Nearly 100-year-old log cabin to be new welcome center for Shepard State Park

Nearly 100-year-old log cabin to be new welcome center for Shepard State Park

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Soon Shepard State Park will be the new home for a nearly 100-year-old house. On Tuesday, the Gautier city council is slated to accept the donation of the historic "Wilson House" which the city then plans to relocate from its present location to the park.

The house was built in the 1920s by the Cox family on land that is approximately one mile north of what is now Interstate 10 in Gulfport. The two story house was constructed of Southern yellow pine logs cut from the property.

"Assuming that the people were living off the land more so back then," Gautier Cultural Services Director Jeremy Thames said. "So it was all built by hand. With mortar in between all the logs. Something you just don't see these days."

Unfortunately the Cox family lost the home during the Great Depression and the house was bought by the Wilson family. It is from the second owner that the log cabin came to known as the Wilson house. The family lived there while operating a nursery business called Wilson Farm Nurseries. Their nursery stretched from Creosote Road all the way to Dedeaux Road.  After the land in Gulfport was sold in 1990s the Wilson house was moved to the area near Highway 57 in Jackson County just north of I-10. For a time it was used as a bed and breakfast.  Now Gautier officials are preparing for another move once the house is donated to the city by Southland Log Homes. This time to Shepard State Park in Gautier to be the park's new welcome center.

"We're hoping to not really change the house much. Just clean it up and make it more of a reservation area," Thames said." Welcome center and possibly have a little bit of meeting space. Mix in with all of that some local history of the water, fowl and all the animals actually found out at Shepard and around our coastal areas."

City officials said they've long wanted a new welcome center for the park so being able to do that and preserve history all at the same time is exciting.

"Much more desirable in my eyes to save something like this that's built nearly 100 years ago and make it apart of something that we're going to carry forward for hopefully another 100 years," said Thames. "Anybody can build something new, but it takes a lot of talent to take an old existing property and make it what you need it to be."

Gautier officials said they are not yet sure how much it will cost to move the house, but that will come from tidelands money. They said the electrical and plumbing will have to be redone.

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