CATEGORY: Pontotoc County

AUTHOR: EILEEN

HED:Pontotoc home a crossroad of styles

By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

PONTOTOC - At the corner of Mississippi Highways 6 and 9 in Pontotoc motorists can get a colorful glimpse of seasonal flowers around the Patterson Home.

But this cursory look at one of the town's older houses doesn't begin to tell the full story of the home, now owned by Patsy and Kenneth Rackley.

The Patterson Home actually is a combination of two houses: the Clarke Home and the Lyon Home.

The Clarke Home was built in 1851 by Henry Bissinger, who lived there until 1859. Historical information shows the home had several owners before being purchased by Andrew Clarke in the early 1880s. The home was inhabited by several members of Clarke's family, including Frank A. Clarke, who brought his 17-year-old bride from Virginia to Pontotoc.

His bride, Mary Maddox, is said to have shocked neighbors by sliding down the banks of the yard with children. At the time the home was known as Primrose Cottage because of the wild primroses on the property.

The Clarke Home was purchased in 1951 by George Simon and his family. The original house was torn down to make way for a new home and the salvage was placed in storage until it was purchased by Russell Patterson and his wife.

The Pattersons also purchased the Lyon Home, which was built in the 1880s, in the 1950s. Historical information states the Lyon Home was dismantled to the bare framework and foundation and the Clarke Home was reassembled in its place.

Architectural details

A handmade red brick stairway leads up the front of the single-story structure, which faces state Highway 6. Four Doric columns support the porch. Long green shutters flank the floor to ceiling windows in the front bedroom and formal sitting room.

Ornate molding can be found on the inside of the windows and on the mantels in the front part of the home. The front door of the home is topped with a fan-shaped glass window and has silver keyholes and keyhole covers.

Adding their own touches and filling the home with comfortable but stylish antiques was a goal of the Rackleys when they bought the home.

Hardwood floors in the home installed by the Rackley family came from a compress in the Delta, Patsy Rackley said. The front part of the home had been carpeted but Rackley wanted hardwood floors.

Rackley, who is a nurse at the Pontotoc Hospital, said she purchased her antiques in Pontotoc and New Orleans. The antique furniture in the home is from the French and Victorian periods.

There also are some Empire pieces, including an Empire chest of drawers in the hallway.

"I'm not stuck on any period," she said of her furniture preferences.

In the family room, Rackley used windows from an older home in town as doors for cabinets.

The guest bathroom features an antique buffet that was made into a sink. The light sconces on either side of the sink once were the fixtures on the front of the Lyon Home, she said.

For Rackley, working on the home is a labor of love.

"I have always loved older homes," she said. "When they would come on the market I would go look at them. This is the first house (Kenneth) ever agreed to buy."

Patterson Home

- Patterson Home is a combination of two older homes in Pontotoc and current owners Patsy and Kenneth Rackley have added their own touches.

- One of the homes was built in 1851 for Henry Bissinger. The home changed hands several times before being purchased by the Clarke family and then the Simons. The Simon family tore down the older home to make way for a newer home. The salvage from the older home was purchased by the Russell Patterson family.

- The Pattersons stripped down the Lyon home on 104 E. Oxford St. in Pontotoc to the frame, according to historical information, and rebuilt the Clarke home around it. Today, it is believed that the molding around the doors and windows, along with the mantels, came from the Clarke home.

- The pine floors in the front part of the home were purchased from a compress in the Delta. The Rackleys also have added numerous antique pieces that match the period of the home.

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