N.C. couple looking to the future through the past in Utica

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 25, 2002

Kevin Horne restores an antique bed post at Cane Ridge Antiques and Restoration in downtown Utica. (The Vicksburg Post/Jon Giffin)

[07/25/02]UTICA Kevin Horne has spent months restoring a building that the former owners intended to demolish for the structure’s bricks.

He is now preparing the building, eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, for an Aug. 3 grand opening of what will be Cane Ridge Antiques and Restorations.

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Horne said Wednesday he never thought he would live in Utica, a small town in Hinds County about 25 miles from Vicksburg.

But something led the Winston-Salem, N.C., native and his wife there to buy a house after he transferred to work as chief operating engineer for Marriott Hotels in Jackson about five years ago, and something has kept him there since.

“My wife said we’d move down here on the condition we bought an antebellum home,” Horne said. After searching, they found their dream house in Utica and bought it.

Then, four years ago, his company eliminated his Jackson job and offered him the option to move. Horne decided to stay in Utica and, at least initially, to take a few months off.

“I decided it was a much more pleasant life to be out of corporate America,” Horne said. He said refurbishing old furniture is something he never knew he enjoyed, but loves his newfound craft. Practicing it in Utica, he said, is something he couldn’t have foreseen.

“I really believe God has a plan in our lives. I don’t think anyone would come to Utica, Mississippi, unless God brought them there,” Horne said.

The owner of the building where the business will operate is Dr. Mary Landin, a retired researcher from Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg. She was born and reared in Utica and became a champion for the building at 100 Depot St. to prevent it from being demolished, like other buildings in Utica, so its bricks could be used to build new houses in Madison and Ridgeland areas.

“Basically they have a long-term lease with out paying any rent,” Landin said, saying her tenants’ work was payment enough.

Landin said the old building had housed a Masonic Lodge, doctors’ offices and many different grocery stores over the years.

She said she remembers going there when it was Johnny Davis’ grocery store when she was a child.

“You could get a double-dipped ice cream cone for 5 cents,” Landin said.

After Cane Ridge Antiques and Restorations opens, Kevin Horne said it will probably operate one day a week, and he will continue to refurbish furniture daily.