Ishee house for sale in Gautier, real estate ad MS Coast

A house for sale in Gautier was designed and built by one of southern Mississippi’s best-known developers, self-made entrepreneur Carroll Ishee.

The 3 bedroom home is located at 8305 Pine Cone Drive in North Gautier near the newly reopened Hickory Hills Golf Course. It is listed for an asking price of $260,000.

The real estate ad had a sale pending at 4 p.m. Monday.

Jeff Rosenberg, a curator at the Department of Marine Resources, told the Sun Herald that the house is “very iconic of Ishee.”

Rosenberg curated an exhibit of Ishee’s work which is on display indefinitely at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs.

Rosenberg said the house, which was built in 1979, dates from Ishee’s late period and bears hallmarks of the style he developed towards the end of his life, including an emphasis on durability and l harmony with the natural environment.

Ishee’s death in 1982 dates the house as one of his last constructions.

The mid-centered style home has large fixed glass walls “to create a tree house,” the listing says, and features hidden storage in the living areas and a Japanese-style shower room.

“There are only a few Ishee houses that have been built on the coast…a true art lover’s dream,” according to the listing.

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A house built by Caroll Ishee is for sale in Gautier for $260,000. The listing was pending sale on March 28, 2022. Courtesy of Mariia Comeau

Who was Carroll Ishee?

Carroll Ishee was born in 1921 in Hattiesburg. He had no formal training as an architect. He went to law school but “found he didn’t care,” Rosenberg said.

But over a four-decade career building homes in southern Mississippi, he developed an idiosyncratic style that makes many of his homes recognizable on the coast today.

Ishee had already built houses in a minimalist style when he suffered a traumatic heart attack in 1963, an experience Rosenberg considers a pivotal event in Ishee’s career.

During the year-long recovery period following his heart attack, Rosenberg said, Ishee read library books on architecture that his wife brought him from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was a graduate student. He taught himself techniques such as perspective drawing in order to refine his art.

When he was able to rework, the self-taught builder’s new homes tended not to include features such as lawns that needed extensive maintenance. Rosenberg said this change stemmed from Ishee’s experience of the heart attack, which he attributed to working too hard.

Rosenberg said there is a “mystique” around these houses, which is partly due to the fact that many were built on densely wooded land and cannot be seen from the road.

This is part of a broader concern Ishee has embraced with the natural environment, which is reflected in the Gautier house now for sale.

Rosenberg noted that, on the front door of this house, “there is no traditional knob; it’s a giant tree branch. It is the connection with nature.

Application for national recognition for the local builder

Rosenberg, the preservation coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, has spent years researching Ishee’s life and work and is in the process of submitting a list of his buildings to the National Register of Historic Places.

Registration in the register would contribute to ensuring the protection of dwellings in the event of disaster and the recognition of the artistic talent of their construction.

But while such national recognition has so far eluded Ishee’s legacy, he’s somewhat of a household name here in southern Mississippi, where about 150 of his buildings still stand, with a large concentrating in Ocean Springs.

“If you ask anyone on the Gulf Coast about Ishee houses, they’ve heard of them, so there’s always been great public interest,” Rosenberg said.

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A house built by Caroll Ishee is for sale in Gautier for $260,000. The listing was pending sale on March 28, 2022. Marie-Comeau

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A house built by Caroll Ishee is for sale in Gautier for $260,000. The listing was pending sale on March 28, 2022. Courtesy of Mariia Comeau

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A Caroll Ishee house is for sale in Gautier for $260,000. Courtesy of Mariia Comeau

This story was originally published March 28, 2022 4:30 p.m.

Laura J. Boyer