Gulf Coast - History

The Mississippi Gulf Coast area was explored in 1699 by Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville who was sent by the King of France to claim this important coastal region. With a small troop, he sailed into Biloxi Bay and established Fort Maurepas and a small colony on the east shore that is now Ocean Springs. A replica of this fort has been created and may be visited. It is a particularly lively place for the -Fort Maurepas Reenactment- or the annual -Landing of d'Iberville- celebrated in Ocean Springs.

Mississippi Gulf Coast, once home to the Biloxi Indians, then d'Iberville's French, changed hands many times over the years. Each new flag brought the infusion of a new culture. Traces of Spanish rule may be seen -and touched- at the Old Spanish Fort in Pascagoula, built in 1718 and still open to tour.

Southern planter society left graceful antebellum homes along Beach Boulevard -Hwy 90 which runs the length of the central section of Mississippi Gulf Coast. Grasslawn -1836 in Gulfport, The Father Ryan House -1840, Beauvoir -1852-54, Tullis-Toledano -1856 and The Church of the Redeemer bell tower -1873-73 all in Biloxi are open to tour year-round. Beauvoir, last home of Jefferson Davis, the first and only President of the Confederacy, is outstanding among the many antebellum and fine Victorian homes that grace the Coast. Here, Davis wrote his memoirs and spent his final years. The home, library and grounds are beautifully preserved.

For those interested in Southern culture and mansions, what better time to visit than during the annual -Spring Pilgrimage-. The Gulf Coast Garden Clubs open many historic homes and gardens massed with color.

Built prior to the Civil War but little used except as a Union prison, Fort Massachusetts stands guard off shore on West Ship Island, its cannons still ready to repel pirates or invaders. Now a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Seashore, the fort may be toured on your own or with the assistance of park rangers. A delightful 70-minute ferry ride takes visitors to West Ship Island to enjoy the fort, surf-pounded beaches, surf fishing or serene exploring on this uninhabited island.

Historical Sites

2244 Beach Blvd

Biloxi, MS 39531
Fax (228) 388-1313
Seaside retirement estate of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. Confederate Museum, soldier's home, cemetery, and Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier. Presidential Library opening May 30, 1998. Open daily March 1 - Sept. 1, from 9:00am to 5:00pm; Sept. 1 - March 1, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission charged. Group rates available.

Biloxi Lighthouse

P O Box 508
Biloxi MS 39533
FAX: 228-435-6246

Located on Highway 90 (Beach Blvd) at the foot of Porter Avenue, the Biloxi Lighthouse has been a symbol of Biloxi's maritime history since it was erected in 1848. Open by appointment only.

The Father Ryan House B&B
1196 Beach Blvd
Biloxi MS 39530

Built circa 1841, this home is on the National Historic Landmark and the one time home of Father Abram Ryan, Poet Laureate of the Confederacy. Open for tours from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. No admission charged.

Grass Lawn
P O Box 651
Gulfport, MS 39502

Located at 702 East Beach Blvd. Southern summer home built 1836; 10 ft wide galleries supported by two-story box columns. Appropriately furnished. Open by appointment only. Admission charged.

Green Oaks
580 Beach Blvd
Biloxi MS 39530
FAX: 228-436-6225

Gulf Coast's oldest antebellum mansion, circa 1826. Built on a Spanish land grant. Two acres, two buildings on National Register. Appointed fine antiques. Fine example of period architecture. No admission charged. Tours available 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, seven days a week.

Hancock County Historical Society
108 Cue St
Bay St. Louis MS 39520

Historical Society in Old Town location with very large photo display, historic and tour information. Open Mon-Fri from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. No admission charged.


Harbour Oaks Inn
126 West Scenic Dr
Pass Christian MS 39571
FAX: 228-452-9321

Overlooking historic Pass Christian Yacht Harbor, this registered antebellum Bed & Breakfast is the only remaining 19th century hotel still in operation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. No admission charged. Open for tours Mon-Thu from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm.

Inn At The Pass
125 East Scenic Dr
Pass Christian MS 39571

1885 Eastlake Victorian home is on the National Historic Register. Home was restored in 1995 and is now operated as a Bed & Breakfast. Period antiques and art by local artists. Open from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. No admission charged.

La Pointe - Krebs House


4602 Fort Dr
Pascagoula MS 39567

This house has withstood the elements since the early 18th century, and is probably the oldest standing structure in the Mississippi Valley. Artifacts and antiques are on display in the adjacent Old Spanish Fort Museum. Open Mon-Sat 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Sun 12:00 noon to 4:30 pm. Closed on Monday and major holidays.

Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Museum
Located next to the Ocean Springs Civic Center
3730 Bienville Blvd. (Hwy 90)
Ocean Springs, MS

Built in 1996 this beautiful Memorial is a tribute to the men and women that served in the Vietnam War. Open year round. No admission fee.

Old Brick House
P O Box 508
Biloxi MS 39530
FAX: 228-435-6246

Saved from neglect by the ladies of Biloxi's Garden Clubs, the Old Brick House is reputedly one of the oldest structures in the City of Biloxi. Closed until further notice for restoration. 622 Bayview Ave.

Tullis-Toledano Manor
P O Box 508
Biloxi MS 39533
FAX: 228-435-6246

Built in 1856 on Biloxi's East Beach for Christoval and Matilde Toledano. Today it is one of the Mississippi Gulf Coast's most unique examples of antebellum architecture. Located at 360 Beach Blvd. Admission charged. Group tours welcome. Open Mon-Sat 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Red Creek Inn, Vineyard & Racing Stable
7416 Red Creek Rd
Long Beach MS 39560
FAX: 228-452-3080

Circa 1899, three-story raised French cottage with 64' front porch. Free admission to tour this country inn and 11.5 acres of ancient live oaks and fragrant magnolias. Thoroughbred racing stable and vineyard under development. 1.5 miles south of Long Beach I-10 exit #28. Open for tours 10:00 am to dusk daily. Group tours welcome.