Live Local: Peoples Bank Building

Lace up your shoes and take a stroll with News 25’s Lorraine Weiskopf in today’s edition of Live Local, a series you can catch here on News 25 on Thursdays.

Today, we take you to stop number 18 of the Biloxi Walking Tour with Biloxi Library Historian Jane Shambra.

Originally planned to be the Harrison County Bank, the building at 152 Lameuse Street instead opened its doors as the Peoples Bank in 1924 at a cost of $16,000.

They are still using the brass bank sign from the original Peoples Bank where the Ellzey’s Hardware Store is today.  Shambra said, “This is the only bank where you can see pieces of the past. It looks like an old bank with the bars and the furniture and equipment. You’ll not see this anywhere else.”

Chairman and CEO of Peoples Bank Chevis Swetman said, “My favorite part about the bank is the bank lobby and then across the street at the witch weather vane which was out there when the original bank came together in 1896.”

Once upon a time, the weather witch would watch over the city with her companion, the gargoyle, but times have changed and they have since been separated. “Still, we can see the weather vane. It’s still going in spite of all of the storms. But the gargoyle took a tumble during Katrina but they did renovate it and brought it here and this is its new home in the lobby of the bank.”

Now you might be wondering why are gargoyles in Biloxi? “Because they wanted one. It was a great tourist attraction; you see this thing in Europe not downtown Biloxi but it is very neat.”

Another noteworthy feature is its walk-in vault, weighing over 12 tons. “You’ll see this amazing vault. It is massive, the kind you maybe see in a movie. It looks so secure, the bank has had this vault in for decades and decades, there’s nothing else like it.”

The historical landmark will be celebrating its 125th birthday on April 13th of this year.

Live Local is made possible through the support of the Biloxi Public Library System. Be sure to tune in every Thursday as News 25 continues highlighting places of interest along our Coast.

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