Mississippi Heritage Trust looks to renovate Walter Anderson Home from 1845

The Mississippi Heritage Trust recently announced its acquisition of a former home of one of the most prominent artists on the Gulf Coast.

Atop a bluff in Gautier overlooking the Mississippi Sound sits Oldfields, a home in which Gulf Coast artist Walter Anderson resided in when creating his famous large-scale block prints.

By way of an anonymous donor, the Mississippi Heritage Trust has now acquired Oldfields Property with plans to restore it. Mississippi Heritage Trust Executive Director Lolly Rash said, “People who care about historic places in Mississippi have been just lamenting this potential loss for years, worrying about this building. And we had a donor step forward, a longtime supporter of our organization who said this one’s just too important to lose. Those were his words.”

Walter Anderson Museum Executive Director Julian Rankin said, “And it’s there where that he made some of his most well-known work and entered into his most prolific period as an artist and so for that way–for that reason it’s critical to Walter Anderson’s story. It’s actually the place he left to visit Horn Island several times.”

Following the significant damage Oldfields sustained during Hurricane Katrina, the property was named to Mississippi Heritage Trust’s ten most endangered historic places in the state in 2011. “It still has that storm damage. So, the first thing you do with a property that is in need of restoration is you look at the roof. Is water getting in? And water is getting in. So, we need to stop that.”

Rash says she hopes to hold a virtual meeting in the new year to hear from the community about their hopes and ideas for the Oldfields property once it’s restored.  Rankin said, “We are just excited to be a part of this process, which is a long one to bring it back and restore it. The future and the promise for doing that is to continue to educate, to expose people– not only to the architectural importance, but to the cultural importance.”

For now though, Rash says the next step in securing the property is finding immediate funding for restoration of the exterior of the building.

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