Significant to the area’s cultural heritage because of its association with several prominent community leaders and their families, Biloxi’s Gunston Hall / White Pillars has a rich history.
Hyman McMackin Folkes was born in Bovina, Mississippi on October 6, 1871. As a young man, he began his career in medicine as a drug store owner in Jackson. After his 1894 graduation from Tulane University in New Orleans, Dr. Folkes was employed as physician to the Verapaz Railroad Company, in Guatemala. His return to Mississippi came about when he accepted the position of Quarantine Officer on Cat Island.
Brothers A. Jake and John Mladinich were no strangers to either hard work or hospitality when they purchased Gunston Hall. As boys, they had grown up on Point Cadet and worked alongside their parents on their father’s shrimp boat, the “Winchester”, as well as in the oyster and shrimp processing plants on the Biloxi’s beachfront. When A. Jake went to work for his uncle, Anthony “Ching” Peirotich, at his drive-in restaurant, “The Flame”, the Mladinich family began to make their mark on the Biloxi hospitality industry.