The beachfront home of Ben and Nancy Stone might have the state record for more political fundraisings than any other Mississippi house. Ben Stone, a former state legislator, laughs when he makes the statement. |
The Stones loved their big, liveable house and they shared it, especially with politicians. Stone was a state senator from 1968-80 and has remained active in politics since returning to full-time law practice.
"Most state officials have had fundraisers in that house," he said.
Their three girls grew up at 1320 East Beach Blvd., and one of them, Virginia Robinson, lived there with her family while building a house. Katrina took all of the Robinsons' things as well as the Stones'.
The house was built in 1901 of heart pine and such thick timbers and lap siding that no one thought a storm would get it. The Stones moved in days before Hurricane Camille, which destroyed their additions but left the original house.
"The timber was so hard that as we renovated we'd have to make sure that the carpenters wouldn't saw it because they couldn't drive nails in it," said Stone, who in rebuilding went for a more West Indies look with porches and glass views.
"We loved the house. We definitely are going to rebuilt it, we hope exactly the way it was but to the new codes. It will be a long time before we get our house back because we won't get a building permit until they change all the codes."
The reference is to new height and strength codes for property near water. As a new senator in 1969 after Camille, Stone worked on the county's rebuilding and remembers being disappointed that a lot of forward-thinking plans were not followed.
"I see more of a determination this time to restrict harum-scarum growth and a dedication to try to improve life on the Coast."
- KAT BERGERON