Architect A. Hays Town in Mississippi

Yesterday I attended a History is Lunch lecture, courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, given by Todd Sanders.  His topic was the Mississippi Architecture of A. Hays Town, who is best known for his Louisiana creole style residences.  However, he spent the first part of his career in Jackson, Mississippi, working with N.W. Overstreet, and eventually becoming his partner in the Architecture firm, N.W. Overstreet and Town Architects.

The topic was of particular interest to me because I live in a house which was designed by the firm in the 1930s, The Underwood House.


An image from the original plans.

The Underwood House is architecturally significant in that it was constructed of reinforced concrete which was a new design strategy at the time.  Built shortly after the depression, the style represented a new hope and confidence in the future.  The technique could be used for construction and did not require highly skilled labor while still producing a result that was sleek and forward thinking.

Bailey Junior High School on State Street in Jackson was constructed at about the same time as the Underwood House.  It was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in 1938.

Bailey Junior High School

Bailey Junior High School

Only the third family to live in the house, we bought it twenty years ago.  Very little had been done to change the exterior with the only additions being enclosing the garage and adding a master bedroom.  The house was designed with the entertaining rooms at the rear of the house all opening into a private, enclosed garden.  From the front door you can see straight through to the garden.

Front of house

Front of House

Back of House

Back of House



This has been a wonderful house in which to raise a family.  The enclosed back yard was a ready made playground and the front yard stood in for a football field on many occasions.  Becoming the caretakers of such an architectural gem has been a blessing.

Todd Sanders did a superb job of presenting many of the buildings and residences designed by Mr. Town during his tenure in Mississippi.  During the lecture he talked about the Underwood House and had exterior pictures but told us that he had never had the opportunity to see the interiors.  I am planning on correcting that very soon and am also hoping that all of his research is leading to him writing a book covering Mr. Town’s Mississippi designs.

The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town is a beautiful book.


Thanks for reading!

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  1. Love it!!!!

  2. Thanks! We have to get him over to Pinehurst soon!

  3. What a great lecture to attend! Think he will be very pleased with the interior of your lovely home!

  4. Todd does a great job. I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel with him a year or so ago. Love this house and spent a good bit of time in it when it was owned by the Mitch family.

    • Hello – I really want to invite Todd into my home, so glad that you have spent some time here! It is a great house and we are honored to be the current custodians! Thanks for reading me! I am under construction right now and am so excited about the new blog that will be revealed shortly so please stick with me!

      Marsha Cannon cell (601)946-8455

  5. Ellen McCay says:

    How interesting! What treasures we unknowingly pass by every day. Thanks for sharing.