David L. Beckley, president of Rust College, announced Wednesday the school has received a $3 million gift - the William Coxe Estate in Holly Springs. The home is now the school's thanks to the generosity of Germantown, Tenn., couple, Kathy and Joe Overstreet.
The property commonly referred to as Airliewood will be used by Rust College in furthering academic and community service programs. College leaders are discussing the possibility of housing its special collections, guest facilities and meeting and public events center in the home. Currently the college is using space in the Leontyne Price Library to house an international collection of art and artifacts from around the world.
Known since 1938 as Airliewood, the mansion is a gothic style villa, built as a town house in 1858 for planter William H. Coxe, on a 15-acre estate in the heart of Holly Springs on Salem Avenue. Its iron-gate and fence were attributed to Wood amp& Perot of Boston, and are identical to those at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
At the invitation of Coxe, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant occupied the home as his headquarters and residence for him and his family during the winter of 1862-1863.
Since 1858, the house has changed owners and undergone many renovations. The Overstreets purchased the mansion in 2002 and presided over a massive multi-year restoration of the original 5,070-square-foot home, and added a 4,000-square-foot addition, all done under the direction of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
The mansion is on the National Register as a historic site, and Rust College will continue to maintain the estate according to MDAH requirements.