100 Block of Main: New Construction
One new commercial building and an addition to one of the oldest buildings on the coast have been approved by the BSL Historic Preservation Commission, with construction slated to begin soon.
- story by Lisa Monti
Plans submitted to the Bay St. Louis Historic Preservation Commission for their Oct. 8th meeting show the proposed development at 128 Main Street with space for a restaurant and six boutique-sized spaces for lease. The HPC approved the plans for the new building design.
The project goes next before the Planning and Zoning Commission and then the city council for approval.
“We hope to start in 60 days and be ready for spring,” Fisher said.
Fisher is also awaiting a building permit to extend the rear of the building on his property at 146 Main at Gex Street, across from the Courthouse. When the work is done, Fisher will divide the building in half and make the space available for vacation rental and/or retail.
The historic cottage, built in the 1840s, was home to "The Light," a small local newspaper in the mid-1900s run by Jeannette Carmichael. Carmichael owned a pet monkey that became a community celebrity. Residents eventually dubbed the cottage "The Monkey House." Later the building served as law offices.
In the mid-90s, Shoofly Magazine publisher Ellis Anderson purchased the building and renovated. Anderson, a silver-smith who opened her first studio and gallery in the New Orleans French Quarter in 1984, opened the second location of Quarter Moon Gallery in the Main Street cottage. The gallery was twice named one of Southern Living Magazine's Favorite Shops in the South. Anderson operated the gallery from 1996 until 2005, when she sold the building.
A mid-60s addition in the rear of the Creole cottage was torn down post-Katrina. While the building was gutted, stabilized and raised off the ground, it has been vacant since the hurricane.
The new addition that was approved by the BSL Historic Preservation Commission in September adds another eight-feet to the rear of the building.
Fisher said the 146 Main Street property is getting a good bit of attention from the curious public. The developer thinks he’s gotten more calls about the building than he’s ever gotten about any of his projects.
“We’ll be ready to go as soon as we have the permit in hand,” he said.
Editor's Note: Former owner of 146 Main Street, Ellis Anderson, is working on a story about the "Monkey House." She's looking for copies of "The Light" and stories about Mrs. Carmichael. If you can help, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org