Mississippi Department of Archives and History votes to demolish historic building, library named for beloved author Eudora Welty

Published 3:52 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History board has voted to demolish a 78 year-old building that started out as a Sears department store and was later renovated as a public library dedicated in the name of  Eudora Welty, one of the state’s most beloved writers.

MDAH made the decision on Friday, voting to demolish the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson.

This decision comes after the library’s relocation earlier this year due to storm damage sustained in 2017.

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Originally constructed in 1946 as a Sears department store, the building later transformed into the downtown public library in the late 1980s and was dedicated to renowned Mississippi author Eudora Welty. However, by 2023, the structure had deteriorated significantly, prompting the city to cease maintenance efforts. Consequently, the Jackson/Hinds Library Board opted to shift the library to a new site.

The MDAH Board of Trustees sanctioned the demolition permit during its quarterly session. Following the demolition, plans are underway to establish a public park and green space in its stead. MDAH Board President Spence Flatgard expressed optimism about the redevelopment, stating, “We have the opportunity to replace an abandoned building with a beautiful public park that will be an asset to our Capital City.”

Despite the loss of the historic building, MDAH reassured its commitment to collaborating with the city of Jackson and the Jackson/Hinds Library Board to address the situation. Proposed measures include allocating grant funds for the adaptive reuse of a downtown historic building to accommodate the library’s needs, ensuring continued access to vital literary resources for the community.