Rogers Home survives; Whitfield goes

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The stately North Church Street Rogers Home, which had faced the wrecking ball as its downtown church owner eyed it for parking, will be spared.
But its century-old neighbor is slated for demolition today.
The Whitfield Home will vanish from Jefferson Street when an excavator rips the two-story structure apart.
Its owner, First Baptist Church, plans to use the soon-to-be vacant lot for parking. It had confirmed its intention in January to demolish the structure, along with the nearby Rogers Home, which it also owns.
The news prompted public outcry and a petition by the Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission to block the Rogers demolition, although not the Whitfield one.
The church ultimately agreed to leave the Rogers home standing, and the commission rescinded its petition during its most recent meeting in May, said commission chairwoman Karen Keeney.
Keeney said the commission is aware of the Whitfield demolition and doesn’t formally object.
Century Construction crews arrived Thursday to remove shingles from the structure due to concerns they might contain asbestos, said company founder Colin Maloney.
They’re scheduled to return today to tear down the rest of the house, which has occupied 530 Jefferson St. since approximately 1912.
The church had purchased the home several years ago from the Whitfield family, which had owned it since 1948. Most recently, it housed the Christian Women’s Job Corps.
No one from the church office was available for comment Thursday.

Click video to hear audio