Family recalls fun times at historic Biloxi home
One of the city’s most historic properties is for sale and this could be the best time of year to see the potential of the Redding House — when it’s all decked for Christmas.
“We usually decorate really nice,” said Suzanne Guice, who for a decade has managed or worked at the century-old mansion turned event venue in downtown Biloxi.
This year, she has even more reason to layer on the Christmas bling, with the house for sale for $1.5 million by Amy Woods Properties and the original family returning for a surprise birthday party. The birthday will be for a woman who grew up in the home at 770 Jackson St. and had her wedding reception there.
On Friday, Nancy Niblack Dantzler, who now lives in Panama City, Florida, was surprised by her three children, eight of her nine grandchildren, her great-grandson and other family and friends for her 80th birthday party. As a bonus, the guests in their cocktail attire stepped outside as the Biloxi Children’s Christmas Parade passed by.
Although she’s been married 60 years to Lorenzo Dantzler, “Mom still thinks of it as home,” said her daughter, Susan Dantzler Armagost, as she gave a tour of the home built by her great-grandfather, Charles Redding, in the early 1900s.
The Redding House, the only surviving mansion in downtown Biloxi, was spared any flooding or major damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was restored in 2007. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With its tall ceilings, rich wood floors, pocket doors and two-story entrance hall, the house makes a big impression. Add Christmas decorations and it’s like something out of a magazine.
The curved porches are swagged with evergreen garland and red ribbons, and more garland winds up the carved wooden main staircase in the entry.
Back in the day, the Christmas tree always stood tall in the big window alcove in the library, Armagost said.
In honor of the Redding family reunion, a real tree resplendent in red and gold shimmers just inside the front doors and all nine fireplaces are decorated in a different style.
“The crystal chandeliers, stained-glass windows and handpainted mural ceilings that were all lovingly restored remain today as evidence to the opulence of the home,” the real estate listing says.
Those murals are mermaids circling over the first floor bar.
And while the exterior of the house is a crisp white, the interior walls are a bold rose that, like a chameleon, seems to adjust to every bride’s colors, Guice said.
A for-sale sign will not be placed outside the house because it is still booked for many wedding and events for the next six months, said Sarah Carothers, listing agent for Amy Wood Properties. The venue seats 70 downstairs and 80 on the second floor and has a commercial kitchen and bathrooms.
Owner Robert Stroble bought the house as an investment soon after Katrina from physician Chuck Winters, who’d bought it from the Reddings.
Guice’s lease of the house ends in 2017, she said, adding she would like to see an owner-operator buy the house and run the venue. She said is open to staying on part-time.
“How lucky I’ve been to have spent 10 years in this house,” she said.
The Redding family said they are pleased the home has been restored and is being used. It’s been a venue for 16 years, but Carothers said it also could be turned back into a single-family home.
Cindy Dantzler Hammond, another of Dantzler’s daughters, said when they would visit their grandmother in the big house, “it would be like stepping into the 1920s.”
Nothing outside existed, other than a walk to the post office, she said, and the siblings and their cousins stayed and played in the big attic.
Redding House by the numbers
- $1.5 million asking price
- 9 fireplaces
- 2 floors plus attic
- 2 stairways
- 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
- 5,114 square feet