OUTLOOK: The Cypress House and its storied history

Published 4:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2022

There is no kitchen in Vicksburg more notable than that of Laurin Stamm’s.

For more than 20 years, Stamm, who was the food editor for The Vicksburg Post, wrote a weekly column entitled “From The Kitchen of The Cypress House.”

While readers may be familiar with Stamm’s kitchen, which was depicted in a drawing that ran with each of her columns, that included stories she wrote highlighting family, friends and local events and of course recipes, The Cypress House itself may not be as familiar.

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The home was built in 1913 for W.K. McLaurin, who would later become a judge. Three generations of the family continued to live in the house, said Story Stamm Ebersole, great-granddaughter of McLaurin, until it was sold in 2019 to the Rev. Andy and Anne Andrews.

Located on the 3400 block of Drummond Street, the outside of the two-story home was not originally made from cypress. It was a board and batten home with a porch that covered a majority of the lower level of the exterior.

It wasn’t until Laurin Stamm and her husband, Jack, took possession of the family home that the exterior was changed to cypress.

Prior to the Stamms moving in, Ebersole said her grandfather and her uncle lived in the home.

“My uncle (the late Vaughn Fields, father of Vicksburg resident and journalist with Mississippi Today Lauchlin Fields) and my mother inherited the home, but when my grandfather and uncle lived there, they converted it into apartments,” Ebersole said. “They just didn’t want to live in a big house.”

After the death of her grandfather in 1969, Ebersole said her parents managed the apartments.

“They then just decided they were going to live there. So my parents redid the house,” Ebersole said, with Vicksburg architect Skippy Tuminello hired to draw up the plans.

“We remodeled the house. It just had siding on it. I am not really sure why Skippy did it in cypress,” Ebersole said, but she did know the cypress was obtained from a friend of her father’s who was a craftsman who worked for Anderson Tully at their Memphis location.

The remodel was completed in 1972 and the family moved in.

“We lived in Broadmoor and when we would go over there, we would say we were going over to the new house,” Ebersole said.

It was Ebersole’s younger sister, Maggie, who was two years old at the time, that began calling the “new house” The Cypress House, and from there it stuck.

Ebersole said the house had originally had a dirt-floor basement, but when the family moved in, it had been finished out.

With a family of seven, Ebersole said, the house had five bedrooms, with sisters sharing at one point. This had not been an ideal situation, Ebersole said.

“Lauri and I shared a room until we started fighting. We were teenagers,” Ebersole laughed, therefore, to keep the peace changes were made.

When asked what her favorite things were growing up in The Cypress House, Ebersole said there were too many to list.

But she did say she and her siblings always thought it was unique that they lived in a house with a winding staircase.

“It was just always cool to have a winding staircase back then,” Ebersole said.

Also distinctive was the wine rack.

“My dad’s favorite was the wine rack that was built out of the same cypress that the house was covered with. And of course, it’s the same wine rack you see in Mama’s cooking column that was sketched of the kitchen,” she said.

For those interested in seeing the interior of the home, The Cypress House recently went viral on the For The Love Of Old Houses Facebook page, which connects old home lovers to their dream house.

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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