Civil War-Era Estate Given To Rust College

By Special to the Daily World
HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — Rust College is now owner of an 1858 Civil War-era mansion. Rust College President Dr. David Beckley says the estate, valued at $3 million, is located just a few blocks from campus.

The mansion known as “Airliewood” was built back in 1858 as a cotton plantation.

Beckley said that in October, Memphis Banker Joe Overstreet and his wife, Kathy, told Rust it could have Airliewood if it could raise $750,000 in matching funds.

The school was able to do that and recently took ownership of the estate.

“It is a 10,000-foot mansion, very well maintained and ideal for entertaining and hosting groups,” said Beckley. “The facility will be used as a guest facility, museum facility, and entertaining and community use.”

Currently the college is using space in the Leontyne Price Library to house an international collection of art and artifacts from around the world.

Known since 1938 as Airliewood, the mansion is a gothic-style villa, built as a townhouse in 1858 for planter William H. Coxe, on a 15-acre estate in the heart of Holly Springs. Its iron gate and fence are identical to those at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

At the invitation of Coxe, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant occupied the home as his headquarters and residence for him and his family during the winter of 1862-1863. Since 1858, the house has changed owners and undergone many renovations.

The Overstreets purchased the mansion in 2002 and presided over a multiyear restoration of the original 5,070-square-foot home, and added a 4,000-square-foot addition, all done under the direction of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The mansion is on the National Register as a historic site.

Rust is a historically Black college in Holly Springs with an enrollment of about 900.

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