Anyone who has been in the Old Biloxi Library on Lameuse Street knows what an architectural treasure it is, but few people get to see inside it anymore.
The building just down from City Hall that once was Biloxi’s library now is used for city offices. Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich on Friday advertised for proposals to lease or lease-purchase the property.
“This is a piece of Biloxi history,” Gilich said. “At the same time, its highest and best use, considering its location and appeal, would be as a restaurant or some other use that would open it up to the public and private enterprise.”
The library is at Lameuse and Water streets, near several restaurants.
“The public ought to be able to appreciate the beauty and charm of this building, and at the same time it should be on the tax rolls and become part of our growing lineup of downtown restaurants,” the mayor said.
Built in 1924-25, the building served as the Biloxi Public Library until the mid-1970s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Spanish Colonial Revival building, featured on the Biloxi Walking Tour, was designed by architect Carl Matthes. He also designed the old Biloxi City Hall, the Buena Vista and Tivoli hotels, Howard School No. 2 and the old Biloxi City Hospital.
Gilich said he wants to determine what kind of interest there is in the building, which has twin stairways and twisted columns, and an elevator.
“It would be great to open it up to the public, so everyone can appreciate its beauty and charm,” he said.