Biloxi Landmark Gets New Lease On Life - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi Landmark Gets New Lease On Life

A tractor-trailer pulled into the lot on Meaut Street Friday morning, carrying precious cargo. On board was a 100-year-old Biloxi Cottage.

Jerry Creel fondly remembers growing up in the house.

"We had a wood stove in the kitchen and that's where my mother used to cook," Jerry Creel said. "The whole neighborhood would come here and had fish fries, and the ladies would be quilting."

His parents, J.A. Tony and Gladys Creel, raised six sons in the single-story frame house.

"It only had about four rooms in it," Creel said. "How we all slept in there, I'm still wondering."

One son grew up to become a Chancery Clerk. Another son served as a Port Commissioner.  Their father also won six terms as Biloxi's City Commissioner.

"Politicians would come there from the state level all the way down and drink coffee, because they figured it was a lucky cup of coffee," said Jerry Creel.

After Katrina, the Creel family sold the cottage they've owned since 1936 to Key Largo Holdings. The company donated the house to the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum to be used as offices on its Point Cadet property.

"The house was slated for demolition," said Marjie Gowdy, Ohr-O'Keefe Museum Director. "We were very lucky. It had very little water damage. We're really proud to be able to save this 1905 cottage that has such a long and wonderful history tied to Biloxi."

Key Largo donated an additional $10,000 to move the house. The Heritage Preservation Task Force also pitched in $15,000 to pay for the move. The house still needs a lot of work, but the Ohr-O'keefe folks hope to move in by Thanksgiving.

"We'll be very thankful to be in the house by Thanksgiving," said Gowdy.

"I would be proud to come by here and go in it," said Creel. "I appreciate them restoring it. I know the family does. I can always pass it and say, 'Well, this is where I growed up.'"

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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