By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – City workers this week removed trees and vegetation from the Spain House site in preparation for the historic structure’s move from downtown to Mill Village.
It’s the first visible sign of the two-story home’s impending relocation since the Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission launched an effort to save it from the wrecking ball three years ago.
Calvary Baptist Church owns the property and had agreed two years ago to delay demolition if the commission could move the house before Oct. 1 of this year.
But it could take until Nov. 1 to finish all the preparations needed to relocate the structure, said commission member Doyce Deas.
“There’s no date yet, but it will probably take six weeks, and a lot of it will depend on the foundation,” Deas said.
Lynn Bryan Construction will lay a new foundation for the house at the corner of Carnation and South Church streets. While that’s happening, Kosciusko House Movers will prepare the house, currently on the corner of Madison and West Main streets, for its move. The company also will haul the house to its new site. The entire project will cost $175,740.
A Mississippi Department of Archives & History grant will fund $140,000 of that amount. The city will pay $25,000, and Calvary Baptist Church will pay $10,000. The commission kicked in $740.
Calvary spokesman Greg Pirkle said the church likely will allow extra time for the house to be moved.
“There’s no desire on the part of the church to go out there with bulldozers and tear it down,” he said. “I think there is a consensus that as long as the city is actively moving the church, we take it as an act of good faith.”
The Spain House dates back about one century. It survived the 1936 tornado that swept through Tupelo and served as the residence of pharmacist and businessman Robert L. Pound and his wife, who lived there until 1948.
The Spain family, for whom the house is named, then moved in and operated a funeral home downstairs.