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Save Merrehope for Me' campaign in full swing

By By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 23, 2002
The past came to life Monday, as guests stepped through the door at Merrehope and were greeting by members of the East Mississippi Living Historical Association.
Dressed in Civil War costumes, members of the organization were on hand as the Meridian Restoration Foundation challenged residents and local officials to help "Save Merrehope for Me."
Merrehope was built in 1858 by one of Meridian's original settlers, Richard McLemore, as a three-room cottage.
The F.W. Williams house was built around 1886 by Frank W. Williams as a wedding present for his wife, Mamie. The house was moved to the present site near Merrehope in 1979.
Preserving history
The Meridian Restoration Foundation bought Merrehope for $20,000 in 1968 and began to restore it. It opened to the public in 1972.
The name "Merrehope" stands for three things: "mer" is for "Meridian," "re" is for "restoration" and "hope" is for the "hope to continue to preserve."
Since 1968, foundation membership has shrunk from 300 to about 100. Plus, the two homes now need extensive repairs including a $50,000 roof on the F.W. Williams home.
Foundation expenses
The foundation pays about $2,500 a month for insurance and utility bills, in addition to the salary of three hostesses who give daily tours.
Through the years, extra money has been raised through bookings of weddings and special events.
The public can join efforts to save Merrehope by becoming members of "Friends of Merrehope." The organization charges a $10 yearly fee; people can volunteer when able.
What: Merrehope and the F.W. Williams home.
Where: 905 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Drive.
Needs: Both need extensive repairs, including a new roof for the F.W. Williams home.
Membership: $10 a year to join "Friends of Merrehope."
Information: Call 483-8439 for more details.