Jo Ann Ussery’s Extraordinary Home Adventure
The trend of utilizing unconventional materials for building homes, such as buses, tiny houses, and shipping containers, has gained popularity in recent years. However, Jo Ann Ussery embarked on this unique housing trend long before it became fashionable.
In 1993, tragedy struck when her home in Benoit, Mississippi, was destroyed, leaving her and her two children in need of a new place to live. Facing financial constraints, her initial thought was to buy a trailer as a solution. But an unconventional idea from her in-law, Bob, who was an air traffic controller, changed the course of her life – living on a plane.
Intrigued by the concept, Ussery found and purchased a disassembled Boeing 727 for just $2,000, including shipping. She affectionately named her new acquisition “Little Trump” after learning that Donald Trump owned a private Boeing 727 as well.
With determination and creativity, Ussery began the monumental task of transforming the plane into a unique and comfortable home. With a budget of less than $30,000 (equivalent to approximately $60,000 today), she embarked on a project that would demand significant time and financial investment.
Stability during the renovation was crucial, so she strategically positioned the plane on her property with the nose facing a picturesque lake, securing the tail with concrete. The plane, measuring nearly 138 feet in length and featuring 76 windows, offered abundant natural light.
Ussery made significant modifications to the plane’s interior, prioritizing insulation improvements and installing new flooring. She repurposed the plane’s bathroom and overhead bins for space-saving solutions, resulting in a brilliantly designed living space that maximized the available area.
Once the major renovations were complete, Ussery focused on creating a comfortable living environment. The transformed plane now featured three bedrooms, a cozy living room, a fully functional kitchen, and even a convenient laundry facility. Ussery went above and beyond, adding unexpected luxuries like a phone and an oven. The masterstroke of her design was the cockpit’s transformation into a magnificent master bathroom with a soaking tub and breathtaking views outside.
What sets Ussery’s achievement apart is that she accomplished this extraordinary transformation single-handedly. From 1995 to 1999, she and her children lived aboard their converted plane, reveling in the joys of their unique abode.
Eventually, Ussery decided to share her creation with the world, converting it into a public museum. Tragically, during the process of moving the airplane a short distance, a mishap occurred, causing it to slip off the carriage and disintegrate.
While Ussery’s Boeing 727 may no longer soar through the skies, its legacy continues to captivate and inspire. Her incredible journey of turning an outdated airplane into an extraordinary home demonstrates that with vision, creativity, and determination, one can create a living space that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Jo Ann Ussery’s story serves as a testament to the boundless possibilities that exist when we dare to think outside the box and transform our dreams into reality.