Pascagoula historic homes could be demolished, if not moved

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Three of the oldest homes in Pascagoula could soon be torn down. But the Pascagoula Historic Preservation Commission and citizens are working to save the structures.

For more than a century, two homes have stood tall on Front Street. One is among the last antebellum houses in Pascagoula.

"This is the Valentine Delmas' house. This house was built in the 1850s. This was a son of Valentine's house that is certainly 100-years-old," said Barry McIlwain, who is a member of Pascagoula's Historic Preservation Commission.

On Frederic Street, owner Charles Petty showed a photo album of happier times his family shared in this 1860s home.

"My grandfather moved into the house the day he was married in 1917.  They were married there was a rainstorm and they spent their honeymoon in the house," Petty said.

Petty said he would love to keep the home, but the structure is too expensive to maintain.

"The house is in such need of repair now; it is going to be structurally unsafe before long," Petty said.

James Platt owns these two historic structures and echoes that sentiment.

"The damage is from the storms and mostly the termites," Platt said.

Both homeowners recently filed demolition application with the city. They're hoping, with the help of the Pascagoula Historic Preservation Commission, someone will volunteer to take over the landmarks.

"We don't want to lose any of our historic houses or any of our historic resources in Pascagoula," McIlwain said.

Petty admits saving the homes will be challenging.

"I have a nonprofit foundation, and I am trying to do training for youth training coming into the marine business on the Gulf of Mexico. If that will come together, I would use it as housing for that, but I've tried on this for four years," Petty said.

Time is now winding down to save the historic homes. In fact, there only two months left before the demolition process begins.

"I would beg the public, if they know anybody that might be interested in taking these homes off the property owner's hands. We just want to get the word before we tear them down," Community Development Director Jen Derman said.

The commission will vote whether to proceed with demolishing the homes in March 26th. If you are interested in saving the historic structures, call Pascagoula's Community and Economic Development office at (228) 938-6651.

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