Members sought for preservation society in Tupelo

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission, best known for its efforts to save the Spain House, will launch a nonprofit, fundraising arm with a kickoff event Thursday.
The gathering seeks to register new members while raising money for the newly created Tupelo Historic Preservation Society. Open to the public, the event is set from 5-7 p.m. at the home of Mary Connor Adcock, 1304 Lawhon Drive.
A minimum donation of $35 is required for membership, though higher funding levels are available.
The move comes seven years after the City Council formed the commission, which since then has designated several local historic landmarks and one local historic district – downtown’s Mill Village. It also successfully lobbied the city to save the century-old Spain House from demolition.
Yet despite its advocacy role, the quasi-governmental group has lacked funds to tackle preservation projects of its own. So it created a sister society that, as a nonprofit, can raise money to purchase and renovate historic properties.
“We heard people say all the time, ‘Why don’t you do this or renovate this?,’” said commission member and new society president Karen Keeney. “But we couldn’t. We’re all volunteers with no operating funds. We had no ability to make a project happen. Now we will.”
All proceeds raised in the first few years of the society’s operation will fund restoration of the Spain House, which will be relocated from its current site on the corner of Main and Madison streets to a city-owned lot in Mill Village.
A $175,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will fund a majority of that move, along with help from the city and Calvary Baptist Church. But restoration will be left to the Historic Preservation Society, which also will become the home’s new owner.
“I hope Spain House can be a headquarters for Historic Preservation Society and that it will be available for all historic groups,” said commission member Doyce Deas. “I want it to represent the importance of historic preservation to a community.”

WHAT: Tupelo Historic Preservation Society Inaugural Membership Meeting

WHEN: 5-7 p.m., Thursday

WHERE: At the historic home of Mary Connor Adcock, 1304 Lawhon Drive, Tupelo

COST: $35 to become an individual member;donations of all amounts welcome

• DONATIONS: Mail to THPS, PO Box 3115, Tupelo, MS 38803

Click video to hear audio