Stories of the South - E.F. Nunn & Company Shuqualak, MS
The E.F. Nunn & Co. building sits facing the railroad track in Shuqualak, MS and was built around 1870. It was originally the commissary for the plantation and later a grocery and dry goods store and after that an International truck and tractor dealership.
According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Major E.F. Nunn came to Noxubee County in 1835 and around 1845 founded the firm of Nunn and Anderson in Shuqualak in a partnership with L.L. Anderson. The firm was advertised as a "Dealer in Dry Goods, Dress Goods, Boots, Shoes, Clothing, Hats, Caps, Stationery, Furniture, Hardware, and All Kinds of Groceries." The building itself is described on a nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places as follows,
"E. F. Nunn & Co.: A six bay, two story brick renaissance revival structure
(ca. 1870) , wood frame portico replaced with "tin" and corbelled
flat parapet modified with side addition (1907) . Side addition feed store
originally wood frame with stepped brick facade, clapboard (still existing)
was covered with brick (1922), rear addition typical 1920' s commercial,
second addition in 1947 matches 1920' s addition. Nunn side lot once held
the Hamilton Hotel, a two story wood frame Greek revival structure."
In Pills, Petticoats, and Plows it talks about how a young E.F. Nunn came home from the war and took on the job of reorganizing his business that he had left in his mother's care while he was away. According to the book he had had the good sense to sell his slaves and invest the money in cotton which he sold after the war and purchased anything and everything that could be sold to market in Mobile. Another source I found said he had written to his wife and she carried out the instructions. However it happened Major Nunn probably made one of the best business decisions of his career.
Due to the fact he did not loose money on his slaves (as horrible as that is to write) and he didn't loose his cotton Mr. Nunn neatly set himself up for success after the war. So upon his return he was able to build his business where others were completely broken. All over the south Confederate veterans were opening country stores as a side business to generate income and help support their plantations and farms and E.F. Nunn was one of these.
His son Major E.F. Nunn Jr. continued to operate the business after the death of his father in 1873. It became simply E.F. Nunn and Company by 1895 and continued to be operated by the descendants until the 1940s when it was purchased by the Evans Family.
On my last run to the vet in Dekalb a couple of months ago I swung though Shuqualak and took these pictures. I particularly wanted to photograph this building. The weather wasn't perfect but I did what I could. I've been looking up info on the building and picking the brains of people that could tell me a little bit about it.
Then the paper came in last Thursday and I saw it was a good thing I took those pictures.
The building has been sold by the current owner to an architectural salvage company to dismantle and be sold piece by piece. It's sad, but I know the building has been vacant for several years and would probably cost more to restore it than its worth. And honestly what could you do with it? There's not much left in Shuqualak these days aside from the lumber mill. The one bank in town has finally closed. The downtown is all but nonexistent. There's really no one local that could buy it and make a go of having a business there. It's sort of foolhardy to pour money into something that will never be able to make any of that money back. Isn't it?
|Beautiful Handmade Bricks|
All I have to say is this.
Get out there people.
Get out there and see your home. Wherever you're from, wherever you live, get out and see it. Times change, the world moves on, and things come and go. This building has stood for over a 100 years. It's a left over monument from Shuqualak's boom days and soon it will be gone forever. Broken apart and sold off piece by piece by an architectural salvage firm from Connecticut. Its handmade brick and heart pine timbers shipped off to goodness knows where. Maybe I can slip down there one more time now that the spring light is here and the vines that grow up the side will be green. If not, at least I have these pictures.
*Read Pills, Petticoats, & Pows here for free! https://archive.org/details/pillspetticoatsa000045mbp
*National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form
*The Civit War And The Men From Noxubee County
*Mississippi Department of Archives and History description http://mdah.state.ms.us/manuscripts/z0315.html