Brentwood, a barn filled with history, lore, love

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015

HISTORIC VENUE: Brentwood in Poplarville is decorated for the holidays and Sunday’s Poplarville Women’s Club Parade of Homes.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

HISTORIC VENUE: Brentwood in Poplarville is decorated for the holidays and Sunday’s Poplarville Women’s Club Parade of Homes.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

The original location of Stonewall’s BBQ was a barn nestled among the river birch trees on Highway 53 in Poplarville.
According to restaurant legend, during the Civil War, General Stonewall Jackson was holed up in there and wrote the recipes for Stonewall’s menu on the wall, Stonewall’s BBQ owner Tony Smith said.
While that legend may have no more fact than fairy tales, the barn, which is now named Brentwood, has a rich history, which can be traced to the 1850s.
In the early 1990s, Smith began looking for a barn to take apart, in order to construct a barn to house his restaurant.
After spending a good deal of time near the Smoky Mountains, Smith found an old dairy barn through a friend.
“The place was junked,” Smith said, “but I went back, spent a little time there and bought it. It was built somewhere around the 1850s.”
While the legend of Stonewall Jackson’s imprisonment has no basis in fact cannon balls found in trees surrounding the barn give some credence to the fact that the barn did survive the Civil War.
The logs that make up the barn are made of chestnut, cypress, hickory and cedar, Smith said.
“We labeled and numbered each log so we would know the right way to put it back together when we got it back down here,” he said.
In 2000, Louisiana natives and Poplarville residents since 1990, Deedra and Phil Gardebled purchased the barn from Smith.
“I wanted to build a restaurant,” Deedra Gardebled said. “I’ve always loved to cook. We wanted it and we bought it.”
Gardebled originally wanted to open a gourmet-type restaurant, which she did, and named the establishment, River Birch, because of the trees which surround the barn.
However, the demand for gourmet wasn’t there and the couple decided to open a seafood buffet where they served steaks in a more casual setting. On Sundays, the Gardebleds served a buffet with “country cooking,” she said.
“We soon got tired of the late nights and tried to serve just lunch and moved the River Birch to town,” Gardebled said. “After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it wasn’t the same anymore and we closed the restaurant.”
But, the Gardebleds still had Brentwood. Soon after the restaurant closed, Deedra Gardebled was approached about hosting a wedding at the historic barn.
Now, many events, showers, birthdays and other milestones are celebrated in the historic barn.
“Owning Brentwood has fulfilled a passion of mine,” Deedra Gardebled said. “I love cooking and the people so much. I thought we had retired, but I wanted to do something. Through my love of cooking I discovered that I’m a people pleaser and I would do anything to make them happy.”
Sunday, the community is invited to tour Brentwood during the Poplarville Women’s Club Christmas Parade of Homes.
The barn is the hospitality house, where guests can enjoy refreshments, inquire about directions to other homes and also purchase tickets.
The parade of homes will begin at 1 p.m. and last until 5 p.m.
Tickets cost $5. For more information about purchasing a ticket contact Carolyn Tedford at 601-310-0377, visit Nita Gilpin at Mississippi Power on Julia Street or contact Kathy Stansy at 601-795-5656.
For more information about hosting an event at Brentwood, contact Deedra Gardebled at 601-795-0937. Brentwood is located at 3750 Highway 53, Poplarville.

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