The LaPointe-Krebs House is rarer than we originally thought, a historian and architects told Jackson County supervisors on Monday.
Scientists have proven it’s old, but it’s also one of the very last surviving examples of French Colonial architecture in the United States, Deputy State Preservation Officer Ken P’Pool told supervisors.
It’s a building the French actually built when they colonized along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. The era ends in 1763 when France lost the French and Indian War and surrendered its holdings to the British.
Buildings from that time “haven’t survived in this country,” P’Pool said Monday. “I can only think of two examples, this one and one in New Orleans.”
The one in New Orleans is the Ursuline Convent that predates LaPointe-Krebs by a few years, but has yet to be documented.
Most of the other claims to French Colonial architecture in the U.S. are likely French Colonial-influenced, P’Pool said, built by descendants of the French settlers.
The main portion of the LaPointe-Krebs House, built on one of the backwaters of the Pascagoula River, was dated 1757 by scientists, which is well into the French Colonial era.
P’Pool spoke to supervisors with Larry Albert and Robby Brushaber, architects on the project.
The heavy timber construction of the house is filled in with a type of oyster shell cement as well as a mud and moss cement.
It’s a “rare and delicate” building, they said, that “needs to be treated as a museum artifact that’s conserved, not just a building to be renovated. It’s a rare artifact in itself.”
“Not only is the age important ... and it’s amazingly old,” P’Pool told county leaders. “But even more important, is that it is French Colonial architecture.”
Historians told Jackson County supervisors the LaPointe-Krebs House may someday be proven to be extremely rare as other structures are dated.
The team was letting county leaders know that the first phase of renovation left the structure more level and structurally sound. The next step is a proper roof.