UPDATED: Quarles House appraised, restoration planned
Update: The Long Beach BOA approved a contract to improve the condition of the Quarles house and property.
Originally Published March 3, 2021
By Lindy Sholes
Last year, the City of Long Beach was gifted one of Mississippi’s most endangered historic landmarks, the Quarles House.
The home was owned by William James (Jim) Quarles, a farmer and school teacher from Tennessee, who moved to Long Beach with his family in 1884. According to the book Rosalie and Radishes: A History of Long Beach, Mississippi, provided by Long Beach Historical Society president Beth Hansen, the family built the home, known as Greenvale, in 1892. The home has been moved from its previous location on Railroad Street. The book was written by Mary Ellen Alexander, the daughter of Geoffrey Steele Watrous and May Quarles Watrous, who was the daughter of William James Quarles.
Hurricanes and time have not been kind to the oldest building in the city, but, with some work, the City hopes to preserve and restore the home. Measures to do so have begun with an appraisal of the property, valued at $200,000, which will add the home to the City’s insurance policy. City spokesperson Jenny Levens said the building could be used as a welcome center for visitors, a venue for community events and educational opportunities. She said it could also be used to display local art work and memorabilia celebrating the history of the city.
“Interest in the history of the Quarles House and its preservation has been evident in the community,” Levens said, adding that a group of fifth graders started an initiative in 2005 called “Project Citizen,” in which students volunteer to clean the grounds surrounding the home.
“While maintaining the historical integrity of the home is important, the planned use of the building and grounds will require extensive electrical and plumbing upgrades, and installation of a HVAC system,” Levens said. “Additionally, ADA accessibility and fire code requirements must be met. Parking areas will need to be designated and paved, and security measures to include wrought iron fencing and video surveillance will be put in place. Landscaping of the grounds and adjacent cemetery will be designed and executed.”
Rosalie and Radishes describes, “The 127-year-old, two-story home is two rooms deep with five bays across the front. The entrance door has a glass transom, and the home contains an interior chimney. The outer walls are covered in clapboard. Two large porches originally stretched across the entire width of the home on the upper and lower levels. The structure was quite festive with gingerbread trim on the posts and sawn wood balusters adorning the upper level.”
The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and named a Mississippi landmark in 2012.
To view additional photos of the Quarles House, inside and out, visit www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/Public/prop.aspx?id=10793&view=facts&y=738.