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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Preserving Biloxi's history

Progress continues at a steady pace in Biloxi as tourists return to enjoy the beach, the casinos, and attractions. In preserving it's past, a restoration project will soon be underway to fully restore the 1848 Biloxi Lighthouse, which has withstood storms over the years including the destructive power of Hurricane Katrina.
A symbol of a resilient Mississippi coastVintage postcard of the Biloxi Lighthouse after a 1909 storm
The Biloxi Lighthouse will be one of five lighthouses featured in a U.S. Postal Service stamp series on lighthouses starting this summer. The lighthouse has also been featured prominently on Mississippi car tags (voted the best plate in the U.S. and Canada in 2007 by the Automobile License Plate Collector's Association). When the lighthouse was built back in 1848, it was the first lighthouse in the South to be built of cast iron.

The city is also working towards restoring the original Visitors Center, the Magnolia Hotel (which housed the Mardi Gras Museum), the Old Brick House on Back Bay (one of the oldest structures in the city), and the White House fountain, built in the 1920s.

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I spent many summers visiting the coast, enjoying the beaches, and exploring nearby Ship Island. During a previous visit, Southpoint featured many Biloxi attractions in our Ms. coast segment prior to damage from Hurricane Katrina. Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, has been almost fully restored and is open the public.

The restoration funds are being made available through FEMA, with participation from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

"In an historic city like Biloxi it's important to restore these landmarks and to do it accurately. These landmarks speak to our sense of place. They are some of the things that make Biloxi different from any other city in the country. They say who we were and who we are,” stated Mayor Holloway.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Posted by Carl Burnham at 11:46 PM
Edited on: Saturday, March 14, 2009 10:56 PM
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