JACKSON, Miss. – A Mississippi neighborhood is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Belhaven is located in the capital city, its home of the Eudora Welty house, which made it on the National Register in 2004, and the Fairview Inn, which made in on the Register in 1979.
Bill Gatlin, National Register Coordinate for the Department of Archives and History tells me construction of the neighborhood dates back to the early 1900s.
“The western part of the district was a little older, you can still pre war development there, but as you head east you see post war development and those houses tend to be smaller,” said Gatlin
“Belhaven was the neighborhood that the movers and shakers lived in, this is where they went. The nineteen 30s, 40s, and 50s this is where the politicians, the businessmen, the doctors, the lawyers. This is where they lived. You really had a concentration of power.”
He says Belhaven was one of the first modern housing developments in Jackson as well as Mississippian but certainly the largest. Today the district holds about 1500 different buildings.
“The architecture community tended to concentrate here. Sure, they had architects in other towns and other cities, but the bulk of them were here. As a result of that, you have a fairly high number of architect-designed homes in the Belhaven district. These were some of the most foremost architects in the state N.W. Overstreet, James Canestaro. These were people that worked all over the state. So there is a large collection of different designed homes in the neighborhood. Many of those fellows even lived in Belhaven.”