Bay St. Louis was chartered as a town on January 21st, 1818, making it the oldest incorporated community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Known as a resort town as early as the 1820s, it attracted many from New Orleans who built their summer residences here.
The coming of the railroad in 1870 caused a building boom and numerous large hotels and summer homes were constructed, especially on the beach. And even though storms and fires have destroyed most of these over the years, a great number of houses from that period remain. Because of this rich architectural history there are no less than five historic districts within the city limits listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
Part of the mission of the Hancock County Historical Society is to "preserve the general and architectural history of Hancock County" and to that purpose we have cataloged all properties within - and many outside of - these districts. Anyone is welcome to browse the more than one hundred 2-inch binders filled with records and photos at Lobrano House.
A photo and a short description of every single house located within one of the historic districts listed on the National Register is available online:
• Pre-Katrina listings (archived)
Descriptions and examples of the prevalent architecture in Bay Saint Louis can be found on the Architectural Styles page.
Each of the five historic districts are described in detail on our National Register section. There you will also find the other listings on the Register for Hancock County: Seven prehistoric sites, three individually listed properties, and a National Historic Landmark.