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Old 11-11-2022, 11:00 PM
 
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Just watched an excellent old "American Experience" (PBS) episode on the 1927 Mississippi flood.....I tried googling, but can't see whether the old Percy house is still standing in the Greenville area......I suspect it isn't, but does anybody have info on this?.....curious about the exact location, what's there now (if house is gone), and any other details......thanks a lot
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Old 11-12-2022, 05:17 PM
 
Location: PNW, CPSouth, JacksonHole, Southampton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azdr0710 View Post
Just watched an excellent old "American Experience" (PBS) episode on the 1927 Mississippi flood.....I tried googling, but can't see whether the old Percy house is still standing in the Greenville area......I suspect it isn't, but does anybody have info on this?.....curious about the exact location, what's there now (if house is gone), and any other details......thanks a lot
The house is long-gone. One of my friends, has a portion of the base of one of the columns. If I'm remembering correctly, the house was renovated, or maybe re-styled, into an "Italian Villa", which was the rage, in the '20s. Presumably, the house had been a magnificent Victorian, originally. But the collapsed columns from which they scavenged, were "Deadly-dull Doric", so probably dated from the renovation.

The column fragment was collected sometime in the late 1960s, on a pilgrimage to "Old Greenville" (near the river), by that friend and a grandmother and a sister (they resided in the fashionable newer area, which, while fast-disappearing, is still offers a wealth of interesting things: https://deltamagazine.com/leap-of-fa...in-greenville/)

The grandmother had offered-up, as a paragon, author William Alexander Percy. The children read Percy's book, 'Lanterns on the Levee'. I paraphrase those recollections: "I knew something was wrong with Percy, as soon as I read the part about Will going to Harvard... or Yale... or Princeton... whatever... He went-on, for page after page, about the other boys not liking him, and "cutting" him, which appears to have been some sort of game of snubbing. He sounded like a Sixth Grade girl. This was my ROLE MODEL? I also started realizing things about my grandmother.

"And I started realizing things about my sister. She was hysterical, that the Percy Home was not being preserved. She actually wrote to the President, and got some sort of a letter, in return. You can imagine what it said. Decades later, I'd learn that my sister was already being prescribed heavy psychotropic drugs. And it's clear, now, that she already had full-blown Histrionic Personality Disorder, Manic Depression, Bipolar... Naturally, my Grandmother's solution to everything (in her Louisiana Brahmin accent), was, "Have uh Cocola, honeh, thattuh make it bettuh." (The Cocolas, the Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream, the Stouffer's Spinach Souffles, the Lime Sherbet with a dash of Gin, and, later, the hourly coffees - sugared and with creamer, c'est naturelle, the honey-sweetened Constant Comment at teatime, all these providing a nonstop blood glucose spike, assaulting their brains - explaining why the sister never passed 'Math 100' - among many other awful things)

"Then, a New Orleans friend, whose family "made their fortune" under Huey Long (aka, organized crime), knowing I was from Greenville, gave me a copy of, 'Rising Tide': https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49376.Rising_Tide This was before Greenville girl Julia Reed took-over New Orleans society: https://flowermag.com/julia-reed-cel...s-new-orleans/ , and this friend, a typical Loyola type, had been a tad condescending - regarding me as some sort of odd little country person who could, somehow, afford Tulane and a Saint Charles Avenue address. Thank heavens for that book! Greenville outranked New Orleans. ...past tense, of course. It's over, for both places.

"I'm SURE that Will Percy, that insufferable son, is the one who raised a fuss, until Leroy relented and renovated the house. According to 'Rising Tide', Mr. Percy and Mr. Eisenberg founded and shaped Greenville. And the town was another magnificent product of Norman/Jewish collaboration. First Presbyterian sits at One Goldstein Circle, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

"Problem was, Mr. Percy had made an unsuitable marriage. You remember the mother, 'Buggy', in 'Ya Ya Sisterhood'? It was like that. The children had insurmountable problems. The town suffered, I think, because of that. The riffraff (poor whites), and "jobs", got in (same thing happened to Natchez), and look at the place, now."

Yes. Look at the place, now. As best I can determine, the house sat at the intersection of Percy Street and South Broadway. https://www.google.com/maps/@33.4057...i8192?hl=en-US And it appears to have been a Beaux-arts Neoclassical affair, rather than Victorian. The columns were Ionic, and then (if the two houses shown, when I do an image search of "William Alexander Percy Home", are the same one), the hysterical little son, stripped-off the grandeur, and (no-doubt seeing himself as Mississippi's Ogden Codman - or Edith Wharton) made it "tasteful" and Doric.

Last edited by GrandviewGloria; 11-12-2022 at 05:39 PM..
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Old 11-12-2022, 05:34 PM
 
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There's a picture of the house on this site https://mississippiencyclopedia.org/...s/leroy-percy/
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Old 11-13-2022, 02:04 PM
 
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The house was demolished in 1967.
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Old 11-13-2022, 03:22 PM
 
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thanks to all for the replies...... @GrandviewGloria : what a great post!....."Stouffer's Spinach Souffle"!
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Old 11-23-2022, 10:19 AM
 
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Default A(nother) Greenville lament

After the Percy home and others on that stretch of Broadway were demolished, some apartments were built on the site. They deteriorated over time and were ultimately abandoned. Fortunately, they were razed earlier this year and a new housing development is being built. I saw the progress being made yesterday. A block-long stretch of blight was removed.
The only reason I go to Greenville is to take Mom to one of the casinos. Looking at Greenville is like looking at an age- or diseased-ravaged body at a open-casket funeral. It’s not the same healthy being you remembered - accurately or inaccurately - when you were younger. For example, I saw houses on Main Street - one of Greenville’s “historic” neighborhoods - that were clearly vacant and dilapidated. To think some multi-millionaire will restore any of these houses to their early-to-mid 20th century glory is a pipe dream. There may be a few shabby-genteel families remaining in the neighborhood, but once they’re gone, nobody is going to replace them.
I like old buildings, but I’m not a sentimentalist. No developer is going to restore a historic structure no matter how grand it once was unless there is money to be made. I would rather look a clean vacant lot than one occupied by a rotting hulk. I used to belong to a Facebook group for people who grew up in mid-20th century Greenville, when the town was at its most prosperous. Some would post pictures of old buildings in their prime and wish someone would buy them and fix them up. One was the old Elks Building on Washington Avenue. That building has been abandoned for decades. Well, nature finally took care of it in the form of a strong wind.
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