Southern Architect and Building News is not a traditional Friday Finds – I did not discover it this morning by wandering around in Special Collections. I have been working with this journal run for about a year now seeking funding to have the collection digitized. The challenge with SABN is that the content within the issues has never been indexed. While a patron might be able to find a record of the journal in the library’s catalog, a patron must search through the physical journals to identify any content that might be relevant to his/her research. With that in mind, I am going to share interesting bits of information that I find in SABN from time to time to raise awareness regarding its useful and interesting content.
Flipping through the issues from November 1912 to October 1913, I noticed that Texas architecture and architects were well represented with an emphasis on Dallas and San Antonio. One of the notices that stood out, however, was a short passage about lifting the restriction on wooden shingles in Jackson, Mississippi. The notice reads:
Jackson Can Use Wooden Shingles.
The Jackson, Miss., city council has repealed the ordinance requiring all buildings erected in that city to be roofed with metal or slate. The ordinance originally adopted, after being held up for a year, went into effect two months ago, but there was such strong opposition to it, it has been finally repealed. The opposition contended that it was a detriment to the erection of cheap homes and that its enforcement was to take away the demand for a natural forest resource manufactured in that city. (Southern Architect and Building News 30.1 (1912): 39)
SABN’s content was ever evolving as the journal shifted from trade publication to professional journal. During the 1910s, the journal often included notices about building practices, architects, contractors, suppliers, and new construction underway across the South. While the Jackson, Mississippi notice may seem innocuous it provides context for the use of specific materials for construction in Jackson during the early twentieth century. If the material was digitized with full text search capability, notices like this one could more easily be discovered by researchers.