Mississippi's Historical Marker program
Since 1949 the State Historical Marker program has identified and interpreted the most important historical sites across Mississippi. The familiar silver and green tablets stand in practically every city and town in the state, commemorating significant people, events, or movements. Nearly eight hundred markers can be found near buildings, battlefields, cemeteries, churches, temples, forts, and abandoned towns.
Historical markers serve visitors to the state and residents alike. For tourists the markers may be their only glimpses into the state's rich and varied history. For Mississippi communities the markers can be points of pride that memorialize locally important people and events.
State Historical Markers are privately sponsored and funded. Anyone may sponsor a marker. To qualify, a site must have unique historical significance to the local community, the state, or the nation. Each marker's subject and content must be supported with primary source documentation and approved by the MDAH Board of Trustees, which meets quarterly every year. Visit the MDAH Historical Marker Program page for pricing and request forms.
There are currently 14 State Historical Markers in Hancock County.
Magnolia Markers in Hancock County
Now Bay St. Louis, named for Thomas Shields who obtained Spanish grant nearby 1790. After 1800, settlement was popular summer resort for planters & trade from interior made it busy port of entry & export.
Location: in front of old City Hall on 300 Second Street, Bay Saint Louis
Date: October 21, 1981
Bay St. Louis Depot
Designated as a Mississippi Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this rail depot was built by the L&N Railroad circa 1929. The Spanish Colonial style building was purchased by the city of Bay St. Louis in 1994 and restored in 1996.
Location: 1 Depot Way, between Railroad and Blaize Avenue, Bay Saint Louis
Bay St. Louis
Organized as Shieldsboro in 1858. Renamed in 1875 for bay explored by Iberville in 1699 on the birthday of Louis IX. Town built on site of Chicapoula, former Indian Village.
Location: West end of bridge on U.S. 90, Bay Saint Louis
Sea Song Plantation
The home of Andrew Jackson, Jr., a nephew and the adopted son of President Jackson, was located here. Jackson and his wife Sarah, who named the plantation, lived here just before the Civil War. The Jacksons sold the property in 1861. The house, which was later owned by de DeBlieux family and Gulfside Assembly, burned in 1935.
Location: Buccaneer State Park, Waveland
In 1860, John Deason, a Mexican War Veteran, organized a militia company here. The “Gainesville Volunteers” entered Confederate service in 1861 as Co. G. of the Third Mississippi Infantry. During the Civil War the unit served in the Gulf Coast region and fought in the Vicksburg, Atlanta, Middle Tennessee,and Carolina campaigns.
Location: In front of the Mississippi Welcome Center on I-10 at the border with Louisiana.
Our Lady of the Gulf
Established 1847 by Bishop J. J. Chanche, S. S., first Bishop of Natchez. Mother church of Hancock County, third oldest Catholic parish on the Gulf Coast and fifth oldest in Mississippi.
Location: 228 South Beach Boulevard, Bay Saint Louis
Located at this site, Brown’s Vineyard, established 1874, was a popular resort during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The wine, produced on site from scuppernong grapes, was marketed and sold across the United States. The vineyard, which also provided entertainment, was forced to close in 1920 due to Prohibition.
Location: Hwy 90 east of Waveland Ave.
Colonial Town; chartered 1832. Site of early cotton gin & dry dock. A pioneer in lumbering, it boomed under Poitevent & Favre Co. (1866-1906), one of world’s largest mills.
Location: Intersection of U.S. 90 & State Road 604
Publius Rutilius Rufus Pray
Born in Maine, 1793. Hancock Co. judge. Served in Miss. House of Representatives, 1827-29. Pres. of St. Const. Conven., 1832. Elected judge of High Court of Errors and Appeals, 1837. Dead 1840.
Location: in front of the Hancock County Courthouse, 150 Main Street, Bay Saint Louis
Gulf Side Assembly
Originally called the Gulfside Chatauqua and Camp Meeting Ground, Gulfside was founded in 1923 by Robert E. Jones, the first black Methodist Bishop. At the time, it was the only resort in the Gulf Region open to black Methodists. In 1980, Gulfside Assembly was recognized by The United Methodist Church as a Historical Site.
Location: Beach Boulevard, Waveland
St. Stanislaus College
Founded 1854, by Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Oldest institution of learning on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. On Beach Boulevard, facing the Gulf, the school became college preparatory in 1923.
Location: Beach Blvd. and Hwy. 90 at Bay St. Louis Bridge on Bay St. Louis college campus
Naval Battle of Bay St. Louis
One Dec. 14, 1814, five U.S. gunboats fired on a British fleet entering Lake Borgne. Their action was the last naval defense of the U.S. before the victory of General Andrew Jackson at New Orleans.
Location: Originally at Ulman Avenue and Beach Boulevard, presently in the yard of the Lobrano House, 108 Cue Street, Bay Saint Louis
St. Augustine’s Seminary
Founded 1920 in Greenville, Miss., by Divine Word Missionaries. Moved to Bay St. Louis, 1923. Oldest existing Catholic seminary in Miss. for training of young men as missionary brothers & priests.
Location: In front of Seminary on Hwy 90 E, Bay Saint Louis
The “Pirate House”
According to local tradition, the “Pirate House”, located here, was built as early as 1802 and was frequented by famed pirate Jean Lafitte and his associates. Later remodeled as a Greek Revival structure, the house is believed to have had a secret tunnel. The house was damaged beyond repair during Hurricane Camille in 1969.
Location: Beach Boulevard in Waveland.
Other interesting markers in Hancock County
100 Men D.B.A. Hall Blues Trail marker
The 100 Men D.B.A. Hall, a longtime center of African American social life and entertainment, was built in 1922 by the One Hundred Member's Debating Benevolent Association. Over the years the association sponsored many events and also rented the hall to promotors who brought in blues, rhythm & blues, and jazz acts. Local residents have recalled performances by Etta James, Big Joe Turner, Guitar Slim, Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, Ernie K-Doe, Deacon John, Earl King, and numerous others here.
Location: 303 Union Street, Bay Saint Louis
Date: June 17, 2011
St. Joseph’s Academy
On January 7, 1855, a Catholic parochial school was established on this site by the Sisters of St. Joseph who came to Bay St. Louis from Bourg, France at the request of Reverend Louis Stanislaus Buteux, first pastor of Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church.
Tragically, the Academy buildings were destroyed by fire in 1907. The following year a three-story brick building was built to accomodate administrative offices, classrooms, and the first through the twelfth grade and boys from the first through the third grade. In 1960 the Academy became a school for girls only. Sadly the Academy closed its doors in 1967 and the main building, depicted above, was demolished in 1973.
This memorial is dedicated by the St. Joseph’s Academy Alumnae of Bay St. Louis in loving memory of the many teachers and students who passed through its doors during its 112-year existence.
Location: South Beach Boulevard, Bay Saint Louis
Date: March 19, 2005