Historic Downtown Biloxi Walking Tour: Old Biloxi Library

If you’re looking for something to do during the pandemic you might want to consider taking a stroll on the historic Downtown Biloxi Walking Tour.

In our new segment, Live Local, News 25’s Lorraine Weiskopf is highlighting a new stop along the tour every Thursday.

The second stop on the Biloxi Walking Tour is at the Old Biloxi Library, which is right around the corner from the Hurricane Katrina Memorial.

This building served as the city’s public library until 1978 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Jane Shambra, who works for the Biloxi Library System, has a scrapbook that shows the library during its prime. “It was full of kids and the neighborhood had a lot more kid population, but adults would come. It was the book age.”

Even though the building is no longer home to Biloxi readers, the design is almost a mirror image from the past. “We have original architectural plans for the old library building. The library was built by Carl E. Matthes, a very famous design artist and looking at the owl from the original plans you see it’s still the same despite hurricanes.”

If you’re facing the front of the library you might notice a blue plaque beside the staircase on the right. “Whenever you visit a building see if they have one of these, cornerstones will tell you who designed it and who built it.  A little bit of the history like in this case this will tell you that mayor of Biloxi was Mayor Kennedy at the time.”

Today, the Old Biloxi Library serves its residents a little differently. The building is now home to Le Café Beignet. Yet this isn’t the first time the library has been home to something other than books.  “It wasn’t only a library, it was an art studio and the city used it for offices as well. It’s still here despite all the storms. It’s amazing.”

Categories: Featured, Harrison County, Local News, News

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