The George Thompson House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The George Thompson House (also known as Captain S.H. Bugge House and Stephen T. Mathis House) located at 523 Orange Avenue, Pascagoula, Mississippi, faces south to Orange Avenue, sitting close to the center of the lot, slightly closer to the south and east property lines than the north and west. There is a large live oak in the southeast front yard, a simple lawn, but no important landscaping.
A two-story gabled main mass, with one-story gabled back brick mass, the front mass of the George Thompson House has many elements deriving from the mid-nineteenth century Italianate style: a low pitched roof with generous overhangs, and with brackets in the gable ends, an asymmetric mass, and bay windows where projecting masses are three sides of an octagon. These Italianate elements have been diluted by changes and mixed with the Eastlake front porch details.
The later asphalt-shingled roof falls over a weatherboarded and corner boarded house, with a skirt fascia and brick piers, the spaces between which are infilled with wood lattice.
The front mass of the George Thompson House is a gabled end structure with the gable falling east; at the south end of the front of this mass, a cross gable falls projecting about eight feet out from the other. There is a brick chimney near the main ridge to the west of the cross dormer ridge. Roofs on both of these gables project in a thin boxed overhang supported by thin curved brackets. These merge as these gables enter into an identical boxing at the eaves of the roofs, the overhang being maintained. A small fascia falls at the tops of the walls of the gables and house walls; it continues horizontally across the walls at the gable ends. On the south facing front gable, a dormer window element starting at grade rises up two stories, through the horizontal fascia and at the eave level, and terminating at a peaked roof of three planes following the bay walls below. The two-story bay window was originally a bay window at the first floor, with a bracketed top ornamentation and windows above.
At the eaves of the bay, a boxed fascia with molding up under the roof shingles projects out slightly from a fascia which projects slightly over a thinner fascia. Set slightly behind this second fascia are the frames of the sash, mitered at the corners and with a sill running continuously around the dormer mass. Each of the two sides is set with a one-over-one sash with exterior two-panel windows screens. Below the upper sash, weatherboards and corner boards extend down to a horizontal fascia with a drip at its bottom edge. Below this, the frame of the window falls identically with the frame and sash at the second floor, except that the sills are flush with the frames. The frames continue vertically down to the water table, and the space between frames and below the sills is slightly recessed and filled with flush bands, making a panel. An odd, undoubtedly later, element are single leaves of louvered blinds nailed to the front wall at the gable and right next to the corner boards of the dormer, the blinds lining up with the window sash.
On the south side wall at the main house mass, there is a one-story, two-bay porch running from the wall of the projecting gable mass, over almost to the southeast corner where the roof hips. A later sheet metal covering was set under the boxed eave of the porch obscures the soffit beam behind, which is supported by turned posts. The posts are square sectioned, and receive a Queen Anne style railing where wood elements make square and rectangular patterns on the area normally occupied by pilasters.
The top of the posts also square sectioned to receive brackets and/or a frieze of turned elements. Two partial posts are set into the walls of the house, the weatherboards butting them.
Access is up the bay closest to the projecting gable and mass, by concrete steps about the width of the porch bay, the steps butted by buttresses with projecting thick caps.
On the wall at the head of steps, close to the corner of gable mass and front south wall, is the front door with a later single-acting flush door sash, set with Craftsman-style stained glass. To the east of this is a double-hung one- over-one window with louvered blinds. Above the porch, lining up with the door and windows below, are two one-over-one double-hung windows with louver blinds.
In the east gable, two one-over-one double-hung windows with blinds, one up and one down, fall in a line about a third of the way south from the southeast corner. One speculates that a mantel falls towards the southeast corner and the chimney above has been removed.
On the west of the main house mass, the roof hips the length of the wall. There are four symmetrically placed one-over-one double-hung sash, two to each floor, again with louvered blinds nailed on the walls next to the trim.
In back of the main house, to the north, is a one-story mass, gable-ended on the east and west ends. It has a space for an open porch the length of the south side, which might have made a porch-breezeway between the two buildings. On the south side of the back building, the pitched roof breaks and extends out over this area at a lower angle. The east wall of this back structure butts the north wall of the main house slightly west of its northeast corner, while the west wall extends west about fifteen feet past the west wall of the main house. The roof of the back building projects slightly over gable ends, walls, and porch soffit beam with simple boxed woodwork. There is an exterior small brick chimney (stove flue housing) on the west end that is centered on the roof ridge which it pierces.
The breezeway-porch is infilled at its west end. Facing south here are a single pane over three-panel wood door at the west end, then going east towards the northwest corner of the main house there are three bays of one-over-one sash separated by wood mullions. From the southwest corner of the back building, going north are first two two-over-two double-hung sash set in one frame, a single two-over-two double-hung, the chimney, then another two-over-two double hung. On the east side of the house, the gable end of the back turns and miters into an eave running west. To the front of the east wall of this back building is, to the south, a door with access out and down via wood steps, and a simple handrail, a projecting roof protecting this area. Going north is a tall one-over-one double-hung, and finally, a small two-over-two sash.
In plan, the George Thompson House is typical of many late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Pascagoula residences. Entry is into a large living-stair-hallway, which is flanked to the west by two large rooms with a fireplace on the common wall. The wall separating the rear room from the stair hall has been taken out. In the northwest corner of the house is a kitchen, a breakfast room, and a bedroom.
The walls, floors and ceilings are of wood. Doors have both four and five panels, ornate hardware, and very ornate trim with elaborate corner blocks containing a flower and projecting above the head trim. The base is very elaborate. The stair has a closed stringer and turned wood newel post. The mantel is very elaborate, with an oval mirror, tall, round columns, green tile surround and hearth, and an elaborate summerfront.
Along the street front is a good late-nineteenth century iron fence, set on a low, stuccoed base. Although not original, it does appear in a circa 1900 photograph, and replaced a wooden picket fence. It has a repetitive pattern based on its vertical elements, three vertical pickets with their ornamentation making a complete pattern. Centered on the central post are on each side an S-shaped design, tightly coiled at the top and with a large curve at the bottom. The top and bottom curves both touch the vertical rods at the outside of the module, the central axial rod, and top and bottom rails. All vertical rods, or pickets, project above the top rail a few inches and are finished with a spearhead finial; the pickets at the outside of the pattern have curved ornaments at their base where they meet the top rail; the central axial picket has none, but does have an ornamental casting about midway between top and bottom rail. The gate is of the same design. Posts at the gate and at the drive to the west of the house are square-section cast iron, and are set into rectangular blocks of concrete, the tops lining up with the top of the fence base.
The George Thompson House is significant architecturally within the context of Pascagoula's residential elements. It is an example of a modest middle-class residence with Italianate overtones. Pascagoula's flourishing late nineteenth century economy created a demand for such homes. Even the most wealthy citizens of Pascagoula rarely displayed their economic status through elaborate houses. Consequently, most houses were in keeping with this one.
The asymmetrical massing, deep brackets, roof overhang, and bay window all identify this house with the nineteenth century styles, as seen in national pattern books. 523 Orange Avenue is similar to Design No. 3, "A Suburban Cottage," in Calvert Vaux's Villas and Cottages. The George Thompson House, which dates from 1890, was built during Pascagoula's lumber boom when wood was plentiful and inexpensive. By 1900, the one-story bay window had been extended to the second floor, perhaps after a fire in the house.
Part of the Rene Krebs estate, the property belonged to one of Pascagoula's founding families until 1890 when Emily Gautier purchased it. The Gautier family was a prominent lumber family of West Pascagoula [Gautier, Mississippi — see 4418 Cedar, 3012 Canty, and 3803 Willow], Gautier sold the site to George Thompson, who most likely built the house, as he is assessed for it in 1896. Nine years later, in 1905, the Thompsons sold the house to Captain S.H. Bugge, one of several prominent local ship captains who operated out of the port of Pascagoula.
Bugge came to the United States from Germany, where he was born on May 27, 1854. He eventually married Caroline A. Schuette in New Orleans, and they moved to Pascagoula in 1883. Bugge soon became active in the maritime business, and was at one time probably the best-known seafaring man of the Port of Pascagoula, according to a W.P.A. account. Captain Bugge was licensed as a "pilot of port" on November 30, 1897.
The house remained in the Bugge family until 1978, when Stephen T. Mathis purchased it.
‡ Robert J. Cangelosi, Jr., Architect, Koch and Wilson Architects, PC, George Thompson House, Jackson County, Mississippi, nomination document, 1991, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.