Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District encompasses the commercial core area of Gulfport, Mississippi, the second largest city in the state, and the largest city on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gulfport is the only deepwater channel in the vicinity and a port was constructed in the early 1900s that allowed vast quantities of goods to be exported internationally from Mississippi. Success from the coastal export business resulted in more building and the introduction of high architectural styles, such as Beaux Arts, Georgian Revival, Venetian Gothic, Tudor Revival, Art Moderne and more, to new commercial buildings. The district building types include commercial, religious, educational, governmental, and public buildings dating from 1903 to 1961 and represent a small coastal town that developed in response to the railroad that continues to the coast to support the newly constructed port.
The listing of Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District also tells the story of survival and preservation. In 1985, a historic district was listed for this same place and called the “Harbor Square Historic District.” Much of this original historic district was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Over the past few years the district was reexamined, newer buildings were considered as additions, and older surviving buildings historically preserved. Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District replaces the original historic district and is now composed of 81 buildings, 1 structure, and 3 objects.
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