WJDX building, radio station, is being restored: Jackson, Mississippi

Walls came crumbling down recently at the site of a historic, nearly century-old building in Jackson, originally designed by prominent Mississippi architect NW Overstreet.

But don’t expect tears or protests from historic preservationists. The demolition involved not the historic building itself but rather an undistinguished cinder-block addition in front of the building, which for years obscure the view of the original art deco-themed structure on North State Street near Beasley Road.

The original two-story brick and concrete building, completed in 1929, served as the transmitter site for radio station WJDX. It was designed, according to legend, to resemble a huge console-type Philco radio of the era.

Demolition began June 8 on this 1960s cinder block front addition to the historic WJDX transmitter building.

According to new owner Scott Allen of A Plus Signs and Creative, Inc., the goal now is to restore the original building to its former grandeur.

“It’s a great feeling that has exceeded my expectations,” Allen said of the demolition process that brings back the original structure as intended. “The building now feels more quaint and smaller — and so much better aesthetically to look at.”

A view of the transmitter building as it appeared in the December, 1937 edition of “Broadcast News,” a trade magazine then published by the Radio Corporation of America.

As for long-term plans, Allen said he remains open-minded but is inclined to transform the space into an artists’ studio.

“I am an artist myself, and I believe in doing what you know,” he said.

The more immediate goal is to have the building inspected by a structural engineer and meet with Barry White, director of the Historic Preservation Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, to make sure future renovations meet state guidelines.

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