Learning To Preserve Our Past

It's a structure that's on the National Register of Historic Places, so why not treat it with care and preserve the more than 100 years that is the White House Hotel. James Love is the owner of the White House Hotel and he's overseeing the 23 million dollar renovation project.

"It represents a solid part of the last 100 years, there's only one grand dame hotel left on the Gulf Coast, this is it and if you lose this one they're all gone."

Losing the historic places that make South Mississippi the unique destination that it is isn't an option to many folks here and that's where a lesson called Preservation 101 enters the picture. It's a series of lectures and field trips to historical sites that raise awareness for the need to preserve those sites.

Martha Barker took the course and says, "You don't know where you are going unless you know where you have been and the construction and the effort that went into building the buildings to begin with like this hotel you don't run into it everyday today, so by taking these historical buildings and preserving them you've increased our wealth in architecture."

Merlon Hines says he took the course because he lives in historic Turkey Creek and wants to preserve his home. "My particular home is over 150 years old in the Turkey Creek area, and I am interested in making it historic as well as our community which is already been considered historic, and so this gives me a little guideline with the lectures to make sure that we do the right steps in order to do that.

Restoring the White House Hotel is an undertaking that demands patience as the once wooden framed structure is now fitted with today's building code without losing the integrity of yesteryear.

James Love says, "We have basically rebuilt it from the inside out, so that we've got concrete, we've got steel, we've got modern construction and we've got the original exterior that doesn't happen very often."

Love calls the restoration project and hotel the real thing and says that it is projected to re-open in the Fall of 2002.