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Jack Hardy House still holds history

The lights streaming from the old wooden windows have caused motorists to slow down as they pass the Jack Hardy House.

The lights are coming from Brookhaven residents John Lynch and Hugh Mathis, who are working to restore the historic house. In the process of renovating, they’ve stumbled onto a few interesting items.

They located glass pints of blood, a 48-star United States flag and silent movies. The items tell the story of the home’s history.

“I think the pints of blood came from the infirmary that used to be here,” said Lynch. “One of the ladies that lived here wrote four books, and one of them turned into a silent movie.”

Lynch believes the stack of silent movies came from Tallulah Ragsdale’s movie star friends. Ragsdale was one of the state’s first published female authors.

They also found poker chips, which they think came from the original owner, Jack Hardy.

The 48-star flag could be anywhere from 58 to 105 years old. The flag was flown from 1912-1959.

Capt. Jack C. Hardy, a former ship captain with a taste for horse racing, built the iconic Hardy House, located on Natchez Avenue at S. Jackson Street, in either 1867 or 1877, depending on the source.

The house stands as one of eight Italianate-style homes left in Mississippi. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

“He was a gambler,” Lynch said. There are tales that he built the home from the money he made from gambling.

The house used to sit on 300 acres with a horse track that once stood on the grounds behind the home. 

Lynch has been intrigued by the house, which had fallen into disrepair, for years.

“The house has been looking at me for years and I’ve been looking back at it,” Lynch said laughing. “I feel like I was called to work on it.”

He’s currently working on the design with Mathis.

“We’re saving the wood that we pulled off the walls,” Lynch said. “We’re working with the Department of Archives and History to save and re-work the windows and floors.”

Mathis started on the foundation of the house by taking out the sub-flooring. They’ve also worked to find the original brick.

“We had to get all the stuff off the walls because it was crumbling,” Mathis said. “We put a French drain around the outside to get the moisture out, so we’ll start back from new to get it to the original state it was in.”

The men believe the house will be restored in one to two years.