COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - In 1925, soon to be Gov. Hugh White, purchased 26 acres in Columbia, Mississippi, hired an architect from Jackson and began constructing a Spanish Colonial mansion.
“This is supposed to be one of the finest examples in the state, built during that period. That style was very, very popular. This is supposed to be one of the best examples," said current mansion owner Ann A. Simmons.
White served his first term as governor in the mansion.
“He and Mrs. White entertained. He did some of the most wonderful public relations work," said Simmons.
The Simmons family purchased the mansion in 1955, during White’s second term as governor. It was purchased in 1986 by son Bill Simmons and Ann Simmons, who spent the last three decades restoring the mansion to its former glory.
“When we bought the home, it had been derelict for about eight years. No electrical updates, plumbing updates or air conditioning or anything of that sort. We had to start by taking every radiator out of the house. The furnace worked. We did have that working. Everything had to be done and updated. All the plasterwork in the house had to be redone. There were a lot of surprises and fun things, but it took many years and we are still working on a lot of things that we would like to see done,” said Simmons.
Simmons said the upkeep on the house is no trouble, as long as you enjoy the preservation of something so historic.
“You grow up with a sense of when it was a historical piece for Mississippi history and for the community. You want to be a good custodian of the house while you have it. Take care of it and hopefully leave it to someone for the town that will appreciate it," said Simmons.
The structure has much of the original wall engravings, floor tiles, and gardens.
White served as Mississippi’s 45th and 50th governor. He served a four-year term in the state legislature between his governing terms.
He passed away on September 19, 1965. He was buried at the Hollywood Cemetery in McComb.