History-minded Glenn L. Swetman liked to call his house "a country banker's home." The civic leader and owner of People's Bank raised his family and spent his last years at the neoclassical two-story built in 1927. |
the late Swetman and his wife June collected uranium glass, walking canes and Japanese woodblock prints. Among its interesting features are a bomb shelter - a throwback to the 1960s and U.S. worries about atomic attack.
In 1982 the couple willed the house to Biloxi, with hopes it could be a home for the mayor, or a museum. They set up a trust fund to help the city maintain it.
The white-haired banker, who wrote "Biloxi: A Banker's Daybook," died at age 92 in 1994. His wife died in 1998 and the next year the house became the city's.
Because the house is in a residential zone, it didn't become a museum or a place for large meetings because of limited parking. Several arts organizations used it for headquarters, the most recent being the Gulf Coast Symphony.
"The good news is that the Swetman House did not sustain a lot of damage," said Vincent Creel, Biloxi's public affairs manager. "After Katrina, from the outside, it looked bad because of debris. The basement/bomb shelter had some flooding, but compared to most structures the city owns, it fared very well."
Creel said the house's future use by the city is undecided.
- KAT BERGERON