Constructed in 1925, the Hotel Chester is located at Main and Jackson streets in the Old Main District of downtown Starkville. Since its construction, the building has had a succession of different owners and uses. After undergoing extensive renovations in 1985, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It operated as the Ivy Guest House and then as the State House Hotel until 2003, when it was further renovated and reopened under its original name, Hotel Chester.
The first elementary school in Starkville was constructed in 1897 and was the focal point of what is now known as the Overstreet Historic District (see below). It is located just south of downtown on South Jackson Street. In 1949, the school was substantially renovated into its current art moderne style and renamed Overstreet Elementary School. It is believed that the Indian motif on the building was intended to honor the original residents of the area.
Starkville City Jail
Although the structure itself is architecturally undistinguished, the Starkville City Jail has become world famous as the site where renowned country singer Johnny Cash was incarcerated overnight for public drunkenness on May 11, 1965, after performing at Mississippi State University. The event would perhaps have been forgotten had not Cash himself later immortalized it in his song, “Starkville City Jail,” first performed at a concert in San Quentin prison in 1969.
Churches built in Starkville’s early days include fine examples of several architectural styles.
- Episcopal Church of the Resurrection -105 North Montgomery Street
- First Baptist Church – 106 East Lampkin Street
- First Presbyterian Church – 307 University Drive
- First United Methodist Church – 200 West Lampkin Street
Eighteen Mississippi State University buildings have been designated as Mississippi Landmark Buildings and three are on the National Register of Historic Places. For details, a map, and an online tour, visit Landmark Buildings at Mississippi State.
Starkville includes four well-preserved housing districts dating from earlier times, each offering examples of architectural styles of its respective period.
Nash Street District
Once known as the Garden District, the Nash Street Historic District is Starkville’s earliest and most intact historic subdivision. It preserves many examples of Tudor revival, craftsman, and colonial revival architecture from the 1930s and 1940s. The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Adjacent to the Mississippi State University campus, the Cotton District was once the site of a substantial cotton mill and an adjacent area of workers’ homes, shops, and schools. The award-winning redevelopment of this area for student and faculty housing and shopping captures the flavor of the Deep South. It is a national model for the new urbanism.
The neighborhood of choice for merchants and civic leaders in the 1860s and 1870s, the Greensboro Historic District continued to grow over a period of 10 decades and retains many outstanding examples of Victorian, Tudor revival, craftsman, and bungalow-style homes. It contains the original homes of many prominent leaders of local businesses and Mississippi State University and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Housing ranging from ornate Queen Anne and Victorian to colonial revival, folk, and mid-20th-century craftsman and bungalow styles can be seen in the Overstreet Historic District, reflective of changing style preferences over the neighborhood’s development history from 1870 to 1940. Cookhouses and smokehouses behind some of the main houses serve as reminders of earlier times. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.