The Colonial Revival house at 1378 Beach Blvd. was built around 1910, probably as a summer home for a New Orleans lumber businessman named Capt. John Smith. |
Ownership included interesting local families, including the Frenches and Pringles, but more recently the family of Will Denton. Denton, who died a year ago, was a colorful Biloxi attorney and his wife, Lucy, is known for her civic activities.
In 2001 both appeared - along with their house - in an episode of "If Walls Could Talk," a popular program on the Home & Garden Television channel.
"We talked about things we'd discovered during the renovation of the home," said Lucy Denton. "In the upstairs north wall, we found heart pine, the kind used to build the house. It was left over and they'd stacked it. We had a table and seats made out of it."
The new furniture from the yellow pine, once prominent in South Mississippi's ancient forests, is gone. Katrina also took just about everything else.
"It looks like the house was lifted up and moved to the northwest corner, and when it came down it crumbled," said Denton. "Where it used to be there's the brick slab of the front porch. We found no furniture, just a plate here, a piece of silver there."
And the future of the property?
"I'm waiting to see what comes out of the Governor's Conference," said Denton, referring to the Mississippi Renewal Forum led by New Urbanists who recommend rebuilding with codes and roads that encourage walkable, inviting neighborhoods and downtowns.
"If they come back with a scenic Beach Boulevard, I'd rebuild - farther back and smarter, but I'd rebuild."
- KAT BERGERON