—Historic Biloxi —
The City of Biloxi adopted this building as its city hall in 1960, but it was
originally built as a combined post office, federal courthouse, and customs
house. Federal funds for the construction were secured through the efforts of
the Biloxi Commercial Club in 1902. The Standard Construction Company of
Chicago began work in early 1905, but several obstacles, including a lawsuit
over inferior materials, a hurricane, a yellow fever epidemic, and supply
failures, prolonged the project. The new federal building was dedicated on
August 18, 1908.
Architect James Knox Taylor, Supervising Architect of the United States
Treasury, designed the Neo-Classical Revival-style building. More than 1200
tons, or over 1600 cubic feet, of marble from Georgia quarries were used in
the exterior walls alone. Each stone is attached to the inner brick walls by
clamps of galvanized iron incorporated with cement. The newspaper called
the $125,000 building "the pride of Biloxi" and predicted that the massive
structure "should stand for a thousand years."
Hundreds of immigrants swore the oath of allegiance and became naturalized
American citizens in the building when, from 1908 to 1959, it housed the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. During
the mid-1950s, the federal government planned
the demolition of the edifice
in order to build a larger facility. The City of Biloxi negotiated with the U.S.
Government to save the historic structure. In a property exchange finalized
on April 2, 1957, the city gave land on the southwest corner of Jackson and
Main streets to the government as a construction site. In return, the city
received the federal building, which was transformed into the new Biloxi
City Hall. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978,
designated as a Mississippi Landmark in 1986, and a Biloxi Landmark
The building stood unscathed through several major hurricanes until
Hurricane Elena in 1985. The loss of the roof during the Category 3 storm
caused water damage throughout the building. In 2005, the unprecedented
tidal surge of Hurricane Katrina covered the steps of City Hall. The strong
Category 3 hurricane caused severe roof damage. An $852,000 repair and
restoration project was undertaken in 2009. The newly refurbished City Hall
was rededicated in June 2010.
Right top: The U.S. Federal Building, dedicated on August 18,1908, is shown here in the 1920s, it was rededicated as Biloxi City Hall on April 2, 1960.
Right middle: In this June 1, 1907, photograph, workmen are nearing the completion of the impressive marble structure that would eventually
become Biloxi City Hall.
Bottom Right: This April 1, 1905, image is one of a series of chronological photographs that were made to show the building progress of the U.S. Federal Building.