Happy 12-12-12 Day

In honor of the one and only 12-12-12 day any of us will ever see (unless we can get that Youth Serum working so we all live to be incredibly old and wise yet fit and trim, making all the young people of 50 or 60 just wish we would go ahead and kick off into the Great Beyond), today we recognize one of the rare historic properties in our small-town state with “1212” for an address. According to the MDAH Historic Resources Database, there are only 32 properties old enough to be considered historic with this street number. Why? I suppose only the largest of Mississippi’s towns grew big enough to get into the twelves, as the MDAH list contains entries from Vicksburg, Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Hattiesburg, Laurel, Meridian, and . . . Rosedale?

But the 1212 we’ve chosen to highlight today is the Gryder Housealso known as the Cat House, at 1212 Iola Road in Ocean Springs, . One of our 101 Mississippi Places to See Before You Die, the house, which sits in an otherwise unprepossessing neighborhood on Old Fort Bayou was built in 1960 and designed by Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff. With its whimsical concrete forms, hyperbolic parabaloid roof (Thomas Rosell’s heart is racing even now), terrazzo floors, mast (a mast! on a house!), and moat (a moat!), the Gryder House is so full of cool hipness, it might never grow old and hopefully will reach the next 12-12-12 intact and ready for another century.

The rear overlooks the Old Fort Bayou and a pool.

The rear overlooks the Old Fort Bayou and a pool.

This is what you see as you come into the driveway--to the left is a porte cochere, with a covered walk from there to the house. A mast rises through the center of the house, and I assume helps support the roof?

This is what you see as you come into the driveway–to the left is a porte cochere, with a covered walk from there to the house. A mast rises through the center of the house, and I assume helps support the roof?

Each of the bedrooms opens onto its own little conical balcony overlooking a moat that surrounded the house and terminates at a large pool in the back.

Each of the bedrooms opens onto its own little conical balcony overlooking a moat that surrounded the house and terminates at a large pool in the back.

W. C. Gryder House, Ocean Springs, Jackson County County, Built 1960 Image by Bing Maps 2012, Retrieved 8-20-2012

W. C. Gryder House, Ocean Springs, Jackson County County, Built 1960 Image by Bing Maps 2012, Retrieved 8-20-2012



Categories: Cool Old Places, Gulf Coast, Modernism, Ocean Springs, Recent Past

11 replies

  1. Now that is a very cool house!

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  2. Unfortunately the Salloum house at 1212 Beach Blvd was damaged by Katrina and demolished. I am unsure about 32nd Avenue but will check.

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  3. I am absolutely speechless.

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  4. Great post! The “mast” appears to be a hyper-extended flue, rather than a structural column. An interior photograph showing the central fireplace and chimney/flue can be seen on page 7, here: http://docomomoga.org/media/documents/FALL05.pdf.

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    • Thanks for that link–it helps show what’s going on with that mast/flue.Makes sense it is functional, albeit highly unorthodox, as Dr. Craig notes in his write-up. I had no idea the Georgia DOCOMOMO put out such an extensive newsletter! Maybe Mississippi needs a Modernist group to form and keep us up to date on Mississippi Mod!

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    • What a great link. I was intrigued to see the Sullivan-Charnley historic District included in there. Ive heard that the Charnley Houses are almost completely restored.

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  5. I don’t know, considering how long people are living today, I can think of one or two folks involved in MS preservation that just might make it to the next 12-12-12. Either way, the only thing of me that’ll still be around are the buildings I helped save. Oh, and grandkids…

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