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Lost to Katrina


Sullivan's cottage in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Among the tragic losses of architecturally significant buildings along the Gulf Coast are the little-known vacation cottage and landscaped grounds that Louis Sullivan designed in 1890 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, near Biloxi. Sullivan had gone down to the Gulf of Mexico in the winter months of 1889-90 with James and Helen Charnley, for whom Adler & Sullivan (and employee, Frank Lloyd Wright) would create the now-landmarked house in Chicago in 1891-92. All three fell in love with Ocean Springs, and there Sullivan soon built a house and guest house for the Charnleys, plus a one-story bungalow and outbuildings for himself on the adjoining property. His cottage's deep, overhanging roofs sheltered large verandas to offer protection from the sun during the warm months, and large windows fostered cross ventilation. A

Sullivan designed both the bungalow (above) and the landscape for his vacation retreat. The woman standing by the pool (right) is thought to be his wife, Margaret.

lover of gardening, Sullivan landscaped the grounds to include two rose gardens, the larger of which was arranged in concentric circles. Photographs of the house, immersed in a setting of oaks, hickory, and pine trees, were published in ARCHITECTURAL RECORD in 1905, accompanied by a lyrical essay by Lyndon P. Smith, Sullivan's associate on the Bayard Building in New York (1899). Unfortunately, the house and its plantings were totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. There is hope, however, for the two Charnley houses. Severely damaged, they await a prospective buyer who will restore them. Suzanne Stephens

This page is the first in a series devoted to the Gulf Coast's historic architecture destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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