Oldest Mississippi structure gets funding help for restoration

Published: May. 3, 2019 at 7:04 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A historic Jackson County home, the oldest structure in Mississippi, is undergoing a million-dollar renovation, and the crew behind the restoration just received good news in the form of a big check.

The LaPointe-Krebs House, formerly known as Old Spanish Fort, was built in 1757. That makes it not only the oldest structure in Mississippi, but the oldest building in the entire Mississippi Valley. The house has been undergoing an extensive and costly restoration inside and out.

The Krebs Foundation has been piecing together small grants over the years to complete the work.

“A lot of grants are hard to get,” said Excutive Director MC Wixon. “They’re small amounts. We’ve been try to compile them. It would take a while to get to a million dollars.”

Last month, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a funding bill giving $1 million to the project. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History came up with another $140,000. It was like a lightening bolt of hope, a gift from heaven.

“It is massive. It’s such a relief for everyone here and all preservationists,” Wixon said.

The money will be available in July. There is a 400-day construction schedule, give or take a few weeks, so the restoration could be completed by early 2021.

“They take the lime and mix it with sand and water,” Wixon said.

The Krebs foundation must adhere to so many rules regarding materials used and maintaining the original design and integrity of the structure.

Some materials, like the original bricks in the home’s fireplace, will be salvaged.

The restoration is expensive and time consuming, but considering the significance of the LaPointe Krebs House, it's worth it.

"This building is 20 years older than the country. It’s made it through every hurricane. It’s just amazing that it’s just a survivor now," Wixon said.

To learn more about the LaPointe Krebs House, visit its website.

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