This content “reblogged” here is by the venerable Mississippi architect Louis Malveney. He blogged in late January of 2012 and shared a fine set of photographs from the actual cottonseed oil mill in Port Gibson that inspired the fictional one in the story “Coin of the Realm,” the mill that Lawyer Ducat and Sterling Estep are trying to save. The commentary and content is from Malveney’s blog http://misspreservation.com/. I will be reading from the story “Coin of the Realm” after signing Some Kinds of Love: Stories at 5 p.m. tonight (7.27.2013) at Lorelei Books in Vicksburg.
The abandoned plant of the Mississippi Cotton Oil Company wasn’t on the recent Port Gibson Holiday Home Tour, but as I was wandering about before the tours started, I was drawn to the place, just north of downtown, like a moth to the flame. I’ve always been intrigued by cotton seed oil mills–the strange shapes of the buildings, the rusty metal, and odd protruding machinery and pipes running this way and that. I find the seed houses, with their distinctive steep roof and clerestory, especially compelling, but unfortunately, I don’t understand how the whole operation works together. I know just enough to be fascinated.
This 1994 article in Agricultural History, “Cotton Gins and Cottonseed Oil Mills in the New South” may be worth the $14 that JSTOR wants to charge me. And this 1948 Sanborn on microfilm at MDAH (and a little cleaned up on Photoshop) shows…
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