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Mississippi Main Street honors longtime friend, architect Sam Kaye

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) honors the life of longtime friend and architect Samuel “Sam” H. Kaye, AIA, who went home to be with the Lord on January 1, 2013.

Since 1994, Kaye served as Staff Consultant to the Mississippi Main Street Association, working with towns throughout Mississippi. He served as MMSA Director of Design Services until 2007—in addition to running his own architectural firm, Luke Peterson Kaye, Architects.

Kaye volunteered for civic groups and the Episcopal Church in Columbus and for the state. He was also the first president of the Columbus Main Street Association.

“Sam has been involved with Mississippi Main Street since its origin,” said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. “He was serving on the Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation when Mississippi was brought into the Main Street program in 1986.”

“From that day forward, even though he had his own successful architectural firm, Sam gave tirelessly of his time, energy and leadership to Mississippi Main Street and other preservation groups, including the Mississippi Heritage Trust, for which he was chairman of the Steering Committee and Charter President,” Wilson said.

Kaye's involvement through his work with MMSA has enhanced many Mississippi communities and neighborhoods. His work with upper floor downtown housing has resulted in more than 30 buildings being recycled with new viability in more than a dozen communities throughout Mississippi. His involvement with the Cutrer Mansion in Clarksdale, Mississippi resulted in saving this building, which is associated with noted playwright Tennessee Williams.

"He and I had a wonderful 'run' together working jointly on our Mississippi towns," said Beverly Meng, Past MMSA Executive Director. "His incredible talent for historic architecture was only surpassed by his strong love for and knowledge of history."

"Sam’s love of preservation was most compelling, and it was Sam who certainly heightened my own awareness and participation," Meng added. "Sam was a genuinely good, kind man, who also had a great wit about him. He will be terribly missed by a lot of us, but the wonderful memories will live forever."

The Mississippi Main Street Association established the Sam Kaye Excellence in Design Award in 2008 to honor Kaye and his longtime service to Mississippi Main Street and to the state in architecture and preservation. The award is given annually to the design professional or firm that exhibits the spirit, compassion and talent of the man for whom the award is named.

Kaye indeed brought together his skills as an architect, his love of history, and a vision of the future to affect the preservation of important buildings and districts in his home state.

Former Governor William Winter was quoted as saying, “I know of no architect who has done more to develop a public appreciation of historic preservation.”

In 1997 the Mississippi Department of Archives and History passed a resolution stating, "Sam Kaye is one of Mississippi’s finest preservation architects and is responsible for numerous award-winning rehabilitation and restoration projects.”

Kaye was a leader in historic preservation in Mississippi as well as nationally, bringing the practice of architecture to critical issues in preservation.

Kaye devoted countless hours of service to the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an Advisor and in many leadership capacities. He lobbied to the U.S. Congress as an advocate for Historic Preservation issues, such as the Historic Homeowner Tax Credit legislation, as well as funding for the Historic Preservation Fund.

While a member of the Trustee's Properties Committee, he was instrumental in the acquisition of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's first minority property, the Midwife's Houses in the Farrish Street Historic District in Jackson, Miss.

His involvement with historic preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation led, in 1992, to the establishment of the Mississippi Heritage Trust of which he was chairman of the Steering Committee and the Charter President. The Trust has become a model for new statewide preservation organizations.

In 1997, the Mississippi Heritage Trust began a program, The Ten Most Endangered, which focuses public attention on threatened historic buildings and sites across Mississippi.

The Mississippi Heritage Trust recently awarded Kaye the 2012 Al & Libby Hollingswoth Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kaye gave much of his time to speak to many civic and historical organizations on historic preservation and architecture. In addition to volunteer services, Sam provided Mississippi with the best in architectural service in the restoration of historic buildings and districts.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History relied quite heavily on Kaye as an historic advisor and as an architect. Some of the awards he received include: Award of Merit, Newby-Perry-Tisdale House, Mississippi Historical Society, 1991; Award of Merit, Moore- Drake- Fleischman House, Miss. Historical Society, 1991; Award of Merit, Carpenter Place, Mississippi Historical Society, 1993; Award of Merit, The Cady House, Mississippi Historical Society, 1994.

Kaye was to receive another Award of Merit from the Mississippi Historical Society in March of this year.

Regarded as the local historic expert, Kaye was chosen as the 2012 Christmas Parade Grand Marshall in Columbus, Miss.

“Sam Kaye has been chosen as this year’s Grand Marshall by the Christmas Parade committee to represent the vast contributions to our community, particularly historic preservation and downtown development made by Kaye” stated Amber Brislin, Main Street Columbus Director. Members of the Kaye family led the parade in a horse-drawn carriage on Dec. 3, 2012.

Kaye worked in the Columbus community since 1974. His experience in community planning and development ranges from the Downtown Columbus, Mississippi Development Plan in 1976 to ongoing Comprehensive Streetscape and Development Plans for several towns in Mississippi.

His work reached beyond the limits of Columbus and resulted in many historic rehabilitation projects throughout Mississippi.

Kaye is survived by his wife, Carolyn, three daughters, Kim, Elizabeth and Mary Catherine, one stepdaughter, Jessie, and several grandchildren.


Samuel Harvey Kaye
Saint Paul's Episcopal Church
318 College Street
Columbus, MS

Saturday, January 5, 2013, 9-11 a.m.

Saturday, January 5, 2013, 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers the family welcomes memorials to the Stephen D. Lee Foundation or Saint Paul's Episcopal Church.

"I know of no architect who has done more to develop a public appreciation of historic preservation than has Sam Kaye."
Former Governor William F. Winter

"Sam Kaye is one of Mississippi's finest preservation architects and is responsible for numerous award-winning rehabilitation and restoration projects."
Mississippi Department of Archives and History Resolution o/Commendation 1997

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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
District Offices:
P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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