Greensboro Historic District
The Greensboro Street Historic District is a highly cohesive and architecturally/historically significant collection of primarily residential structures. The district is important as containing perhaps the highest concentration of residences of the economic and civic leaders of Starkville from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries. The original Greensboro Street Historic District was written in 1982 and included 35 contributing buildings in the district with a period of significance of 1860-1920. This Update and Boundary Increase Amendment expands the boundaries of the Greensboro Street Historic District to include 20 additional houses and outbuildings. The Update and Boundary Increase Amendment also changes the end date of the Period of Significance to circa 1960 in order to illustrate the best example of a century of residential growth patterns and vernacular architecture than any similar street in the City of Starkville.
Originally know as Boardtown, Starkville was settled in the early 1830's and became the seat of Oktibbeha County in 1835, although the Mississippi Legislature did not incorporate it as a town until 1837. The town apparently functioned as only a small business and legal center, for, while the country grew rapidly in the years prior to the War Between the States, Starkville continued to be but a village of fewer than two hundred people in 1860. Following the war, however, the town experienced a marked increase in population. This growth may have been due not only to the decline of the agricultural aristocracy but also to an effort by local residents to prevent total takeover of the local government by Carpetbaggers. If this was their ploy, it was to a degree successful, for despite the presence of a Union garrison in Starkville through the 1860's, the Republicans were never quite able to wrest control of the city government from local Democrats.
It was during the late 1860's and early 1870's that the oldest houses now extant on Greensboro began to appear, although the road had been a major route leading west from the town of Greensboro, which, until 1871, was the county seat of Choctaw County, and even after the demise of Greensboro, the road continued to be know by that name until most of it was incorporated into U.S. Highway 82. Today, only a small portion of this important early road remains apart from Highway 82 within Starkville.
The Greensboro Street Historic District contains many excellent examples of the architectural styles common to the area, spanning the different periods of the district's growth.
The earliest of the styles is the Greek Revival 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.
The house at 404 Greensboro Street features the use of Greek, Italianate, and Gothic motifs to produce and unusual eclectic ensemble. Several Queen Anne houses were built between 1880 and the turn-of-the-twentieth century, but the buildings that had by far the most obvious visual impact on the neighborhood were the Colonial Revival and Four-Square houses. Their pretentious use of mass, Doric or Tuscan columned verandahs, fan-lighted entrances, and other classical details mirrored the prosperity enjoyed by the community from 1900 through the First World War.
By 1920, Bungalow Style residences began to dot the neighborhood; versions of the style were both large and small, brick and frame. By the mid-1920's, the popularity of Bungalow Style was almost entirely transplanted by that of the 'period house" in Late Gothic Style. One of the most outstanding structures within the district is the Old Starkville High School building constructed in 1927 in the Jacobethan Style. It is one of only a few buildings of this design in Mississippi.
After World War II, many of returning veterans came to Starkville to attend Mississippi State College. The residents of the neighborhoods responded by building garage apartments and other outbuildings, duplexes, and subdividing larger tracts of land to build small rental houses to provide lodging for these students and their families. The outbuildings generally reflected the general style of the house with which it was associated and the new construction of this period reflecting the classical characteristics of the neighborhood. Families also continued the practice of subdividing lots for their children to provide them the opportunity to live on Greensboro Street and these houses were also consistent in style and scale to the houses on the street.
The residents of Greensboro have played key roles in the political activities of Starkville through the years, providing three mayors, three aldermen, a judge, a sheriff, and a state legislator. Others were leaders in the fields of business and education: William H. Reynolds (404 Greensboro) founded Reynolds Insurance Agency in 1888; Colonel A.G. O'Brien (410 Greensboro) established the Starkville Banner newspaper in 1903; William Henry Gunn (425 Greensboro) was a prominent druggist and planter; Frank Cooper (502 Greensboro) was President and Chairman of the Board of Peoples Bank; J.B. Van Landingham (510 Greensboro) founded Van Landingham Lumber and Construction company and was responsible for the building of many residence in Starkville; Grady Imes (512 Greensboro) was owner and editor of the Starkville News; J.A. Lamb (520 Greensboro) was Superintendent of Starkville Public Schools, 1906-1913; John William Overstreet (406 Greensboro) was Superintendent of Starkville Public Schools, 1933-1951; Randle C. Carpenter (306 was professor of engineering at Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College (then, Mississippi State College, now Mississippi State University) from 1901-1953; Christopher R. Stark (400 Greensboro) was librarian from 1900-1908 and later Professor Emeritus of Math at Mississippi A&M; and B.M. Walker (517 Greensboro) was President of Mississippi A&M.
A known archaeological site is present within the district boundaries. A mound, approximately five feet high and 100 feet in diameter, is located on the property of 524 Greensboro Street. It has not been tested to determine significance.