Drive along Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian and you will see some beautiful historic homes.
Through the years, however, many have been left to sit idle and slowly fade from their original grandeur.
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A neighborhood collective is determined to change that, one house at a time, for a few homes on the scenic street.
Several investors have formed the 2407 PSD LLC, which stands for the address 2407 Poplar Springs Drive. That's the address of the first home to be renovated.
It once housed the Wright family, including Martha Waller “Matty” Hersee Wright.
“I have always loved that old house,” said Tim Hester, one of the investors who resides in the house next to the Wright home. “This is an historical project and a community project. The home has been vacant for about five years and is Spanish style with stucco. Families throughout the years have lived in the home, but it was left and vagrants started moving in, some sleeping in it, and I just wanted to bring it back to its original grandeur.”
Hester is part of a neighborhood group titled “Friends of Poplar Springs Drive,” a collective of residents in the neighborhood who are trying to restore the homes, as well as help those on the street who may not be able to keep up their homes due to being elderly or other reasons.
Matty Hersee Hospital and Matty Hersee School of Nursing were named for Martha Waller “Matty” Hersee Wright. She was instrumental in establishing the hospital, which originally was located at 2314 Poplar Springs Drive and was organized by Hersee in 1892 with other civic minded ladies.
What is left of the former hospital sits at the corner of 8th Street and Old Highway 80 West in the College Park area. The School of Nursing closed in July 1986 and the hospital closed around the same time after providing many years of free healthcare to the needy.
The house on Poplar Springs Drive was built in 1903 and the house Hester resides in was built in 1895 and was occupied by the Grant family. The Wright home is close to 5,000 square feet and includes an outside two-car garage with an apartment above it.
“The apartment has a kitchen and bathroom in it,” Hester said.
Like the home itself, he said, all of the wiring and plumbing is going to have to be redone in both buildings.
In the future, Hester said the garage could be a home for a caretaker of the grounds. The seven investors hope to restore the home and garage and sell it to a single-family household. If that doesn’t work out, the possibility of turning it into a bed and breakfast has been discussed.
“It will probably take months to clean the property and we will be starting to do that in the next couple of weeks,” Hester said. “A lot of the doors have been removed and we have no idea if they were stolen or where they are. All of the windows are on hinges.”
The property qualifies for state and federal tax credits as it is deemed an historical site.
Hester said he hopes he can get about eight other investors involved who would be interested in protecting the status of the homes needing renovations.
“Our LLC states we can have 15 investors (partners) and we are hoping to get others onboard.”
Hester grew up in Meridian and said he always had a love for the area that is Poplar Springs Drive. He presently works for Hill Real Estate Group, LLC. The investors plan to film the renovation of the home from start to finish and hold a gathering when it is complete to show the video of the project.
Anyone interested in getting involved may call Hester at 601-453-2149.