While many of its buildings have long sat abandoned or unkempt, the City of Brandon’s quaint downtown historic district has recently come to see a cheerful resurgence. WBA’s own principal architect Jamie Wier was drawn to the city’s small-town appeal. In 2013, he was attending the Brandon Christmas parade and noticed an unassuming building at 200 Town Square.
Jamie investigated the building, its history, and its availability. Now, he owns, has restored, and lives in the historic building, built some time in the 1850s. 200 Town Square was first occupied by The Barnes Store, a mercantile shop owned by Wiley G. Barnes. When Barnes partnered with Webb Douglas Ragland, it became the Barnes and Ragland Store, with offerings ranging from fruit to tools to caskets. Later in its life, it would become a general store, a makeshift jail when the courthouse and jailhouse were burned, and doctor and law offices. The Barnes family owned the building for just shy of a century before selling it to Bill and Kathryn Humphries in 1970. The Humphries operated it as a hardware store before selling it to Charles and Ann Sheppard, who converted it to an antiques store. The building next door was built in 1883 and owned by the Shields family. In 2016, Jamie purchased both buildings totaling 12,000 square feet, both of which survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, and two raging fires.
Around every corner lies a piece of history and a story being told. Jamie knew it would take a lot of hard work and dedication, but that he was now handed a role in this story. Jamie was meticulous about preserving the character and integrity of the delicate building. The building is sturdily constructed of hardwoods and brick, with beams bearing dates as far back as 1903. Every structurally sound item or feature was carefully preserved, but the brick appeared problematic. Brick craftsman Brad Brown painstakingly replaced nearly half the brick to carefully match the original. Now, it’s difficult to tell which is which.
The Wierhouse is now not only home to Jamie and Meagan, but two new tenants that occupy the five loft apartments. Coming soon is Genna Benna Restaurant, Georgia Blue Bakery, and a speakeasy in the basement that bears the bars that once held prisoners. Through his methodical recreation of 200 Town Square, Jamie Wier is helping breathe new life into small town Mississippi – a feat Jamie is proud to do for a community that has embraced him.