Gulfport Historical Marker Dedication
October 18, 2014
Gulfport Leaders Unveil Historical Marker at Dan Russell, Jr. U.S. Courthouse
GULFPORT, MS -- On October 18th, Gulfport civic leaders honored the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) preservation of the historic Gulfport High School by unveiling a historical marker at the state-designated landmark, which now helps to frame the Dan Russell, Jr., US Courthouse complex.
An unveiling and dedication ceremony held at the Russell Courthouse Annex in Gulfport featured GSA Regional Administrator Torre Jessup, Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes, Mississippi Department of Archives and History officials, and distinguished alumni of Gulfport High School (GHS) representing the school’s period of operations from 1924-1976.
Gulfport resident Rusty Ramage convened a committee of GHS alumni to raise funds and obtain approvals and permits for the historical marker. The aluminum-cast marker commemorates the 1923 high school building, which the GSA rehabilitated and adapted for reuse during construction of the Russell Courthouse in 2003. The two-story high school building is adjacent to the courthouse tower and houses the U.S. Attorney and Federal Probation Services offices.
Rusty Ramage said, “We are very excited and honored to provide our Mississippi Department of Archives and History ‘Old Gulfport High School’ Historical Marker as an ‘unconditional gift’ to the US government. The marker was privately funded through individual donations and will proudly display the original name and history of this wonderful landmark.”
“We are honored to accept this gift in tribute to GSA’s ongoing commitment to sustainable community development,” said Torre Jessup, GSA Regional Administrator for the Southeast Sunbelt Region.
The 1924 construction of the historic high school building was completed with bonds totaling $175,000 on pastoral land purchased by the city of Gulfport for $20,000. Designed by distinguished Mississippi architect Noah Webster Overstreet, the richly patterned red brick building features massive brick entrance piers and a sculptural entablature. The school operated as a high school until 1976 and as a junior high school from 1977 to 1999. The State of Mississippi declared the structure a historical site in 1999. In 2000, GSA collaborated with local officials to incorporate the building into its construction of a new federal courthouse. Upon completion of the renovation project in 2003, GSA had reinforced the structure with concrete and steel, demolished a center theater for daylight harvesting and construction of a courtyard, replicated critical historic accents, and procured many of the building materials from within the Gulfport region.
According to Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes, “The original Gulfport High School building has served as a cornerstone in our community for the past 90 years. It is not only meaningful to those who attended school in this historic red brick building but its preservation as part of the Dan M. Russell, Jr. United States Courthouse facility exhibits the value our city places on this property. This landmark structure serves as a reminder of our rich heritage and history as well as our desire to preserve cultural treasures for future generations.”
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