This Unbuilt Mississippi post features what would have been the tallest structure in downtown Biloxi until the construction of the Santa Maria del Mar in the early 1970’s. I was able to find this nugget in a 1908 issue of The American Architect.
Biloxi. — It is expected that work will begin within from thirty to forty-five days on the Harrison County Bank Building, which is to be erected on the Lemon corner, at Howard Avenue and Lameuse Street, at a cost of $40,000. It will be five stories in height, built of brick. R.H. Hunt, of Chattanooga, is the architect. D. J. Gay, President of the Harrison County Bank, is the owner. Bids are soon to be asked for.
–The American Architect Vol. XCIV., No 1722. Page 16
The article makes the construction sound like an inevitability, but by the time the corner was documented in the June 1909 Sanborn fire insurance map, no building is indicated as being under construction. It is possible that the quotes might have come in quite higher than the $40,000.00 estimate, which would have been a little more than $1,000,000.00 in 2015. Possibly some “value engineering” led to the building that exists there today. By 1914, Harrison County Bank had built on the site, a two-story building that would have roughly cost half as much to construct. By 1924, Harrison County Bank was bought by People’s Bank, which still occupies the structure to this day.
If you are familiar with previous posts about Architect Hunt you will know he was no slouch, having designed at least 100 buildings in Mississippi, almost all of them major landmarks in their communities, all the while training some of the next generation of Mississippi’s significant architects. Is it possible that Hunt designed the two-story bank? Who knows, but if you’ve ever seen the structure in person you know if fits the bill of being a community landmark, worthy of a R.H. Hunt design.