Marble Spings Historic District
The Marble Springs Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The Marble Springs Historic District is an irregularly shaped area bounded on the west by the western property lines of 1007 and 1012 Iberville Drive, on the north by the northern property lines of the properties on the north side of Iberville Drive to the convergence of Iberville Drive and Sunset Avenue. The southern boundary is defined by the southern property lines of the addresses, 1012 through 1118 and 1202 and 1204 Iberville Drive.
The topography of the Marble Springs Historic District is primarily flat and dry with the exception of the ravines extending towards the marshlands of Old Fort Bayou to the north. Although the number and variety of plantings are great, the most profound impact is made by the many live oaks which shade the yards and make a green tunnel of Iberville Drive. The lots and houses on the south side of Iberville Drive are smaller and more numerous than those to the north. The houses on the north side of the street are also set further back than those on the south. The only non-residential structures in the Marble Springs Historic District are the Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting hall, and the pavilion which protects the spring. Four of the buildings have been determined to be pivotal; eight are contributing. Two properties are marginal; four are non-contributing. There are no intrusions.
The Marble Springs Historic District is architecturally significant for its contrast of building scale and style which reflects the rise and decline of one of Ocean Springs most important attractions.
Exploitation of the Marble Springs began in the 1850s. Its waters were praised for their efficacy in the treatment of "dyspepsia, indigestion, and many kindred ailments." (Robert Dyer, Along the Gulf, Gulfport: Dixie Press, 1971 reprint of 1895 publication). Marble Springs was the only spa to offer bathing facilities in Ocean Springs.
As a community social center which overlooked the picturesque Old Fort Bayou, the Marble Springs area attracted a number of influential residents of the city as a desirable home site. These included the future mayor F M. Weed whose Queen Anne home at 1007 Iberville Drive was within walking distance of the railroad depot where he was stationmaster. Another was J.B. Garrard, a merchant and city alderman, who built a large Colonial Revival house at 1119 Iberville Drive.
After the turn-of-the-century, the drilling of many wells so lowered the ground water level that the mineral springs ceased to flow. As the social exclusivity of the area declined small cottages closely spaced on small lots filled the southern side of Iberville Drive. These were usually of vernacular design, however, there are some highly individual decorative elements such as the sawn balustrade at 1118 Iberville Drive.
Hines, Regina B. Ocean Springs, 1892. Pascagoula: Lewis Printing Services, 1979.
† Brian N. Berggren, Architectural Historian, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Marble Springs Historic District, Ocean Springs, Jackson County, MS, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.