The Old Holly Springs Water and Light Plant is a very important building which has seen many different uses in it’s nearly 120 years. Before this building was constructed, the N.W. Cawthon’s Flour Mill and Gin was located on this spot. Nearby, at the corner of Market Street, was the Old Market House. In 1897, city leaders decided to build a public waterworks and electric plant at this location, as part of a plan to attract new businesses to the town. The Old Market House and Gin were destroyed, and construction began on the Waterworks and Plant in 1897. Construction was largely completed by the end of 1898, and Holly Springs became one of the earliest towns in Mississippi to have its’ own Water and Light Plant.
On March 30, 1899, electricity illuminated the city for the very first time. By June of that year, over one hundred households had running water. The adjoining Fire Department building was constructed sometime after the 1920s. A small brick building, which connected the Waterworks to the Fire Department garage, was built in the 1950s.
By the 1950s, the City’s waterworks had moved a block east of this site, and the Holly Springs Police Department took over this location. A small jail area was built just to the east of the garages, and much renovation was done inside the building to accommodate the police department and their employees. The City’s main garages were located below the main building, in a separate garage which overlooked Spring Hollow Park. By the 1990s, the Police Department, Fire Department and other city employees had left the building, and it became vacant.
Over the years, there has been many attempts to renovate and restore this building, led by the Holly Springs Main Street Association and Chamber of Commerce. These efforts are ongoing. These buildings remain a unique window back to a time when Holly Springs was first beginning to embrace new technologies and inventions. In 2014, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) provided the City of Holly Springs with a $160,000 grant for roof and masonry repairs.
The Old Holly Springs Water and Light Plant was built in the Romanesque Revival style, and has well-defined brick piers, round arch windows with sandstone imposts, and a cornice line with brick corbelling.