As home to two fraternities in recent years, the stately white house on North Jackson Street near the corner of Highway 182 has hosted its fair share of parties. And the new owner has no plans to change the house”s partying ways.
Well, there will be a few changes.
The cheap beer will be replaced by Mojitos and Martinis. Cargo shorts and flip-flops will give way to seersucker suits and sun dresses. And the gigantic Slip ”n” Slide unfurled on the sloped lawn each spring will likely be sacrificed for the sake of lawn care.
The house will receive a new moniker as well. The former Sigma Chi house and former Delta Chi house will soon become Magnolia Manor.
Gloria Bagwell-Rowland, a real-estate agent currently living in Houston, Texas, closed on the house Tuesday as she and her husband anticipate their return to her hometown of Starkville. She had fallen in love with the house years ago when it was on the market for a spell as Delta Chi attempted to find a spot on Mississippi State University”s campus.
When the house went back on the market, she was ready. All she needed was a use for it.
“We did things a little bit backwards. Usually you have a concept for a business then find a location. This time I found a location and then conceived the business,” said Bagwell-Rowland.
Due to the house”s large porches and balcony, ample interior space, sweeping lawn and existing parking area, it didn”t take Bagwell-Rowland long to realize the house was meant to host parties.
“She has such a commanding presence when you look at her. I think it would be a grand place to have a wedding or event and have it in an environment that”s welcoming and feels like home, instead of a stale environment like a hotel ballroom,” she said.
Bagwell-Rowland, the former president of the Starkville Area Arts Council, will be back in Starkville before the end of June overseeing the renovation of Magnolia Manor. She hopes to restore the 100-year-old home to its original condition, with the obvious inclusion of modern amenities. In fact, as part of her research, she intends to include an historical display on the house and is asking anyone with artifacts or information to contact her at [email protected]
Bagwell-Rowland hopes to be far enough along in those renovations to open by late October or early November in time for the holidays. The interior will come first and will include a large event space, complete with bar and liquor license, capable of hosting receptions, anniversaries and parties. She”ll also install modern audio-visual equipment so businesses can use the house for corporate meetings and two of the upstairs bedrooms will be furnished to function as a bed and breakfast.
This will be Bagwell-Rowland”s first foray into running an event host facility, but she has experience as a professional event planner. She says the North Jackson neighborhood provides the perfect atmosphere and that will continue to be the case if Starkville follows through on its plans to construct a new police station on the north corner of Jackson and Highway 182.
As eager as Bagwell-Rowland is to get Magnolia Manor open to the public, it”s evident in her voice that she”s looking forward to renovating the historic house almost as much as the finished product.
“Every lady likes to have a makeover, and she”s about to have hers,” she said.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.