W.J. Quarles House in Long Beach to be restored

The oldest building in the City of Long Beach is officially being restored thanks to a two-million-dollar grant from the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund.

Through the years, the W.J. Quarles Home has endured hurricane damage, was moved from its original place on Railroad Street, and in 2003 it was listed as one of the ten most endangered historic sites in the state.

Now the oldest building in the City of Long Beach is set to be revived and open to the public. City of Long Beach Community Affairs Director Jenny Levens said, “It’s– this is nice. This is the last house that’s even around that has any history to it in Long Beach. We lost so much in Katrina, so this is the only historical house that we have in this city.”

In 1894, eight years after moving to Long Beach from Tennessee, Jim Quarles built the two-store home, known as Greenvale, for his family.

Following Quarles’ death in 1924, the 127-year-old home had been sealed for most of the 20th century up until now. “The house will house the Long Beach historical society and be like a welcoming center for visitors to come and check out the history of the city.”

Just one of the many ways the city hopes to incorporate the Quarles home into the Long Beach community is by having local artists display their artwork inside the home.

Additionally, the city is hoping to have a community garden as well as host community events at the Quarles Property. However, the main goal is to highlight the city’s past. “So, we can just showcase Long Beach and show what we have to offer and show its rich history.”

While the rehabilitation of the historic site has been a long time coming, community members will finally be able to see one of the first steps in the restoration of the property soon. “We will start the porch pretty soon because that design is already approved and then as far as the rest of it, it will follow through with all the planning and we’ll have to go through Archives and History for the preservation of the house.”

Prints of what the restored home will look like are available for purchase for $35 through the Long Beach Historical Society.

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