Biloxi highlights local history in downtown walking tour

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS  (WLOX) -  The City of Biloxi is highlighting its local history by promoting a downtown walking tour.

The tour takes visitors to several significant landmarks and a variety of structures with impressive architecture.

"Biloxi has a really unique character and charm about it. And the history is part of the tourism and culture that we promote," said Kay Miller, who heads the city's Main Street program.

You'll find landmark structures and impressive architecture on nearly every corner in downtown Biloxi. The city's current visitor's center is among the historic stops on the walking tour.

The Bond-Grant house was much more than a home to Vera Bond in 1904.

"This was a wedding gift from her father who was William Dukate, who was one of the seafood industry founders in Biloxi, who started the seafood industry on the coast. So those are the types of things you're going to learn a little more than you knew," said Miller.

The Vieux-Marche in the heart of downtown Biloxi is a treasure trove of historic structures and significant architecture.

"Probably there's 20 to 30 historic structures in just the Vieux Marche, that were hidden for a long time under the urban renewal canopies. They were removed a number of years ago and that really helped to bring these buildings back to life," said Bill Raymond, who oversees historic structures in Biloxi.

"Your history and your historic structures make your town unique and make it something people want to see. You don't want it to be just like any other town. That's one of the things that makes every community unique and actually draws tourism," said Raymond.

Biloxi City Hall earns a spot on the walking tour; its Neo classical Revival style stands out among downtown buildings.

Just down the street from City Hall, the historic Redding House is undergoing a makeover.  Workers are restoring the architectural charm of this early 1900s homestead.

Mary Mahoney's occupies a spot on the tour, with enough stories of its own to fill a volume of local lore.

Nearby, the landmark Magnolia Hotel still bears storm scars, awaiting a return to grandeur.

Tourists and locals are invited to walk these downtown streets and learn more about a truly unique city.

"We've got a great history here that we hope more people will come and learn about," Raymond said.

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