CATEGORY: Monroe County
HED:Historic homes lure buyers
By Eileen Bailey
ABERDEEN -Jerri Stacy started looking seriously several years ago for an older house to make her home.
“I have been waiting on an older home most of my life,” Stacy said. “I had been to every town in Northeast Mississippi that was 30 to 40 minutes away from Tupelo. Then I found Aberdeen.”
When the former Tupelo resident first started looking in Aberdeen, Stacy said it was for a cottage-style home but there were none on the market at the time.
Instead, she found the large Victorian home on Hickory Street that was built in the early 1870s by Robert Brannin.
The Thompson Home, as it is known, was the childhood home to Gilded Age builder Addison Brannin, who worked on such buildings as Aberdeen City Hall, the Old Hale House, the Houston home, numerous sidewalks in town and he rebuilt the existing Chancery Court building.
The two-story home had been renovated before Stacy purchased it in March. “It had a lot of possibilities,” she said. “The yard was blank and I could do my own thing.”
“It is kind of what I had in mind,” Stacy said. “I love the neighborhood and people.”
Stacy is typical when it comes to buyers of older homes in Aberdeen, said Marsha Ballard, owner of Southern Realty & Management Company in Aberdeen.
Buyers, who vary like the styles of homes in the town, either want an old home or a new home. “You have to make a commitment to an old house,” she said.
There are young buyers and retirees purchasing older homes. There are buyers who are history buffs and those who love the architecture of the older homes, she said.
The lure of older homes is evident, Ballard said, during the Monroe County town’s annual pilgrimage.
“People get old house fever in the spring,” she said.
And Aberdeen has the older homes 55 on Aberdeen’s driving tour alone.
“Aberdeen is one of the few towns to have antebellum and Victorian homes,” Ballard said. “We are one of the towns that is that old.”
Homeowners in Aberdeen and residents in the community work hard at preserving their historic homes, some of which are sold through the homeowner. Some of the homes have been renovated and others can be renovated by a new owner.
It’s part of the draw that gets people into town, she said. It’s something the Tourism Bureau, Main Street programs and retirement programs work at, Ballard said.
Eleanor Ashley, owner of Ashley Realty Company, said Aberdeen has been blessed with affluent residents in the past. Because f this, “We have examples of every style of home since we began,” Ashley said. “Not only can you get a bargain, you get a slice of history.”
The homes in Aberdeen date back to the mid-1800s, some even as early as the 1830s. They run the gamut from small cottages to antebellum mansions in this Monroe County town, which was founded along the Tombigbee River.
There are a number of vintage Victorians in Aberdeen and they are a good draw with their intricate molding and turrets.
Ballard said many of the older homes in town have hardwood floors, antique mantles and other original features that draw buyers.
These homes also come with a modest price. Ballard said the price range for the older homes she has listed range from right at $60,000 to almost $129,000.
One house that has 5,000 square is listed for $99,000. This gives it a per square foot cost of almost $20. The lots around the homes range from a half acre to 1.8 acres, Ballard said.
“You can get, per square foot, more house for the money with the older ones,” she said.
Ashley said older houses can be purchased for half of the cost of building.
“There is no way you can purchase the types of materials in these homes,” she said. For example, many of the hardwood floors or beams are original to the home. Ashley said there are some beams that are 150 feet in length.
But there’s more. These homes, some which are on the National Register of Historic Places, have a history. “That is just one thing that makes Aberdeen different,” she said.
Ballard said the people who buy the older homes expect to have not only a house but a part of its history as well.
From high-ranking Confederate soldiers to well-known Aberdeen merchants or officials, these homes offer not only history about the town but also about the people who lived there.
And that’s something buyers are looking for, she said.
“Buyers like Jerri don’t just want a house,” Ballard said. “She wants the history of it.”