OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A woman from California has returned to Ocean Springs to save her family home. The mission is to renovate the historic house and return it to its former grandeur. The project is a labor of love and is driven by a burning desire to preserve history and family memories.
The yellow home at 916 State Street in Ocean Springs is known as the Steamboat House. Originally called the Carter-Callaway House, the Queen Anne colonial was built in 1906.
It's called the Steamboat House because the north side resembles the bow of a ship. The south end is rounded and looks like a steamboat without the paddle wheel.
A lot of history has happened here. Rana Oliver has restored the home. Her family acquired it in the 1940s and she has fond memories of this special place.
"My great-grandmother lived here. I remember sleeping with her," Oliver remembered. "It was a home so full of love. My cousins lived here. There was a lot of vibrancy."
Over the years, the home fell into a state of disrepair. With the help of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Oliver's mother began a renovation in 2009. Oliver is now completing it because she is passionate about family and historical preservation.
"Once you lose a little bit of history, you can never get it back. No matter how many stories they tell you about the house that used to be here, there's nothing like having it here so people can see it and enjoy it," Oliver said.
The Steamboat House is on the National Register of Historic Places. Oliver had to follow strict guidelines during the restoration project. Inside period craftsmanship has been saved.
Over its life, the home has been battered by hurricanes and neglect and savaged by time. Oliver's dedication has brought the house back to stand as a testimony to resilience.
"It survived it all. It continued to stand in defiance of all that," Oliver said.
It's been a long and winding road. Oliver admits that she contemplated walking away from the renovation, but she's happy she never gave up.