Blog Post

Kooky-cool mosaic house in Mississippi: Road-trip side stop

Side Stop: Bernheimer House

212 Walnut St., Port Gibson, Miss., 601-437-2843

Although we planned carefully for our July road trip to Texas, we always see unexpected oddities along the way. Today, I am highlighting a cool old house in Port Gibson, Miss., that I know very little about.

Sweetums and I passed the house and noticed it was covered in mosaic tiles so I asked him to take a photo from the car window.

The Bernheimer House in July 2019. (Photo by Wil Elrick | Permission Required)

It was intriguing – though not nearly as stunning architecturally as some other homes in the area – so I looked it up when we got home.

The house, known as the Bernheimer Building, or Bernheimer House Bed & Breakfast, was built in 1872 by brothers Samuel and Jacob Bernheimer. They built several other homes and commercial buildings nearby that are now listed at the Bernheimer Complex Historic District.

The buildings were constructed on the site of a house used by Gen. Ulysses Grant as headquarters during the Battle of Port Gibson.

UPDATE: A reader named Stanley Hastings sent this information: “A couple of corrections re the Bernheimer House in Port Gibson. By the time the bank was built, they’d moved away. Samuel Weil had the house by that time. His two children, Karl and Rose, grew up there, and Karl’s Law office was on the second floor of the bank. Rose married Powell Dungan, and they had one daughter, Karla, who sold the house after Powell’s death in 1995. Rose died in 1987. Karl died in 1991. I spent many hours there growing up, and it is my favorite house in Port Gibson.

The Bernheimer House in better days. (Elissa.Rolle | Wikimedia Commons)

A historical marker near the site (shown online; we didn’t see it) said:

“Built by Samuel and Jacob, prominent Jewish businessmen, this complex forms an unusual group of consecutively constructed buildings of various architectural styles. This house, built in 1910, replaced an earlier one used by Gen. U.S. Grant as his headquarters after the Battle of Port Gibson, fought on May 1, 1863.”

Although several websites say the home is now a bed-and-breakfast, it was in need to some TLC when we were there. I would love to know more, such as whether the mosaics were original and why they are there. If you have info, email kellykazek@kellykazek.com .

These two buildings across from the Bernheimer House were also built by the Bernheimer brothers. The bank at left was built in 1901. The small white building at right was likely a small store or office with living quarters above, according to MississippiBluesTravellers.com. (Infrogmation | Wikimedia Commons)

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