Coast's Historic Homes And Landmarks Added To Endangered List - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast's Historic Homes And Landmarks Added To Endangered List

The historic omissions are glaring.

"It's heartbreaking for everyone, I know, who drives down Highway 90 when you pass where Grass Lawn used to stand, or Tullis Manor," says Lolly Barnes, the Gulf Coast Field Office Program Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation .

The fate of the historic remnants are no less troubling.

"There are tremendous development pressures on the coast right now and I think every community is struggling with how they are going to rebuild," says Barnes

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, non profit organization that has just added the historic communities and landmarks of the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast to its 2006 list of America's 11 most endangered historic places.

"It's important to get publicity about the needs for historic preservation on the coast," says Barnes.

Publicity that she says could influence lawmakers as they currently consider funding to help restore the few historic homes left along the beach and preserve other monuments to the past.

"I look to that money that congress is working on. It would mean $37.5 million in grants to historic property owners on the Gulf Coast."

Around 300 historic structures along the Mississippi Gulf Coast were completely wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and more than 1200 others were damaged. Barnes says only quick action can save what's left, like the 100-year-old Masonic Lodge in Gulfport.

"It was leaning precariously and was slated for demolition and we were able to work with those Masonic Lodge owners to get the building upright again."

Barnes says it's just one step towards reclaiming some of the old character for the new face of South Mississippi.

by Don Culpepper

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