This building, known locally as the Sailer House, was built by Israel Sailer (1817-1896) in 1856. Sailer was a local pre-war architect who, after the Civil War, went into business with Jesse P. Norfleet (1814-1889), calling their business Norfleet and Sailer. Before the War, Sailer is known to have constructed several houses in town, including the Sailer-Matthews House, on Center Street, and possibly the old Malone House, located on Alderson and long-since demolished. Sailer’s architectural trademark was to finish his homes with stucco, which was then scored to imitate stone. This building is the last known Sailer-built structure in Holly Springs which has its original stuccoed walls.
The Sailer House was owned by Israel Sailer from 1857 to 1859, Joel E. Wynne from 1859 to 1860, and Michael Manley from 1860 until 1874. The McDermott family, who ran the nearby Depot, owned the building in the early 20th century. The building is currently owned by Samuel B. West.
It is possible the building was used as an early office building for the local cotton industry, before the construction of the Cotton Compress next door. In the 1970s the building was gutted by a fire, and has been abandoned ever since.
The Sailer House is a one-and-a-half-story flanking-gable brick building, finished with stucco that is scored to imitate stone. According to the National Register, there was once a three-bay porch on one side of the house, but no trace of this porch remains today.
The Sailer House was listed on our 2016 Top Ten List of the Most Endangered Historic Properties in Holly Springs, due to the fact that it has been empty and abandoned for many years now, and the current owner lives out of town. There is little immediate hope that the building will receive a much-needed restoration.
This house is definitely one that should be preserved and accurately restored. The use of scored stucco by builder/architect Israel Sailer is something that should be studied more. The house is one of the few (and the only one I can think of at the moment) with that technique located outside of Natchez or Vicksburg. Further study would be useful to learn more about Sailer and the diffusion of this technique in Mississippi during the antebellum period. Preserving this house would give such a study more meaning. Hopefully someone with funds to restore (or at least purchase) the house can contact the owner and make him/her an offer. I know there are plenty of intransigent property owners out there (I’ve met quite a few nasty ones), but there is always a chance they might decide to sell.
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Thank you for the comments W. White! There are many of us in town who agree with you, and recognize the architectural importance of this house. Unfortunately, I would consider the house to be critically-endangered. The house which was located directly across the street from the Sailer House was destroyed recently, without authority. This house is owned by a different owner, but many of us are extremely worried this house might be next.
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