Rhode Island couple restoring a piece of Vicksburg History

Published 5:32 pm Friday, October 11, 2019

One of the most eye-catching older homes in Vicksburg is the “Old Feld Home” on Cherry Street.

Passersby are sure to notice the property’s prominent blue-tiled roof, Palladian arches, piazzas and wide bracketed eaves.

The Nationally Registered Historic home also caught the eye of Cindy Thrana when she was looking on the Old House Dreams website.

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Thrana, who is a Rhode Island resident, was searching the web for old homes in the South.

Her husband, Pierre Patry, was nearing retirement, and the couple was ready to come down from the cold.

“We were trying to move some place Southern that would have less snow,” Thrana said.

“We looked in Florida and poked around a little bit and just couldn’t find anything,” she said.

As a decorator and department store designer, Thrana said, she always wanted to live in a historic house, but those in her home state were financially unavailable.

But now that the couple was set on moving to the South, Thrana decided to revisit her dream, and this past December she bought the Cherry Street home.

“The funny thing is I didn’t tell my husband I bought it,” she said.

Thrana’s husband was still a year and a half away from considering retirement, but because she was scared the house would sell, she snatched it up using money she saved.

Before the purchase, Thrana said, the house was listed as a pending sale, which made her heart drop, but luckily the deal fell through and the house came back on the market.

Thrana said it wasn’t until after her wedding anniversary, which is New Year’s Day, she decided to let her husband know she had bought the house.

“My girlfriends kept asking me when I was going to tell him,” she said, so on the following weekend, she let him in on her news.

“He was shocked, but rolled with it,” Thrana said, thus beginning what she called the journey with the home.

Unfortunately, construction got off to a bad start, Thrana said, but now with a more reliable contractor, things are moving along.

The exterior of the home is getting a much-needed face-lift with painting and roof repairs as well as landscaping, and the inside demolition of walls and floors that were damaged by water in the past few years has begun.

There is still much to do, Thrana said, but progress is being made.

The rear bedroom, which had sustained severe ceiling and wall damage has been repaired and painted. The center room of the home, which Thrana referred to as a ballroom, has had layers of tile removed from the floor and sub-flooring has been installed. Electrical and plumbing repairs are underway.

The cleanup and repairs are extensive, but once finished the home will be a treasure for the River City.

Thrana said she and her husband have recently put their Rhode Island home on the market and once it sells will be making Vicksburg their home.

With her love of antiques and old homes, and his love of the Blues, Thrana said, Vicksburg checked off all the boxes for the move down south.

Before looking for a new abode, Thrana said her husband gave her two requirements when shopping.

“He said he wanted a house that was all on one level and no fixer-upper.”

Thrana laughed and said she just pretended she didn’t hear the fixer-upper part.

The Old Feld Home was built in 1913 for Hannah B. Fishell, the widow of Alfred B. Fishell, who was a local businessman.

With its Mediterranean Romanesque Architecture, the home is one of the most architecturally significant residences of early 20th century Mississippi.

In 1929, the house was sold to Maurice and Juliet Feld, who were owners of a local furniture store.

The 5,000 square-foot home remained in the Feld family for almost five decades until it was sold in 1974.

In the 1980s, Russell Puckett purchased the property following four previous owners.

In July 2015 after Puckett died, the house was put up for auction.

Shortly after the purchase, Thrana was told the new owner was diagnosed with stage-four cancer leaving him unable to go forward with a renovation. In the interim, the house was leased to a family with the option to purchase.

This also fell through, and regrettably, Thrana said in their attempt to make improvements they did more harm than good.

There is still much to do to make the home livable, but once finished, Thrana said, she is hoping to host private parties and open it up for tours.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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