Published on September 30th, 2015 | by TLV News0
The 5th Annual Wrecking Ball: October 3rd in Holly Springs
Students and faculty brought their dreams to the corner of Chulahoma and Boundary where they entered the young town’s new two-story brick building to begin their education at Mississippi’s first legislatively recognized university. The building housing Chalmers Institute was built in 1837 by the emerging town of Holly Springs, which was yet to face a devastating outbreak of Yellow Fever; the ravages of war and decades of history during which the structure eventually became a residence and then fell into a state of neglect.
Chalmers Institute still stands at the same location, as one of the city’s oldest buildings and as one of the state’s most endangered yet historically significant structures. Preserve Marshall County and Holly Springs, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, works toward the stabilization and renovation of Chalmers Institute as part of the mission to protect the historic resources and cultural legacy of the county and city.
On October 3, 2015, the grounds of Chalmers Institute will come alive during The Wrecking Ball, a fundraising event dedicated to the preservation of the building. The project is the primary effort of Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc., of which Chelius Carter is the president. In an interview, Carter expanded on the historical roles that the Institute has played since it was constructed in Holly Springs, Miss.
“From its halls came the movers and players who figured politically, militarily, and in business—names that we hear about. Young men who brought their dreams and ambitions to Chalmers Institute and went on to leave their mark on the state and national political scene, battlefields of the American Civil War, and others to become business leaders across the country.”
Carter has described the event as another step forward in the process of returning Chalmers Institute to being a productive contributor to the creative economy of the state of Mississippi. For Carter and the rest of the team, this goal is not a dream, but a firm intention. Carter says that the team is on track to successfully have the first floor back into use by the end of 2015.
With fully two-thirds of attendees coming from outside of Marshall County, it has developed into a regional destination event for the music and arts. People come from across Mississippi and adjoining states and as far as the east and west coasts, all to share their affinity for this structure and its history. When describing the appeal of the building, Carter described Chalmers Institute as a true state treasure.
“I cannot think of another historic edifice in this region that shares the individual uniqueness of Chalmers Institute. That it occupies the status of being the first chartered university in the state of Mississippi is only one of its endearing aspects,” Carter said.
The Wrecking Ball will not only highlight regional cultural treasures, but also provide dinner, beverages, and a silent auction. On October 3rd, the historic campus lawn will become a meeting grounds for kindred spirits who share a passion for Mississippi history and historical preservation.
“The history, the architecture, and the ambiance of that site are what attract people. Then the good food, the good music, and some really top-notch auction items also help to bring in an unusually diverse gathering of people for a common driving purpose, that is the continued preservation of this incredibly historic structure,” said Carter about the event. A host of artists, authors, musicians, and historians have donated their appearances for the evening including recording artist Shannon McNally.
Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. have a strategic plan to assure the preservation of the building, and they prefer to describe this plan in two words: “doing things.” And you help them do these things by attending this wonderful event. Early bird tickets can be purchased at www.preservemarshallcounty.org for $40 per person ($65 per couple) or at the door for $50 per person. Can’t attend but wish to contribute? You may mail all donations to P.O. Box 787, Holly Springs, MS, 38635-0787 and we will raise a glass in your honor. Call (662) 252-3669 for more information.