Gautier City Hall is located at 3330 US-90, Gautier, MS 39553.
Photo: Colonel Alfred E. Lewis House, circa 1845, located at 1901 Watersedge Drive, Gautier. Listed on the National Register in 1980. Photographer: wikipedia username: Chris Pruitt, 2012, (own work). [cc-3.0]; accessed March, 2023.
Gautier [†] is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Jackson County on the West Bank of the Pascagoula River, locally known as the "Singing River." The Mississippi Gulf Coast area was explored in 1699 by Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville, sent by the King of France to claim this important coastal region. He sailed into Biloxi Bay with a small troop and established a fort in the region. It is believed the original fort was on the bluff in Gautier where a prominent landmark, the Old Place, is now located.
The earliest settler in Gautier, Jean Baptiste Baudreau, arrived on the coast in 1700 with d'Iberville on his second voyage. Prior to d'Iberville's expeditions, a priest from one of DeSoto's party visited the Biloxi Indians at the mouth of the Pascagoula River in the early 1500s. Evidence of prehistoric populations has been found in the area and the city recently preserved a prehistoric Indian burial mound, one of a very few preserved east of the Mississippi River. The site at the end of Graveline Road is marked with an historic marker.
The Gautier family moved from New Orleans after the Civil War, established a sawmill and built several beautiful homes, some of which exist today including the Oldfields, Twelve Oaks and the Old Place. Although only a few hundred people lived in the area, the train stopped to pick up lumber at the sawmill. When it became necessary to mark the spot on a map for the train conductors, the name "Gautier" was chosen because of the sawmill owner's name on the water tower. The area was henceforth called "Gautier" on all maps of the region.
Other prominent settlers include America's first Admiral, David Glasgow Farragut who was described as having "lived on the West Bank of the Pascagoula River," commemorated by Farragut Lake in the vicinity of his boyhood home. In an interesting twist of fate, the boy who would leave Gautier at the age of ten to go to sea would come back as the Commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and capture the territory from New Orleans to Mobile Bay which included his boyhood home of Gautier.
John McRae, born in Scotland in 1771, migrated to Mississippi in 1817 and came to Gautier nine years later. Much of the land owned in the 19th century by John and Elizabeth McRae was reacquired by an ancestor many years later and a portion is now being used as Shepard State Park.
For much of its history Gautier was little more than an unnamed spot on a map, though it was mentioned in the Mississippi edition of the American Guide Series published by the Works Progress administration in 1938 under President Roosevelt. Gautier retained its rural character until World War II when many shipyard workers moved to the area to build ships for the war effort at the shipyard that was run at that time by Bob Ingalls. Litton Industries bought and expanded the shipyard in the 1960s, which began another growth spurt in Gautier.
† City of Gautier, MS, City of Gautier Comprehensive Plan 2030,<./em> 2008, www.gautier-ms.gov, accessed March, 2023.