Historic Ocean Springs home saved with grant money

Published: Jul. 7, 2011 at 5:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2011 at 7:07 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Charnley-Norwood home on East Beach has withstood everything nature threw its way.  That is until Katrina struck, washing the home off its foundation, and leaving it a shell of its former self.

But a million dollar Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant means change is on the way.  And there is a lot to do. Dr. Bill Walker is the director of the Department of Marine Resources, the agency overseeing the project.

"The inside, not much has been done to it other than clean it up and get it ready, so there's quite a bit to do yet on the inside to restore it to what it was," Walker said.

Saving the history of the Gulf Coast has become especially important since Katrina took so much of it away. But in this case, it's even more important because this house is truly one of a kind. Walker explained.

"It's a Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece. I think [it's] the first one in the state, certainly the first one on the coast," Walker said. "So we want to preserve it in its current condition, but we also want the people on the coast to be able to use it and see it."

That use will include a museum and green space. The city's mayor, Connie Moran, has other ideas for the home as well.

"I'd like to see it as a venue for seminars for architects, craftsmen, tradesmen, who specialize in historic preservation, renovation. That I think would be most appropriate for that particular venue," Moran said.

For people who live on East Beach like Helene Ederer, the plan has been a long time coming.

"It's pretty awesome that we're going to save a piece of history here in Ocean Springs because this is definitely a historical area, and we have very little left here since the storm," Ederer said. "I think anything that would save our communities history would be amazing."

Before renovation work can begin, the sale of the property will have to be closed with the out of state owners. Dr. Walker said that should take about 60 days.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.