Steel House on Poplar becomes an Airbnb rental

By John Lee

The historic Steel House on Poplar is soon becoming a new Airbnb, thanks to Tony and Gwen Alexander.

The Alexanders, both Philadelphia natives, bought the property in 2020 and aim to have the house open for rent on the internet within the next two weeks.

“We chose this house because we loved it and we love Poplar Avenue,” said Tony Alexander. “We knew this was the perfect home for an Airbnb, and we didn’t even know the story behind it.”

An Airbnb stands for “Air Bed and Breakfast”, and is a service that allows owners to rent out their space to internet travelers looking for a place to stay.

The Steel House was built by Willard Hays and Richard Molpus shortly after World War II in 1945, and the late Sarah Steel owned the house for years.

“Willard Hay’s daughter, Lynn Ferguson, sent us information about the house,” Alexander said. “Once we bought the property, so many people told us how they had lived in this house or were even born there.”

He said the inspiration to buy the property struck him when he was commuting from Philadelphia to Columbus, Georgia (where his wife was teaching) every other weekend, and wanted a place where to stay in Philadelphia between trips.

“My dad was in the military and while I was born in Philadelphia I lived in Georgia for most of my life and traveled to many different states and military bases with him,” Gwen said. Alexander. “I retired from teaching in Georgia in May 2022. However, my roots are in Philadelphia, and although I miss Georgia, I feel a good sense of peace here and am pleasantly surprised at how not I like it.”

Tony Alexander is the owner of Steve’s on the Square and Gwen is a Talented and Gifted Teacher (TAG) at Neshoba Central.

“We looked at this property and knew it was the perfect location,” said Tony Alexander. “Renovating it into an Airbnb took a lot of work. When we first bought the property, we worked on the hardwood floors, put in new tile floors in the bathroom, installed new counters, painted the kitchen, and more on one side. Gwen worked on the other side of the property, including changing the lighting, colors, etc.

The Alexanders aim to open the Airbnb for rent within the next two weeks and expect people to use it when visiting Philadelphia for the Neshoba County Fair, weddings, class reunions and other events. .

Gwen Alexander said she and her husband attended the grand reopening of the Ellis Theater in December and observed the number of people who came from out of state.

“I saw so many people and it was exciting for Philadelphia,” she said. “This town is about to explode and people are going to want a place to stay, and this new Airbnb will be an option for them.”

For more information about Airbnb, contact Gwen Alexander at (706) 329-2915.

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