Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County)
The Cedars is one of Jackson’s oldest residences. It was constructed around 1840 as a two-room galleried cottage. At some point, a one-room schoolhouse was attached to the north side of the house and additions were built on the rear, closing in the rear porch. Through several owners, one of whom was Governor Hugh White, and a few changes, one of the city’s few antebellum buildings has retained considerable integrity and conveys a great deal about the historical growth of the city and the formerly rural nature of areas surrounding downtown Jackson. Located on Old Canton Road south of Meadowbrook Road, the house’s proximity to Interstate-55 has already changed the surrounding neighborhood dramatically, and recent developments of zero-lot line residences on the adjacent properties leaves the Cedars more vulnerable than ever. Recently, the Cedars sold for a large asking price, which increases the probability that the location of the property will supercede the historical importance of the house and site.
2015 Update – SAVED
Having purchased The Cedars and surrounding property, the Coggins family donated the house to the Fondren Renaissance Association (FRA) with the stipulation that the building be moved so the lot could be developed with condos. However, plans for the development fell through and the owners offered the lot to the Fondren Renaissance Foundation. The organization took on the monumental task of raising the money to purchase the property and to restore the house. The money raised was enough to buy the property and to receive a matching grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission Building Fund for the Arts to reuse the house as a community visual and performing arts center. Renovation work was completed on the house in the summer of 2004 and it was dedicated on August 29, 2004.
Now, The Cedars is home to an art gallery and is used for community functions and fundraisers. The open floor plan and versatility easily accommodates functions with up to 500 attendees. The Fondren Renaissance Foundation sponsors “Four Seasons of The Cedars” and Symphony at Sunset with the full Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The Cedars represents a tremendous effort on the part of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation and the many people in the Fondren neighborhood and others who gave time and money to save the house in its original location and to help bring it back to life for the community.