Historic Ceres Plantation leased to new tenant|[11/15/07]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ceres Plantation House at Flowers will be leased to a new tenant, but its immediate use remains uncertain.

Edwin and Lisa Holman won the approval of Warren County port commissioners this week after theirs was the lone bid submitted.

Executive director Wayne Mansfield said Wednesday the terms allow for the house to be leased for five years at a monthly lease of $500.

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Efforts to reach the Holmans were unsuccessful. The deal is subject to approval by Warren County supervisors.

For much of the past decade, the ancestral home of the Flowers family was central to a plant nursery operated by Bob and Janine Fant. The nursery closed in May after negotiations fell apart to rework terms of Fant’s $900 monthly lease that put tenants in charge of maintaining the house. Also, the property would revert back to the county if a commercial tenant had an interest in placing a business on the site.

Port officials said soon after Fant’s departure another commercial venture at the site was unlikely. Acreage around the Greek Revival planter’s cottage could also be purchased in pieces by the Mississippi Department of Transportation in long-range plans to rework exit ramps on and off Interstate 20.

Built on land granted to Uriah Flowers in the 1830s, the house was a haven for women and children escaping a torn city after the Siege of Vicksburg. It was then passed down to later generations of the Flowers family. In 1954, it passed to U.G. Flowers Jr. and was renovated most recently in 1978.

Several attempts were made in the past 30 years to have the house declared a Mississippi Landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, all of which failed largely because not enough of the structure could be deemed authentic.

The Warren County Port Commission bought the acreage around the house and developed Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex in 1987. The industrial park is now home to a Tyson chicken cooking and packaging plant, a Nissan supplier and other manufacturers.