ABOUT THE GREATER BELHAVEN COMMUNITY
Where is Greater Belhaven?
Greater Belhaven spans east and west from Interstate 55 to Congress Street, and north and south from Woodrow Wilson to High Street, and includes two historic neighborhoods, Belhaven and Belhaven Heights. Belhaven Heights is on the south side of Fortification Street, while Belhaven is on the north side. Our neighborhoods are the last well preserved contiguous areas near downtown Jackson. Areas of Belhaven Heights are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including 3 historic structures: The Oaks/Boyd House, Bellevue Court Apartments, and North Manor Apartments. Belhaven boasts 2 properties on the National Register, The Fairview, now a bed and breakfast inn, and the home of Pulitzer Prize winning author Eudora Welty.
Belhaven and Belhaven Heights are historic districts governed by the City of Jackson Historic Preservation Commission.
For more detailed information about the Greater Belhaven community, click on the Main tab above, then choose the "Our Neighborhood" icon. From there you can read about museums, festivals, parks, and more!
Also check out the information pages for our two homeowner assocations, BIA and BHCA, by clicking on its tab above.
A Short History of Belhaven and Belhaven Heights
During the days of McKinley and the first Roosevelt, Jackson had the great fortune to be a town becoming a small city in a very orderly fashion. In those days, Jackson was not the largest city in Mississippi -- Meridian held that position until nearly the second World War -- and expansion was slow and sensible. The original city had, after all, been designed in 1822 by the celebrated urban planner Peter A. Vandorn, utilizing the "checkerboard" pattern of alternating common areas with developed blocks for commerce and public buildings espoused by Thomas Jefferson. While it had already suffered deviation to some degree, the general plan and intended direction were still clear.
The Oaks (1837) Jackson's oldest residential structure, located on Jefferson Street.
The last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth saw the establishment of many business and professional houses, a number of which continue to this day. Much of the architectural expression of this wealth flowed north along State Street, beginning quite close to the downtown commercial district and extending eventually to the area of Millsaps college, then a fairly nascent institution.
In a parallel move, the growing middle class was populating the neighborhoods now known as Belhaven Heights and Belhaven. There were several concentrations of professional people's residences, including the area in Belhaven Heights which earned the name "Judges' Hill" on account of the numerous members of the judiciary residing there, such as Judge Sykes, who built this home around 1902.
The Greater Belhaven area takes its name from a palatial home which once stood on Boyd Street, east of Jefferson. The spacious colonial structure was the residence of Col. Jones S. Hamilton, and named "Belhaven" -- beautiful house -- after the Hamilton family seat in Scotland.
In 1894, Dr. Lewis T. Fitzhugh, a well-known educator, came to Jackson from Whitworth College in Brookhaven to establish a private college. He purchased Col. Hamillton's landscaped estate and established his college in the house and accompanying buildings, naming the establishment "Belhaven College." At some point around 1911 the Presbyterian Church purchased the institution and it was restablished at its present location on Peachtree Street, where it now thrives.
Belhaven College, ca. 1920 (viewed from Belhaven street)
The Greater Belhaven area has thus long been a very desirable neighborhood in which to live, and residents have appreciated it for over a century. This long history has led to the inclusion of an enormous number of architectural styles, ranging from impressive Georgian and Federalist piles to airy New Orleans-inspired designs to the quiet and ivy-covered bungalow, not overlooking the Italianate, Deco and even "Modern" accents here and there.
It's a great hodge-podge and we like it that way.
Bailey High School seen from State Street and Riverside Drive
In the 1930's, noted architect and native Jacksonian N.W. Overstreet established a major benchmark of architectural Modernism with the design and construction of Bailey Junior High School built using a formed-in-place concrete technique which was revolutionary for its time. The building made a major feature in Life Magazine, and is still in use as Bailey Magnet School. It is located on Riverside Drive in the extreme northwest corner of Greater Belhaven.
The Greater Belhaven area saw great growth in the 1920's, and even in the depression era of the '30's new homes continued to be built. During these years the neighborhood got its own small "shopping center," English Village, which was the home of the fabled Jitney Jungle Number 14 supermarket (now McDade’s Market), which served not only as supermarket but social center for many years.
History continues to unfold in Belhaven, and historical preservation and the management of growth is a committed goal of our residents and our organizations. New homes are being built, new businesses arise to serve the community, and cooperation among our institutions and residents has a new emphasis, and great promise for the future. It's been a wonderful neighborhood for a century and it will continue to be!
We wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to the Harry Brown, the late Carroll Brinson's work, Jackson: A Special Kind of Place (1979) for historical information, and to the late Forrest Cooper's collection of old postcards of Jackson for certain of the illustrations above. Each of these fine gentlemen devoted a great deal of time and energy to preserving Jackson's heritage and making it available to a wider audience.
In The News
Belhaven has always been known for its classic beauty. Before it was called Belhaven, the neighborhood was called Sylvandell. An interesting news article was found from the Jackson Daily News (prior to the founding of The Clarion Ledger) from Sunday, March 3, 1929, over 90 years ago! The article has been scanned for preservation and is available for you to explore below.
Jackson Daily News March 3, 1929
Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Architectural Tour
Greater Belhaven’s architectural history can be experienced through the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Architectural Tour, a self-guided walking/driving tour which features the historically significant architecture of Greater Belhaven.
The brochure, published by GBNF, can be picked up at area inns, restaurants and other merchants, state visitor centers, the Jackson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and at the GBNF offices. Or we’ll be happy to mail you a copy upon request to us by phone (601-352-8850) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Information on area inns, hotels, restaurants and other merchants can be found on our website under “Businesses” link at right.
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