Thursday, June 24, 2004

Mynelle Gardens renovation underway

Renovations have begun on the Westbrook House in Mynelle Gardens with hopes of making the Jackson park a larger tourist attraction.

The city will spend $311,000 to improve the interior of the historic house located at 4736 Clinton Blvd. Eventually, supporters hope wedding receptions, meetings and horticulture shows could be held inside the house.

Built in 1921, the Westbrook House has been closed to the public for more than a decade. The gardens are named after Mynelle Westbrook Haywood, who was an expert in flower arranging and gardening and lived in the home.

The city bought the house for $150,000 in 1973. Mynelle sold the property to preserve the gardens and house. The property was last occupied in the 1960s. About 6,000 people visit the park each year but have not been able to tour the house.

The house was designed by Noah Webster Overstreet and is considered a landmark. It was listed as one of the state's most endangered historic sites by the Mississippi Heritage Trust in 2000. The improvements will make the building eligible for listing on the National Registry of Historic Places, a designation which opens the door to federal grant monies.

The Mynelle Gardens Botanical Society begins a campaign this summer to raise $300,000 to complete renovations of the house. Tax-deductible gifts may be sent to P.O. Box 12308, Jackson, MS 39236.

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