The building at 398 Blaize Avenue is famous as it served as the Starr Boarding House for a famous 1966 movie called, This Property is Condemned. This movie is a1966 Tennessee Williams American Drama movie starring Robert Redford (Captain America), Natalie Wood and Charles Bronson, filmed in its entirety in Bay St. Louis. For her performance, Natalie Wood received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama.
The exterior scenes of the film, This Property is Condemned, were filmed in 1965 and include scenes in front of the First Missionary Baptist Church and a retail shop which was the Movie Theater in the film.
Movie Story: After the Starr Boarding House falls into ruin, the city of Dodson condemns the property, hence the title of the movie. The movie’s title “This Property is Condemned” became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Following Hurricane Katrina, the building was scheduled to be demolished and the Bay St. Louis Little Theater (who lost their original building to Katrina) came to the rescue. Today the Theater has a year-round performance schedule and an annual “Stella Yelling Contest” as a tribute to Tennessee Williams and this famous play.
There is a display cabinet on the first floor of the Bay St. Louis Depot that hosts memorabilia from this film.
Building Details: The building at 398 Blaize Avenue was built in 1929 with the influence of Classical Revival architecture. It is a 2.5-story, rusticated concrete block building. Most windows are single or paired 6/6 double-hung-sash; some have concrete lintels. Doors are located on the third, fourth, and sixth bays, of the first-story, main façade. On the second-story, main façade, doors are located on the second and fifth bays; these are single doors with four-light transoms flanked by partial height, six-light sidelights. These second-story doors open out onto porches topped by gables with returns. A wall gable stretches across the left three bays on the main façade. A gable dormer with returns and paired six-light window is located offset right on the main façade. A gabled wing extends from the left elevation; a second-story door on the front of the wing duplicates those second-story doors on the main façade.
Fun Fact: Legend has it that the building was referred to as the Scafide building because of the influence of John Andrew “Baby Grand” Scafide (June 21, 1911 – October 24, 1979). He was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the Boston Redskins and played college football at Tulane University. Scafide served 16 years as mayor of his native Bay St. Louis from 1953 to 1969.
City: Bay St. Louis
Accessibility: wheelchair accessible; accessible bathroom; accessible parking