Time hides the histories of some houses, and the Colonial Revival at 1306 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi is one of them.
"I was told it was built around 1896 or '97 as part of the Avondale subdivision, and that's why it is on such a narrow lot, but can't confirm that," said Michael Mavar, whose family is known for the Mavar Shrimp & Oyster Co.
"From the beginning, Biloxi was a favorite resort for Louisiana and upstate planters and visitors but in the late 1800s Northerners began to find out about it. I was told this house was built as 'a summer cottage' for one of them, one of the so-called 'seven men of steel' who built U.S. Steel."
When Mavar bought the house in 1985, it was 3,000 square feet, and he added 2,000 more. It was also being used as a Domino's Pizza office at the time.
"I grew up several blocks east and felt comfortable living near the water," Mavar said. "It was 25 feet above sea level, weathered Camille."
Katrina wasn't so kind.
"I've not had my own structural engineer look at it yet," Mavar said. "The whole house was gutted even though there wasn't that much water inside. The foundation was affected and the house shifted. It may be salvageable but I don't know that yet.
"Hopefully I'll be able to do something with it when I see where insurance goes. I'm like everyone else, waiting on insurance and waiting to see what neighbors are doing with their property. All that affects what we will do."
Even before Katrina, Mavar had started building a new house in Gulfport and now he's moved up the time table to have a place to live.
- KAT BERGERON