Work on White House fountain to begin; status on other historic projects

Restoration of the White House fountain, a community landmark in the Beach Boulevard media at White Avenue, is scheduled to begin Dec. 15 and be completed in 105 days.

The restoration work, which will be done by J.O. Collins Contracting of Biloxi, will include restoring the fountain to its pre-Katrina condition.

According to a news story published in the Daily Herald in Biloxi on July 19, 1926, Walter White, who owned the White House Hotel, “was on a trip north some time ago at the General Electric plant in Lynn, Mass.” where he viewed a fountain and was “so taken with the beauty secured plans for the installation of the one in Biloxi.”

The central portion of the Biloxi fountain is 13 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a 1 to 2-foot deep pool that covers 62 feet. The fountain, according to the news story, was driven by a pump that could spay three streams of water as high as 40 feet. The fountain also featured eighteen lights, which would illuminate the streams of water.

To see photos of the White House fountain, as it appears today, click here. To see pre-Katrina video of the fountain, courtesy of WLOX and YouTube, click here.

Meantime, several blocks to the east on Beach Boulevard, work on the city’s signature landmark, the Biloxi Lighthouse, is entering its final stages.

Said Raymond: “The Lighthouse renovation is on schedule to be completed by Dec. 26, its original contracted time. There is some additional work that is being done that might extend the work out a few days. As of now the contractor has not requested any additional time.”

A re-dedication ceremony will be held sometime in January. “We don’t want to just have the contractor re-light the lighthouse,” Raymond said. “Since the Lighthouse us such an icon for the entire Coast, the relighting needs to be special. We have an update meeting next week with the contractor when we will confirm the completion date. At that time we will begin planning an event to celebrate the re-lighting of the Lighthouse after the first of the year. We didn’t want to schedule an event during to holiday season since everyone is so busy already.”

Magnolia Hotel: A $294,000 restoration of the city-owned Magnolia Hotel is underway and is expected to be completed in June 2010. To see photos of the work, click here.

Old Brick House: Contractors have removed the damaged portions of the Back Bay structure and have shored up the house. All floor beams have been re-set, and contractors are now working on the masonry restoration, where the biggest challenge is finding bricks to match the existing bricks. The restoration work has a budget of $369,000 and an August 2010 completion date. To see photos of the Old Brick House work.
click here.
News and notes

Saints alive: Mayor A.J. Holloway, responding to a citizen’s suggestions, has proclaimed Monday to be “New Orleans Saints Day.” To read background on the proclamation and to see the proclamation itself, click here.

Thanksgiving holidays: Non-emergency Biloxi municipal offices and divisions will be closed Thursday and Friday.