Image above: Rear of LaPointe/Kreb House after 2022 restoration, 2022, jgabois. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons, C.C. 4.0.
Spotlight on Lesser Known History
LaPointe/Krebs House and Museum
Old Spanish Fort, Mississippi
America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
LaPointe/Krebs House Museum, Mississippi
It was known by so many names, i.e. Old French Fort, Old Spanish Fort, the LaPointe House, the Krebs House, and now today the LaPointe/Krebs House and Museum. Yes, now, after restoration from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, the museum has been fully restored as of 2022. And it tells the story of the deep south, the migration of Canadians to Mississippi, yes, slavery, and the claim to being the oldest standing structure in Mississippi and perhaps all of the lower Mississippi Valley. More on that later.
Situated on Krebs Lake, the former Lake Chatahoula, and now the Pascagoula River, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, portions of the center of the house were built in 1757 by Joseph Simon de La Pointe, a migrant with land grant in what was then a Colony of France. It would go through many incarnations. Now you can visit and find out more about them at the LaPointe/Krebs House and Museum. Photo above: Front of the LaPointe/Kreb House Museum after restoration, 2022, jgabois. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons, C.C. 4.0.
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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
LaPointe/Krebs House Museum, Mississippi
So, what's so unique about this house past the fact that it is old? Well, the home was made with Tabby, the only one on the Gulf Coast or New France. Tabby is a mixture of quicklime, water, sand, ash, and oyster shells. Constructed with that and the wood of the area, the home was never really a fort in the traditional sense, but it was a stockaded plantation home meant to provide shelter for the New France colony and the LaPointe family. Original name Fort de la Pointe. The house began with two rooms and a fireplace. Lots of additions after that.
Image above: Side view of the Old Spanish Fort in dilapidated condition, 1940, Lester Jones, Historic American Building Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: LaPointe/Krebs House prior to full restoration, 2015, mmwixon. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons, C.C. 4.0.
Where Is It
LaPointe/Krebs House and Museum is located at 4602 Fort Street, Pascagoula, MS 39567. This is Jackson County, Mississippi along the Gulf of Mexico and not far from the Alabama border.
What is There Now
The house serves as the museum which focuses on the inhabitants and history of the Old Fort, but also the history of the entire area. The house has special tours some days of the year, and can be rented for outside affairs.
When Open and How Much
The museum is open daily; 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 to 5:00 Sunday. The charge is currently, as of January 2023; $5 Adult, $3 children 5-15, and free for children under that. Other discounts may apply.
Fees and hours are subject to change.
LaPointe/Krebs House and Museum
You're near the Gulf Coast of both Mississippi and Alabama, so all the Gulf beach fun and flair can be had close by. As far as historic or national park attractions, there's Gulf Islands National Seashore and further away the National Park Service sites of the Tuskegee Airmen at Tuskegee Institute and the Civil War battles such as Shiloh.
Photos, History, and More Spotlights
Old Spanish Fort History
Although it was known as Fort De La Pointe at its outset, the stockaded plantation was quickly referred to as the Old French Fort. That would transition to the Old Spanish Fort when the territory near New Orleans changed hands between Spain, France, and Britain, sometimes in overlapping treaties. It was known as Old Spanish fort in the late 18th century when the home was used by Don Enrique Ginarest, an officer in the Spanish Army who married into the Krebs family.
After its completion, the house became a three room structure, 37 feet by 62 feet with 18 inch walls. Joseph Simon de La Pointe had been granted the land at the mouth of the Pascagoula River around 1715; two other French Canadian families were given neighboring plantations. The land was first used to raise cattle, then the growth of indigo and wax myrtle for dye and candles. Chattel slavery was first used with the native population, but grew to include African slaves.
How did it become known as the LaPointe/Krebs house? Daughter Marie LaPointe married Hugo Ernestus Krebs around 1741. Descendents of the Krebs family would own the plantation until 1914. After that, it was used as an American Legion lodge, and was donated to the county circa 1940. It was originally restored in 1996 before its damage by Hurricane Katrina nine years later.
Photo above: View of grounds and cemetery at Old Spanish Fort, 1940, Lester Jones, Historic American Building Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress.
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Restoration after Hurricane Katrina
Between 2014 and 2022, the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was completed. According to the Mississippi Department of History and Archives, the storm surge of Katrina had backed up the three miles from the beach up the Pascagoula River. There was four feet of water in the museum. Many of the artifacts were damaged or irretrievable.
FEMA would eventually give $50,000 toward the restoration, although work would not begin until 2014 and not begin in earnest until $1,000,000 was funded by the state of Mississippi and another $140,000 given by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Photo above: East view of the Old Spanish Fort in dilapidated condition, unknown date and author, Historic American Building Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress via Wikipedia Commons.
Controvery Over Claim
Oh, it's always something. While there has always been some distinction made between structures in New Orleans and LaPointe/Krebs as being the oldest standing structures in the deep south, it has been readily accepted that at least the home was the oldest in Mississippi. It still may be and is still touted by the museum as such.
However, some research points toward a new building in 1775 while the British were in control, sited on the old carpenter's shop. A hurricane in 1772 is said to have destroyed everything in the area. It is not known, though, if everything was used conclusively, or just as almost everything. You choose which to believe.
Photo above: Front view of the Old Spanish Fort in dilapidated condition, 1940, Lester Jones, Historic American Building Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress.
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