath the main flooring were proposed by Alderman Cody in March 1999.  Carl Germany, AIA, was to develop the necessary specifications for the asbestos abatement project.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 520)  Power Management of Jackson, Mississippi has been retained for $32,000 by the City to do the design work for this environmentally sensitive task.(Germany, April 22, 1999)

Dedication

On October 9, 1999, building named Mary C. O’Keefe Center of Art and Culture

The 1952 additions

As the population of Ocean Springs increased during and after WWII, the 1927 Ocean Springs School building was insufficient to serve the increased student enrollment.  It was apparent that refurbishment and a modern gymnasium for the school plant and a new elementary school and Colored School were essential to the community.  The enrollment in the White school in 1945 was 388 while the Black student population was 127.  By 1959, these numbers had increased to 1125 and 275 respectively.(The Ocean Springs News, August 20, 1959., p. 1)

In 1952, the “annex”, now the oldest portion of the Taconi School, adjacent to the 1927 School, was commenced as a one-story masonry and steel building with six-classrooms and a cafeteria.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 31, 1952, p. 1).  It was later named for Nolan Edward Taconi (1910-1971), who became superintendent of the Ocean Springs school system in September 1950.  Mr. Taconi expired in his office on March 8, 1971.  He was a native of Bay St. Louis and had earned his masters' degree from Mississippi Southern College.  Mr. Taconi was married to Opal Faulkenberry (1915-1980).  Mrs. Taconi also taught in the Ocean Springs school system.  Their son, N.E. Taconi Jr. (1939-1998) was a graduate of Ocean Springs High School and Mississippi State University.(The Daily Herald, March 9, 1971, p. 1, and p.  2)

Also at this time, the 1927 Ocean Springs High School received additions.  They consisted of a two-story, masonry and wood gymnasium (now called the Taconi Elementary Gym), shop building-band room, and new cafeteria.  In addition, a one-story masonry and wood school building for the Black community was erected.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 31, 1952, p. 1)  The Colored School was later named for Elizabeth Smith Keys (1892-1976), a long time community educator.

In 1993, fund raising began to renew the Taconi Elementary Gym.  It was refurbished in 1995 with community raised funds.

Desegregation Plan

(see The Ocean Springs News, August 12, 1965, p. 3)

The 1927 Ocean Springs School closing

After the 1927 Public School closed in May 1965, with former Jackson County School Superintendent, Perry Gautier, as its principal, upper level students attended the new public high school situated on Holcomb Boulevard.  It was funded by a $630,000 school bond issue which had been approved in 1963.  The new high school's, award winning design was created by local architect, William R. Allen Jr. (1911-1976).  Oden Construction Company of Hattiesburg, Mississippi was the General Contractor.  The building was first viewed by the public on August 22, 1965, with over four thousand persons in attendance.(The Ocean Springs News, August 19, 1965, p. 1 and August 26, 1965, p. 1) 

The 1927 Public School served the 9th grade and became the Junior High School until a new one was built in 1974 on Government (now the North building of the Ocean Springs High School).  It was designed by Slaughter & Smith of Pascagoula with W.F. Mosley as general contractor.(school dedication plaque)  The original completion date was agreed to be August 15, 1974.  Much delay and controversy with School Board.(The Ocean Springs Record,November 21, 1974, p. 1)

The National Register of Historic Places

In 1987, the 1927 Ocean Springs School was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This designation was made when five historic districts of Ocean Springs were accepted by the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.(Alice P. Duckett, May 17, 1999, and City of Ocean Springs Historic Resources Survey-Update, 1996, p. 16)

Mississippi Landmark

In April 1989, Elbert Hilliard, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History announced that the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School had been designated a Mississippi Landmark by the Permit Committee of his organization.  This honor is only given to State properties that are salient to the history of Mississippi because of their architecture or cultural and or historical significance.  An edifice that is a Mississippi Landmark is protected from demolition or alteration by the Antiquities Laws of the State.(The Ocean Springs Record, April 13, 1989, p. 2)

The New City Library proposal

In 1992, there was some popular support from the Library Board for refurbishing the 1927 Ocean Springs School and utilizing it as a new city library.  The Board of Aldermen was given an estimate of $2.1 million dollars to renovate the structure for this purpose.  The City government decided to enlarge the existing library on Dewey Avenue while keeping expenditures on the project under $500,000. (The Ocean Springs Record, October 1, 1992, p. 1) 

Demolition by neglect and recent relief

Years of neglect, especially that of the roof, has caused major damage to this old structure.  It appears that neither the School Board nor City of Ocean Springs took responsibility for the general maintenance of the building since classroom instruction was suspended in 1973.

Damages to the structure in the wake of Hurricane Georges in early October 1998, has been the catalyst for current activity.  On October 13, 1998, Carl Germany, a local architect and former student of the Ocean Springs Public School system, was hired by the City government to assess the condition of the old school building, which currently houses the Ocean Springs Public School Administration.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Bk. 26, p. 279)  

Mr. Germany concluded from his survey that running water has been the primary source of physical harm to the structure.  Leaks from the roof, gutters, and downspouts have permeated the edifice and caused widespread damage especially in the auditorium.  There has been a major structural failure on the southwest corner of the building as the piers have subsided from massive amounts of water coming from the roof through vents and downspouts.  The Saucier Brothers of Biloxi, a roofing contractor, were hired to place a temporary patch on the roof.  This project cost $22,000 and was funded with insurance money paid from the Hurricane Georges damage claim. A new roof will cost approximately $150,000.(Carl Germany, April 22, 1999)

In early November 1998, The O'Keefe Foundation awarded the City of Ocean Springs $10,000 for the repair and refurbishment of the old school building.  On December 1, 1998, Mayor Ainsworth presented The Board of Alderman with the O’Keefe grant.  It was placed in an escrow account.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 319)  Also in November, Alice P. Duckett, Chairperson of the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission, requested that the City government apply for a Certified Local Government (CLG) grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 351)  This grant for improvement to the 1927 Ocean Springs School/School Administration Building was awarded in March 1999, and announced at the meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on April 6, 1999.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 592)

The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education

In recent years, efforts of former students of the 1927 school, led informally and spiritually by Elizabeth Lemon Roberts, who with classmates of her generation, that had appreciated Miss Mary C. O'Keefe's leadership and guidance while obtaining a fine education, began lobbying for the preservation of their old school building.  They also wished their venerable educational facility to be named for Miss O'Keefe.  Mrs. Roberts circulated a petition espousing this and collected over one thousand signatures from the community supporting the O’Keefe nomenclature.

Ms. Roberts and Betty Magee of the Ocean Springs Art Association presented the petition and request to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on December 15, 1998.  Alderman at Large Jalanivich made a motion, which was approved by the all aldermen present to name the 1927 Ocean Springs School building in honor of Superintendent Mary C. O'Keefe.(The City of Ocean Springs Minute Bk. 26, p. 394)

Citizens respond

“Concerned Citizens for the Restoration of the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education” was organized in February 1999 under the leadership of Ward 4 Alderman Larry Cosper and Alderman at Large Danny Jalanivich.  This group meets the 3rd Monday of each month in the old school building on Government Street.  Its membership is composed of Ocean Springs High School alumni, Ocean Springs Art Association members, Main St., HOSA, the Chamber of Commerce, Walter Anderson Players, the Ocean Springs school administration, YMCA, the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission, and genuinely interested citizens.  The restoration group has appointed the following chairpersons: grant writing-Jean Erickson; public relations-David Clark; and fund raising-Sue Willoughby.(Larry Cosper, April 22, 1999)

Recent happenings

In early April 1999, the Mississippi Heritage Trust held their annual meeting at Biloxi.  The 1927 Ocean Springs High School had been named in late 1998, to the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s list of “the ten most endangered historic buildings in the State”.  During the April assembly of the preservation group, the 1927 Ocean Springs School was selected to open the conference.(The Ocean Springs Record, April 15, 1999, p. 1)

As of late, with the survey of the structure by Mr. Germany complete, the City government has begun to approve funds for primary repairs.  Bids to advertise for the removal of asbestos from steam pipes and the crawl space beneath the main flooring were proposed by Alderman Cody in March 1999.  Carl Germany, AIA, was to develop the necessary specifications for the asbestos abatement project.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Book 26, p. 520)  Power Management of Jackson, Mississippi has been retained for $32,000 by the City to do the design work for this environmentally sensitive task.(Carl Germany, April 22, 1999)           

Fund Raising

            Life members ($1000): Dr. Thomas Handy and Jane Handy, spouse; Eula Webb Switzer; and Mr. and Mrs. Jeff O’Keefe.

Year 2000*

$500,000-VA/HUD thru Senator Trent Lott

$300,000-Dept. of the Interior match grant thru Senator Lott

$100,000-JXCO, Ms. Board of Supervisors

$75,000-OS Municipal School District

$75,000-City of Ocean Springs

$20,000-City of Ocean springs-asbestos removal

$10,000-O’Keefe Foundation

$5,000-MDHA matching grant

$5,000-City of Ocean Springs matching grant

$3,000-Life memberships

$1,093,000 Total*

* Britt Sandblom, Treasurer’s Report (undated)

 

2001

Le Bal au Chocolat I

A fund raiser for the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center was held at the Ocean Springs Civic Center on May 5, 2001.  Music by the Biloxi Jazz.  Coast restaurants were to compete in five categories of chocolate creations: cookies, cake, candy, bar, and fantasy.(The Mississippi Press, April 25, 2001, p. 4)

Ocean Springs School District Administration Building

Located on the southeast corner of Government Street and Holcomb Boulevard.(see The Bay Press, March 29, 2002, p. 3)

2002

In early January 2002, city aldermen approved the design of Carl Germany, AIA, for the renovation of the auditorium to a modern performing arts center.  Construction bids for the project will be advertised shortly.  The Mary C. O’Keefe fund raisers have secured $1.4 MM in State, Federal, and local grants.(The Sun Herald, January 6, 2002, p. A-2)

In March 2002, the Board of Aldermen pledged an additional $300,000 to the O’Keefe Cultural Center.  This money with the $50,000 already budgeted for the project will greatly assist in acquiring matching grant funds, especially from the US Department of Interior.  Approval was also granted to Donovan Scruggs, city planner, to apply for a CAP, Capital Improvement Revolving Loan, through the auspices of the Mississippi Development Authority.  CAP loans applicants may receive up to $500,000 repayable in twenty years at 3% interest.(The Ocean Springs Record, March 14, 2002, p. 1)               

Phase I

In April 2002, Fletcher Construction Company of Pascagoula, Mississippi was awarded the contract for Phase I of the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center.  The building contractor will focus on renovating the school’s auditorium and converting it into a community theatre at a cost of about $1.635 million dollars.  Monies secured for the project to date are: CAP Loan-$500,000; HUD Economic Development Initiative-$500,000; Department of the Interior Save America’s Treasures-$299,000; Mississippi Arts Commission Building for the Arts-$250,000; Jackson County, FYI 2002-$50,000; Jackson County, FYI 2003-$50,000; O’Keefe family funding-$10,000.(The Ocean Springs Record, April 4, 2002, p. A-1 and A-3)

 

Le Bal au Chocolat  II

Held at the Ocean Springs Civic Center on April 5, 2002.  Music by Gerald O’Neil and The Today Band.

Construction

Began in early June 2002 with demolition of the old stage portion of the school’s auditorium.                           (The Ocean Springs Record, June 6, 2002, p. A-1)

Opening

Planned for September 5, 2003.(The Bay Press, July 25, 2003, p. 1)

Official Dedication

 

Administrative Assistant

Candice du Plessis hired in August 2003.  1997 Ocean Springs High School graduate. BFA in theater from William Carey College at Hattiesburg, Mississippi.(The Ocean Springs Record,, July 31, 2003, p. C1 and The Bay Press, August 22, 2003, p. 2)

 

REFERENCES:

Books

Elizabeth L. Roberts and J.K. Lemon, Ocean Springs: The way we were, 1900-1950, (Ocean Springs Rotary Club: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-1996).

Charles E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1972).

Pamphlets

City of Ocean Springs Historic Resources Survey-Update, (Kemp Associates, Ltd.: Meridian, Mississippi-1996).

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Walter Inglis Anderson, (Dolphin Press: Long Beach, Mississippi-1991).

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, James McConnell Anderson, a retrospective exhibition, (Gulf Printing & Advertising: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-1992).

Journals

The Bay Press, “New central office connects past to present”, March 29, 2002.

The Bay Press, “Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center to open Sept. 5”, July 25, 2003.

The Bay Press, “Featured artist: Candace du Plessis”, August 22, 2003.

The Daily Herald, “Will Rush Work On New School”, July 5, 1912.

The Daily Herald"Body of Soldier Arrives Home", September 17, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, June 6, 1923.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, July 1, 1926.

The Daily Herald“Ocean Springs School Bids”, July 30, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, May 9, 1927.

The Daily Herald, "Dedicate Ocean Springs School", August 18, 1927.

The Daily Herald, "School nears completion", August 18, 1927.

The Daily Herald, "Ocean Springs", August 25, 1927.

The Daily Herald, "Dedicate Ocean Springs School", September 17, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Fatal fall From Window”, January 2, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs to Have Chautauqua”, April 6, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, February 21, 1933.

The Daily Herald, “Coast Artists Are Painting Scenes For PWA Art project”, February 2, 1934.

The Daily Herald, “School At Ocean Springs Begins Term; Gain In Enrollment”, September 10, 1937.

The Daily Herald, “Plans For Ocean Springs School”, October 20, 1949.

The Daily Herald"Ocean Springs", September 9, 1952.

The Daily Herald"Educator Taken By Death", March 9, 1971.

The Gulf Coast Times"New School Bids Asked: Building Ready September", January 31, 1952.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Architects Drawing of New Ocean Springs School Buildings", February 28,1952.

The Gulf Coast Times"Name Successful School Bidders: ready For Sept.", March 13, 1952.

The Gulf Coast Times"Will Occupy New School This Week", January 8, 1953.

The Jackson County Times, “More Endorsements of School Bond Issue”, September 29, 1923.

The Jackson County Times, “W.H. Lewis Opposes Bond Issue”, September 29, 1923.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, October 6, 1923.

The Jackson County Times, “Many bidders seek Ocean Springs bonds", December 26, 1925, p. 3.

The Jackson County Times, “A School Building Is The Need Of Negroes Of Ocean Springs”, January 16, 1926.

The Jackson County Times, “Proceedings of the Board of Aldermen”, May 29, 1926.

The Jackson County Times"Citizen Opposes Changing School Site", August 7, 1926.

The Jackson County Times"Local Plumber Gets School Plumbing Contract", January 15, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", February 5, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Proceedings of the Board of Alderman", May 14, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", June 4, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", June 18, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", September 4, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Early School Days Recalled", September 10, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"New School Building is One of Mississippi' s Finest", September 10, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"School Faculty Largest Ever", September 10, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Ocean Springs Football Squad Holds Bay St. Louis", October 1, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Ocean Springs 12, Biloxi 12", October 8, 1927.

The Jackson County Times, "School Notes", October 15, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Football Team Wins Game At Pascagoula", October 29, 1927.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", November 5, 1917.

The Jackson County Times“Large Crowd Attends Unveiling Of Memorial”, November 12, 1927.

The Jackson County Times, “Beautify School Grounds With Plants and Shrubbery”, March 3, 1928.

The Jackson County Times“Ocean Springs Wins Third Place In Literary Meet”, April 28, 1928.

The Jackson County Times"Public School Pupils Receive Gold Medals", May 26, 1928.

The Jackson County Times, "Graduation Of Five Ends High School Term", June 2, 1928.

The Jackson County Times“Local Artist Highly Praised By Officials”, June 9, 1934.

The Jackson County Times, “Miss Mary C. O’Keefe School Superintendent Honored By Fraternity”, March 30, 1940.

The Jackson County Times, “O.S.H.S. Over The Top With Three Army Jeeps”, April 10, 1943.

The Jackson County Times, “S.S. Wall Elected Superintendent of Local Public Schools”, July 28, 1945.

The Jackson County Times“S.S. Wall resigns; Coach Clay Boyd appointed Supt. for remainder of term”, April 7, 1950.

The Mississippi Press"Sissy Anderson earns place in local history", March 8, 1991.

The Mississippi Press"Springs building added to endangered list", November 29, 1998.

The Mississippi Press"Heritage Trust working to save historic buildings", April 9, 1999.

The Mississippi Press, “Arts Center work moves ahead”, February 20, 2001.

The Mississippi Press-Ocean Springs Press”,  “Renovate the building –eat chocolate”, April 25, 2001.

The Mississippi Press, “Springs aldermen OK $350,000 for O’Keefe center”, March 13, 2002.

The Mississippi Press, “Center Stage”, September 3, 2003, p. 1-A.

The Mississippi Press, “O'Keefe group seeks funding”, August 30, 2004 p. 1-A.

The Ocean Springs News“Near One-Half Million School Construction To Be Dedicated In Two Ceremonies Saturday”, August 20, 1959.

The Ocean Springs News“Desegregation Plan”, August 12, 1965, p. 3.

The Ocean Springs News"New Facility to be Shown to Public This Sunday", August 19, 1965.

The Ocean Springs News, “Four Thousand Attend Open House at New High School”, August 26, 1965.

The Ocean Springs Record“Three Teachers to Retire”, May 21, 1970.

The Ocean Springs Record, “1.5 million dollar bond issue Saturday”, December 3, 1970.

The Ocean Springs Record"Supt. Taconi funeral today", March 11, 1971.

The Ocean Springs Record"School Board Views Facilities", August 26, 1971.

The Ocean Springs Record"School Board Accepts New JH", November 21, 1974.

The Ocean Springs Record“Mary C. O’Keefe”, January 24, 1980.

The Ocean Springs Record"Alumni Keep Spirit Alive", November 1, 1984.

The Ocean Springs Record“Historic Old High School May Be Restored”, September 22, 1988.

The Ocean Springs Record“Plans Begin to Restore Old High School”, January 5, 1989.

The Ocean Springs Record, Landmark Named”, April 13, 1989.

The Ocean Springs Record“Aldermen agree to expand current library building”, October 1, 1992.

The Ocean Springs Record“City-wide flea market raises funds for Taconi Gym”, March 18, 1993.

The Ocean Springs Record“Taconi Project continues”, May 20, 1993.

The Ocean Springs Record"Sous Les Chenes", June 29, 1995.

The Ocean Springs Record"Sous Les Chenes", May 28, 1998.

The Ocean Springs Record"Old high school named to most endangered list", April 15, 1999.

The Ocean Springs Record-Independent“Old high school might make grade”, January 11, 2001.

The Ocean Springs Record, Aldermen add $300K to O’Keefe center fund”, March 14, 2002.

The Ocean Springs Record, “O’Keefe project to start”, April 4, 2002.

The Ocean Springs Record, “O’Keefe project takes shape”, June 6, 2002.

The Ocean Springs Record, “O’Keefe work on schedule”, July 18, 2002.

The Ocean Springs Record, “du Plessis named to run O’Keefe center”, July 31, 2003.

The Ocean Springs Record, “O’Keefe center opening set”, July 31, 2003.

The Ocean Springs Record, “O’Keefe project gets blessing”, August 8, 2002.

The Ocean Springs Record, “O’Keefe center to open”, September 4, 2003.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ladner Plaque", October 21, 2004.

The Sun Herald“Workers to remove asbestos from building”, July 26, 1999.

The Sun Herald, “O.S. gives cultural center OK”, January 6, 2002.

The Sun Herald, “Spadework”, July 28, 2002, p. H-1.

The Sun Herald, “Pro repertory Company ready to return to Coast”, July 28, 2002, p. H-1.

The Sun Herald, “O.S. arts center plans groundbreaking ceremony”, August 5, 2002, p. A-6.

The Sun Herald, “Ocean Springs defies endangered status”, August 6, 2002, p. C-2.

The Sun Herald“Mary O’Keefe center opens doors, August 31, 2003, p. H-1.

Personal Communication:

Ted Bechtel, April 21, 1999.

Carl Germany, April 22, 1999.

Larry Cosper, April 22, 1999.

Arlene White, April 29, 1999.

Alice P. Duckett, August 16, 1999