Okolona, Mississippi (Chickasaw County)
The Chandler House is one of Mississippi’s increasingly rare examples of a residence combining Greek Revival and Italianate stylistic features. The façade of the two-story wood-frame house is dominated by a monumental colonnade of six octagonal columns, one of only about a half-dozen houses in the state with that feature. Segmental-arched windows and a bracketed cornice impart a distinctive Italianate character.
The earliest part of the house is thought to have been a small log cabin built in the 1850s. In 1868 or 1869 the house was purchased by Col. James R. “Bob” McIntosh, a former Confederate officer who practiced law after the Civil War and served in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1872-73, later becoming president of a local bank. McIntosh had the house extensively enlarged and remodeled to its present design about 1870. In 1896, the house became the home of Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Chandler. It remained in the possession of the Chandler family and their heirs until it was donated to the Okolona Development Foundation Charities in 2005.
In recent years, the Chandler House suffered badly from neglect and deterioration. It has stood vacant for roughly 25 years and had previously been used as a rental property in serious need of substantial stabilization and restoration. As one of the most significant historic houses of Okolona, its preservation is crucial to community revitalization efforts.
2015 Update – No Progress
The Okolona Development Foundation has received an architect’s report and estimates that it will take $750,000 to restore the structure. Although a $50,000 Carpenter grant has been obtained, fundraising is at a standstill and this property is still endangered. It continues to suffer from neglect and deterioration. Over the last four years, engineers, contractors, architects, and consultants have provided estimates on amount needed to restore and stabilize. $20,000 was initially raised from private individuals to stabilize the property. This money is being used to maintain the property. Perry Grubbs, director of the Okolona Chamber of Commerce does not feel hopeful that the property will be saved, as the owner passed away this year.