Biloxi (population 50,000) was incorporated in 1838, but its historical roots go back 300 years. The area was settled in 1699 as the first French settlement in the Mississippi Valley, and the community's early history was influenced by French, Spanish, and English settlers.
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Biloxi's history has a strong maritime flavor, and the 1848 Biloxi Lighthouse is the symbol of the city. In the late 19th century, Biloxi became a major seafood canning center, and the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, located in a historic former Coast Guard building, tells the story of the maritime heritage of the city and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Biloxi has six historic districts and more than 100 locally designated landmarks. Notable historic buildings include Beauvoir, home of Jefferson Davis; Tullis-Toledano Manor, an antebellum mansion; the Old Brick House, with its French-influenced architecture; and the Magnolia Hotel, which now houses the Mardi Gras Museum.
The 1929 Saenger Theatre, which is owned by the City of Biloxi, recently underwent a $2.5 million renovation and is a performing arts center for the Gulf Coast. The project was made possible through partnerships between the City, the Mississippi Arts Commission, Harrison County, the non-profit Friends of the Saenger, and the corporate community.
Biloxi has had a historic preservation review ordinance since 1985, and the ordinance is administered by the Architectural and Historical Review Commission. Biloxi has been designated a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service and participates in the national Main Street Program.
Designated a Preserve America Community in March 2004.