Lost History: Pointer House (c. 1858)

The Pointer House was built in about 1858 by Dr. David Pointer, a wealthy landowner and farmer who built this as his town house.  It was almost certainly built by famed local architect Spires Boling, who also designed and built most of the other Greek Revival mansions located on Salem Avenue.

In 1869 Dr. Pointer left Marshall County and sold his home to the Catholic Sisters of Charity, who came to Holly Springs from Kentucky to found a local Catholic girls school called Bethlehem Academy.  The original Bethlehem Academy was opened in 1868 at Hamilton Place, but moved to Pointer House a year later.  During the first year the school was open, tuition and room and board was $88.00 ($1,500 in 2016 dollars) for a five month period.  The Sisters of Charity built a large frame addition to the house which included classrooms, a chapel and a dormitory.  Bethlehem Academy survived the devastating Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, even though half of the Catholic nuns who taught at the school perished.  The Academy was finally closed in 1889.

In 1893 Pointer House was bought by the Reverend Peter Gray Sears, of the Episcopal Church, who re-opened the old St. Thomas boy’s military school in the old house.  The Episcopal Church used forty shares of stock, given to the church by the estate of Kate McCorkle Dancy, to buy the property and reopen the school.

The second St. Thomas Hall opened in 1893 and lasted for over five years, graduating a new generation of young men, including Hugh L. White, who would become the Governor of Mississippi from 1936 to 1940 and 1952 to 1956.  On Christmas Day of 1898 a devastating fire destroyed the old Pointer House, leaving only the front facade and the Corinthian columns of the mansion.  St. Thomas School never opened again.  The ruins of the home stood for several years, before they were eventually razed.  Three of the Corinthian capitals from the house were saved; two can be found in the front yard of Dunvegan, and the other can be found outside  Imokalea.

In 1900 the lot was sold to the North Mississippi Oil Mill, who used the lot for several decades.  In the 1950s Coated Abrasives (which eventually became known as Clipper Abrasives) built a factory on the lot.  This factory was sold to American Pacific Panelling in 1986, and this company owns the original Pointer House lot today.

The Pointer House was a grand two-story Greek Revival house with Corinthian columns, windows with cast-iron lintels, a central pediment with round dormer window, and a main entrance with typical Greek Revival sidelights and transom.

The pictures of the old Pointer House are courtesy of Hubert McAlexander’s A Southern Tapestry: Marshall County, Mississippi, 1835-2000.

6 thoughts on “Lost History: Pointer House (c. 1858)

  1. Pingback: Lost History: St. Thomas Hall (1844) – Hill Country History

  2. Pingback: Holly Springs: Hamilton Place (1840) – Hill Country History

  3. Pingback: Holly Springs: Wakefield (1858) – Hill Country History

  4. Pingback: Holly Springs: Imokalea (1844) – Hill Country History

  5. Pingback: Holly Springs: Boling-Gatewood House (1860) – Hill Country History

  6. Pingback: Holly Springs: Dunvegan (1845) – Hill Country History

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