Lost Mississippi: Father Ryan House, Biloxi (1841-2005)

On this 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we think of our friends and landmarks on the Gulf Coast and hope to see them on the other side of Hurricane Isaac. Meanwhile, we pause to remember another one of our landmarks lost seven years ago today, the Father Ryan House in Biloxi.

The rather dry National Register description of the house doesn’t mention the most distinctive and obvious character trait of Father Ryan, the palm tree growing through the front steps. But the bed and breakfast that operated in the house in its later years still has its website, which is bittersweet in its use of the present tense:

The Father Ryan House Bed and Breakfast Inn is a National Historic Landmark located in Biloxi, Mississippi. Built in 1841, it is one of the oldest remaining structures on the Gulf Coast and the one time home of Father Abram Ryan, Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.

Situated on the beautiful white sand beach of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the House and grounds have been painstakingly restored and furnished according to that period.

Each room and suite has its own unique character and charm. You may choose to enjoy the spectacular view from the Jefferson Room and pamper yourself with a whirlpool bath or relax in the stately elegance and romance of the Father Ryan Rooms which are furnished with exquisitely hand crafted beds and antiques dating back to the early 1800′s.

Today only the palm tree remains, shorn of its stairs.

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For more hurricane stories from Mississippi, see “Lost to Katrina” and “Katrina Survivors.”



Categories: Biloxi, Demolition/Abandonment, Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina, Lost Mississippi

6 replies

  1. Enjoyed the website link you provided. Love that it is still viewable! Looking at all the beautiful views from the rooms and their lovely furnishings and all the history the home once held makes me terribly sad – - gone with the wind.

  2. one of my favorites–so sad that these landmarks are gone. irish hill is looking a little better though there is plenty of rebuilding room remaining throughout biloxi.

  3. Thanks for the memos – I stayed there several times and it was lovely and comfortable and hospitable. I didn’t know the palm tree was still there. How ironic. Without the tangible resource of the historic house to remind us, who out there during the Civil War sesquicentennial is talking about the poet laureate of the Confederacy?

  4. My wife and I married on those steps on April 12th of 1997 and my whole family spent the night there that evening. My wife and I still have fond memories of the whole Biloxi coast and that amazing day.

  5. My husband and I have enjoyed several visits to the Father Ryan House, and as the years passed I believe the home sweetened through the ages just like wine. I imagined Father Ryan himself hosting a traveler in need of a place to rest his head, and the early days of operation as a bed and breakfast establishment. I feel blessed to have been fortunate enough to spend time in such a lovely, historic home. (I particularly liked the second floor) The Father Ryan House was owned by a Dr. And his wife, a nurse, and with the profits they would build hospitals in third world countries. A home rich in beauty and history, the Father Ryan House will be missed.

  6. Don’t cry for me Hurricane Katrina! The truth is I shall not leave you! Don’t make it harder, for you too see me! I kept my promise!

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