Ocean Springs, Jackson County
Believed to have been built by prominent New Orleans physician Dr. William Glover Austin in the 1850s, the house on Martin Avenue is among the oldest in Ocean Springs. Born in Maryland, Dr. Austin received his medical degree from Baltimore’s Washington University and practiced medicine in Yazoo County, Mississippi, before relocating to New Orleans about 1840. As a member of the New Orleans Board of Health and an officer of the Charity Hospital, he was particularly interested in the treatment of communicable and epidemic diseases. In 1853 Austin established a hotel in present-day Ocean Springs to capitalize on the healing qualities of the area’s many mineral springs, and it was from the name of his large hostelry, the Ocean Springs Hotel, that the community eventually derived its name.
The house built by Austin is a story-and-a-half Greek Revival structure with a square-columned, undercut gallery spanning the width of the front façade. A pair of dormers pierce the steeply pitched gable roof, while pairs of floor-length windows flank the central entrance, which is framed by a transom and sidelights. The original floor plan follows the arrangement typical of its era and style, with a wide central corridor, flanked by two rooms on either side facilitating the maximum flow of cooling breezes through the building.
2017 Update – No Progress
During Hurricane Katrina, several feet of flood water inundated the house, damaging siding, doors, windows, plaster walls, and portions of the foundation. Sections of roofing were blown off, allowing torrential rain to damage ceilings.
No progress has been made. The owner is still contemplating demoloshing but is open to the idea of selling it.