Volunteers working to restore the old Kirksey Maternity Hospital in Mulberry are celebrating the completion of the most recent renovations to the historic site with an open house Sunday, June 29 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 as the Bryant-Lasater House because of its original owners, the building at 770 N. Main St. in Mulberry is best known as the maternity hospital and office of Dr. Odell J. Kirksey, who began practicing medicine in Mulberry in the 1920s.
Visitors will be able to tour the lower level of the building, which has been completely restored, said Monica Freeland, mayor’s assistant and granddaughter to Dr. Kirksey, as he is still called.
"It’s just a little reception to showcase the restoration efforts," Freeland said.
Those restoration efforts include new flooring, sheet rock and interior paint, and restored trim and molding.
"It’s just phenomenal what those working on [the hospital] have been able to do," Freeland said. "They have just put in countless numbers of hours, and it’s all volunteer."
Dr. Kirksey died in 1966, and after renting it out for several decades, the Kirksey family deeded the house to the City of Mulberry on Feb. 5, 2004.
A committee was organized in April 2013 to begin cleaning and repairing the building. Some of those who have worked on the building include Mary Lowrimore, Jimmy and Donna Moore, and Harlene Jackson, head of the restoration committee.
Grant money, donations and assistance from Kirksey family members helped pay for the costs of restoring what many consider an important piece of Mulberry’s history.
Though she is not sure if it will be open for the reception, a room off the front entrance believed to be Dr. Kirksey’s office will be set up as a miniature museum of sorts with some of his instruments and items from the hospital.
Whenever the office room is ready, it open for viewing but not accessible. Other portions of the lower floor will be available for rent or reserve for meetings, receptions or weddings.
"Our community is just going to have a beautiful place to hold functions and I’m hoping people will use it," Freeland said.