The Hugh Craft and Son Office was built by 1846 at the latest, and was used as the office building of Hugh Craft and his son Addison. The Crafts were early pioneer surveyors who ran their surveying business from this location, and most of the earliest land transfers and surveys would have originated from this office. Before the construction of the Hugh Craft House across Gholson Street in 1851, the Craft family lived here, in a separate living space which was once attached to this building. In the late 19th century the building was used as the home of the Mulcahry family.
The building was originally located at the corner of Gholson Avenue and Memphis Street, next to the original First Presbyterian Church. In 1925, the new City Hall was built on the spot, and the office was moved to the back of the same lot. At the same time the building was moved, the back half of the house was detached and eventually destroyed. The remaining section of the building has a modern addition in the back, where the old section once stood.
The Craft and Son Office was built in the early vernacular style, with an unusual floor plan and a front portico supported by square pillars. It is a rare surviving example of an early commercial structure which would have been found throughout early Holly Springs.
The Craft and Sons Office made our 2016 List of the Top Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties in Holly Springs. In July of 2015, the Holly Springs City Board voted to destroy this structure, to make room for extra parking or a green space. Neither the local Historic Preservation Committee nor the Mississippi Department of Archives and History were notified or consulted. Concerned local citizens and preservationists were outraged by this decision, and the City Board agreed to halt immediate plans for demolition, though the original motion to demolish the property was never actually overturned. Contrary to the City Government’s declarations that the building’s conditions were deplorable and a blight on the community, further investigations by the HPC determined that the building was structurally sound, and that most of the visible damage was to the part of the building added relatively recently. In 2015, the Craft and Son Office was listed by the Mississippi Heritage Trust as one of the top 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Mississippi.
Thanks to Chelius Carter, of Preserve Marshall County and Holly Springs, Inc., for providing much of the history of this structure.
I like the 2 most important words: “rare” and “surviving.”