Dan Camp, Who Created a Mississippi Jewel, Dies at 79


This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

When Dan Camp was in graduate school at North Carolina State University in Raleigh in the mid-1960s, a historic building caught his eye. It was a cottage where, at least according to local lore, President Andrew Johnson was born. What struck Mr. Camp was that a relatively compact space could be a perfectly adequate dwelling.

“I suspected that most Americans lived in that type of environment then,” he told Mississippi Magazine in 2001, “so I came home with the idea that those types of dwellings would be an excellent way to build things and offer them to students.”

Back home in Mississippi, he settled in Starkville, about 125 miles northeast of Jackson, and became intrigued with the possibilities of a run-down area between the campus of Mississippi State University, where he was teaching in the industrial education department, and the downtown section that became known as the Cotton District, because of the mill that once thrived there. The mill had shut down in 1964, and the nearby millworker housing had deteriorated.

In 1969, Mr. Camp started buying property in that area and creating an eclectic oasis of tightly packed housing and businesses that has been drawing admiration from urban planners ever since. The Cotton District is now one of the most desirable addresses in Starkville, especially for students, a pedestrian-friendly, architecturally varied neighborhood of cottages, duplexes, apartments, street-level shops, courtyards and fountains.

“He hired me to paint a mural on his office about 10 minutes after meeting me in early 2014,” Mr. Roy said. “This was in spite of me having no paid experience, no knowledge of how to run a scissor lift and no proper sketch. He liked that the old folks across town hated my work.”

After that, Mr. Roy said, Mr. Camp kept giving him commissions just to support his art.

“At any given time he might also be patron to a writer, a sculptor, a wild impressionist, a barefoot juggler, a lost intellectual or an ethically sourced hippie apparel shop,” he said. “He wanted a carousel of creatives in the neighborhood by design.”

In addition to his son Robert, Mr. Camp is survived by his wife, Gemma, whom he married in 1981; another son, Frederick, known as Bonn; and two granddaughters.



Sahred From Source link Real Estate

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