The City of Gautier is located on Mississippi's Gulf Coast approximately 20 minutes east of Biloxi. Rapidly growing in popularity due to its convenient location just 90 minutes from either the beaches of Florida or New Orleans, Gautier is one of Mississippi's newest cities yet one of the nation's oldest communities.
How Gautier Got Its Name
The Gautier family, immigrants from France, settled in Tchoutacabouffa (North Biloxi) upon arrival in America. During the Civil War, Fernando Upton Gautier remained behind to care for family and children as everyone assumed the war would be over in six months. At the end of the war after four years of supporting the families with hardwood production, Gautier moved south, purchased property fromColonel Alfred Lewis on the West Pascagoula River and built "The Old Place", now known as "La Maison Gautier", in 1867. Gautier continued in the hardwood industry and a sawmill was operated on the south end of the property. In 1910, L&N Railroad came in, running tracks along the south edge of the Gautier property. A water stop was eventually created there due to the freshwater springs on the property. In time, L&N built a creosote plant south of the Gautier property. Mail began being dropped at the water stop site, and requiring a name for the mail drop location, the name of the nearby sawmill, F. Gautier and Sons, or Gautier for short, was used. The Gautier family continues to own the portion of the original property with the house now being used for weddings, reunions and other planned events.
Gautier is one of Mississippi's newest cities yet one of the nation's oldest communities tracing its roots back over three centuries. The French were the first permanent European settlers to Jackson County. in 1699, the French explorers D'Iberville and Bienville explored the Pascagoula River and discovered the villages of the Biloxi and Pascagoula Indians. In 1763, following the French and Indian War, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the English took possession of the area and it became part of British West Florida. Following the American Revolutionary War, Spain gained control of the area. Spanish rule ended with the West Florida Revolt of 1810. In May of 1812, the area in which the City of Gautier is now located was annexed to the Mississippi Territory. In 1817, Jackson County entered the Union as part of the State of Mississippi. In all, nine flags have flown over the area known today as the City of Gautier: The Spanish, French, British, the America, the Republic of Mississippi and the United States.
With incorporation in 1986, the City of Gautier came of age as a diversified city that believes in growth without sacrificing the quality of life enjoyed by its' citizens. Today over 12,000 citizens call Gautier home.
The City's Police Department employs well trained officers equipped to implement the latest in crime prevention techniques. Modern city facilities and state-of-the-art communications equipment along with new police cruisers, add to the effectiveness and high visibility of Gautier's police force. The Gautier Fire Department has at its disposal the latest fire fighting and fire prevention equipment. The citizens of Gautier have long held the belief that the foundation of a good citizenry is an excellent public educational system. The students of Gautier are educated in five modern facilities. All five schools are part of the Pascagoula Separate School District and are highlighted by a student teacher ratio of 17:1. The school system features advanced programs for gifted students.
The City of Gautier and surrounding areas are home to some of the nation's top scholars and institutions of higher education. The State of Mississippi University System produces the sixth highest number of Rhodes Scholars in the nation. Students and adults living in Gautier seeking degrees of higher learning need only look around the corner. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jackson County campus offers the first two years of senior college programs, plus more than 50 technical and vocational programs. The University of Southern Mississippi - Gautier Branch is located just off Highway 90. Recognized as one of the premiere institutions of higher learning in the nation, the main campus of the University of Southern Mississippi is located only ninety miles from Gautier. Also located nearby is William Carey College in Hattiesburg with a branch campus in Gulfport, and the University of South Alabama in Mobile which is 40 miles away.