Our Town Quitman: First Impressions

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

The First Impressions program we've heard about recently has been used in Quitman, and now changes are underway.

"We've enlisted Mississippi State Community Action Team," said Peggy Doggett, a member of Quitman Auxiliary. "They're working with us in different areas just to have a better interest and just to beautify our town."

A park is being built near the east entrance of Quitman, and other things are in the works, too.

"It's my hometown for many generations. I have deep roots here," said Sissy Williams of the Quitman Beautification Committee. "It's a beautiful place. People used to say 'it's a great place to be from' and I say 'it's a great place to live.'"

There are even plans for Quitman's oldest building, the Kirkland Building, built in 1905. It has been a hardware store, a grocery store, and a used furniture store. The plan is to turn the building into an arts and entertainment center that will include a coffee shop and deli, along with a book store and a stage for plays and musical performances.

An old home in Quitman is being turned into a museum. It is known to some as Gavin house and to others as McNair house. It will become a museum with a park that will showcase Clarke County.

"We want people to come here and say, 'well that's Enterprise. I've never been to Enterprise. Look at all the beautiful homes in Enterprise.' Or we'll have a section on Shubuta or Pachuta," said Jim Potuk, president of Historic Clarke County.

Then there's the courthouse. The original Clarke County Courthouse was built in the 1800s and then burned down during the Civil War by Union soldiers. In 1912, the current courthouse was built and was modernized in the mid-1900s to bring in air conditioning and indoor wood paneling. Now they are renovating the courthouse to bring it back to its original appearance.

The ceiling was sent to California to be pressed to duplicate patterns from the original ceiling from the early 1900s.

"This is part of Clarke County, the historic part of Clarke County. A lot of history has been right here in this old courthouse," said Dist. 5 supervisor Tony Fleming. "The condition of the building, it got to where we couldn't use the court room, and we went and acquired some money through archives and history and preservation money to do this renovation."

"When I started working in the clerk's office, we used this court room every day, but of course it had been remodeled and so-called modernized then," said Beth Jordan, circuit clerk.

Search for grants for the renovations of the Clarke County Courthouse began back in the 1990s. Right now, the renovations are on track to be complete by the end of this year.

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