Page 14 - Hancock County Tourism ~ 2021 History
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Do you know about...
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay St. Louis is one of the oldest cities on the Gulf Coast. French explorers Iberville
and Bienville discovered the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1699 when they were sent by King Louis IX to find the Mississippi River. After they established Fort Maurepas in Ocean Springs, Bienville explored Bay St. Louis and named it in honor of the king. At the time, the area was sparsely populated with Choctaw and Muskhogean Indians and
a few French and Spanish immigrants. The Louisiana Purchase opened up the new territory to settlers in 1803,
and when French Catholics
and English Protestants began arriving, the Indians retreated into the swamps and woodlands north of the immediate coast.
In 1789, the area along the bay was given to Thomas Shields through a Spanish land grant and from 1802 to 1875 was known
as Shieldsboro. The expansion
of the railroad ushered in
the “resort era” as more and more tourists, wealthy New Orleanians, and Natchez planters came to summer at the beach and enjoy the hotels, scenic drives, and relaxing atmosphere. The county seat was moved from Gainesville to Shieldsboro in 1853, and in 1875 the name was changed to Bay St. Louis.
The city sits at the highest point on the Gulf of Mexico.
Hancock County Courthouse, built in 1911, Bay St. Louis
  Bay St. Louis, 1940s

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