About ten miles beyond Pass Christian lies the progressive city of
the latest of the beautiful Gulf coast resorts, but one which has substantiated the proud 1 toast of having grown more rapidly than any other Southern city.
The marvelous growth of Gulfport has been practically within the last three or four years. Twelve years ago there was only one house on its shores. To-day the town boasts of a population of 4,500 inhabitants; it is regularly and beautifully laid out, with wide well-paved streets; it has its own water-work system, its own electric light plant, many large and handsome residences, and the most magnificent hotel on the seacoast. Its wonderful growth is due to the public spirit and enterprise of Capt. T. J. Jones, who believed in the possibilities of establishing a splendid sea-port, right on the Mississippi Sound, connecting the ocean traffic directly with the great west, with sturdy determination set about making his dream a reality, a few years ago. He built the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, connecting Gulfport with the Illinois Central Railroad at Jackson, Miss. He caused a harbor to be dredged on the west side of his new town, having a depth of 30 feet of water at the wharf. He dug a channel from the harbor to Ship Island, a distance of twelve miles out in the Gulf, thus practically connecting the coast with the ocean. Steamships and sailing vessels, drawing 22 feet of water, now come directly to the wharves at Gulfport. An immense lumber traffic has been established, and timber is being shipped to all parts of the world. Capt. Jones built the Great Southern Hotel, containing about 400 rooms and magnificently equipped in every way. It is one of the largest hotels in the South, the largest on the Gulf coast, and the equal of the famous Florida East Coast Hotel in system. The electric cars run a mile along the wharf leading to an immense pavilion, and to the beautiful Yacht Club House which is modern and complete in every detail. The city, of Biloxi intends building an electric car line to Gulfport, and Gulfport has secured the franchise to build a similar line to Pass Christian, thus connecting those celebrated seacoast resorts by easy and rapid transit. Capt. Jones has a magnificent five-story office building. Business activities are continually on the alert, and tourists come from all sections, not only to enjoy the delightful sea breezes and the advantages offered by sojourn in this popular resort, but also to study the growth of the place and its great possibilities for the future.
Just beyond Cat Island, and visible from the Biloxi beach, is
one of the most imposing landmarks in the history of Louisiana, whether a Colony, Territory or State. It is one of the four low islands (Cat. Chandeleur and Round that, stretching ten or twelve miles along the gulf coast, form the Mississippi Sound. Ship Island is only seven miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide. It belongs to the State of Mississippi, but is, in fact, ten miles distant from the nearest point of that State. Ship Island was discovered in 1690 by Bienville. In 1814 it served as a rendezvous for the British fleet that was advancing against New Orleans. It was to its white sands and quiet harbor that they retreated for refuge after the disastrous results of the battle on the plains of Chalmette. In the Civil War it was for a while a safe and convenient place of organization. The history of the island as a place of banishment for those who had incurred the displeasure of General Butler during his occupancy of New Orleans has made its name inseparably connected with the later history of the city. The white beach of the island glistening in the sun forms a convenient landmark for mariners.
The train makes' a short stop at Long Beach, about six miles from the Pass. It is a recent thriving settlement and rapidly becoming known as A resort. Long Beach boasts of a good hotel. A few minutes run brings the tourist to
which is a very prosperous town and the County seat of Harrison County. As far back as 1830 a great city was projected here, and elaborate plans were made for its establishment. A great harbor was planned, and the older of the two present good hotels was erected soon after. But the extensive scheme required the aid of the United States Government to materialize. This aid was not forthcoming, and the project languished. Mississippi City has a population of about 1,200. Its hotels are considered very excellent. It is 70.4 miles from New Orleans.
the old home of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, is a little over four miles' drive from Mississippi City. Carriages may be taken to this historic place of interest at Mississippi City. Mr. Davis and family lived at Beauvoir during the last years of his life. He died in New Orleans. The old mansion has recently been purchased by the Sons of Confederate Veterans of Mississippi as a home for impoverished Confederate veterans.
The Seashore Campgrounds,
which is quite a large settlement, lies between Mississippi City and Biloxi. The grounds are the property of the New Orleans, the Mobile and the Seashore.
District Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Every summer two weeks of religious revivals are held here. The revivals attract visitors from all parts of the far South. The grounds are occupied by wooden buildings called "tents," where many people go to spend the summer. Many prominent Methodists have their special 'tents," or summer houses, here. The bathing at this point is unsurpassed.
Very near the Campgrounds lies the town of
The town was founded by Bienville in 1718. Though the first settlement by the French was made over the bay in the old town of Biloxi, now known as Ocean Springs, this point stands for the first permanent settlement in Louisiana, all Mississippi and the surrounding country having formed a part of the Louisiana Province. In the year mentioned the capital of the entire Province was transferred to this point. Prior to this date a warehouse and a few other buildings had been erected on the site, which was known to the French as Deer Island. Bienville took up his quarters in the old warehouse. In 1723 the capital was transferred to New Orleans. Nothing of interest marked the history of the Biloxi settlement until 1760, when for a brief space of time it was included in the British possessions, the transfer having been effected by treaty between the European Powers. It became a Spanish town by conquest in 1780. After the cession of Louisiana to the United States, Spain contended that the Districts of Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Biloxi and Pascagoula were a part of West Florida, and had not been sold with Louisiana. President Madison held that the District of West Florida belonged, by the treaty of 1803, to the United States, and was a part of the Territory of Orleans.
In 1810 the inhabitants of Bayou Sara, which was a part of the West Florida contention, revolted and declared themselves independent of Spain. The Bayou Sarans attacked the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge and captured it, and asked to be annexed to the United States. President Madison told them quietly that the District of Florida already belonged to the United States, and directed Governor Claiborne to take possession of the district. Claiborne marched at the head of his militiamen to St. Francisville and took possession of the entire district in the name of the United States. The people cheerfully submitted to his authority. Subsequently Biloxi and Pascagoula became part of the State of Mississippi. Biloxi is a great resort for New Orleans people. It is seventy-nine miles from New Orleans. It has a population of 4,500. The town is lighted by electricity, possesses large canning and lumber interests and is supplied with abundant artesian well water. The bathing is delightful, the boating and fishing unexcelled. Its hotels, clubs, residences and churches are numerous and handsome.
A long trestle reaches from Biloxi to
the oldest town in all the area of what was known to the French of old Louisiana. This is the settlement founded by Iberville in 1699. He found on this spot an old Indian village called Biloxi, and he located his settlement hero, retaining the name, which sprang from the tribe of Biloxians who inhabited the section. For twenty years this place was the capital of the province. Sauvolle the brother of Iberville, and the first Governor of Louisiana, was killed here by the Indians. The late historian, Gayarre, identified his tomb on the site of the old French fort. When Bienville founded the new town of Biloxi on the other side of the bay, this point became known as Old Biloxi. It retained this name for over a hundred and fifty years. The modern town sprang up about 1854, when several prominent New Orleans gentlemen purchased large properties there, and sought to bring its merits as a watering place into notice. The name "Ocean Springs" was given to the old town, the name being taken from several springs thought to have curative properties which are located on the estate of the late William B. Schmidt, who was one of the leading citizens of New Orleans. The town is very pretty and picturesque. There are some very beautiful homes and several fine hotels. The oldest hotel was established in 1835. The population of Ocean Springs is about 1,400. The town is eighty-three miles, from New Orleans.
Is the only other stopping-place that the train makes before crossing into the State of Alabama. The place is really a part of the old town of Pascagoula, which comprised Pascagoula proper, as the old French settlement along the seacoast is called, Scranton, the county seat, and Moss Point, a pretty little town on Dog River, about four miles from Scranton.
Scranton was named in honor of a former official of the railroad which brought the town into existence about thirty years ago. The population is about 2,000. The town possesses many saw mills and ship yards; an admirable harbor afforded by the Pascagoula River has brought the place considerable foreign commerce. Scranton is ninety-nine miles from New Orleans. A mile drive from Scranton to the seashore brings the visitor to the ancient town of
The drive leads through wild and picturesque scenery that is very romantic. Pascagoula is an old Indian village, deriving its name from the famous tribe that inhabited this section. Indian mounds of considerable extent, it is said, are still to be seen in the vicinity. Soon after Iberville settled at Old Biloxi or Ocean Springs, the colonists established a branch station here. This was the beginning of the present town. When Louisiana was ceded to Spain all Pascagoula was granted by the King of Spain to Colonel Krebs, a distinguished officer in the Spanish army, in recognition of important services. Here he settled, and along the banks of the bay and river his descendents have lived from generation to generation. When the depredations of the Indians necessitated the settlers banding together for their protection, Colonel Krebs built a strong fort, the walls of which were twelve feet thick, just at the junction of the Pascagoula River and Bay. Years afterwards his descendants built a "beautiful home on the spot, retaining the old historic fort as a part of the residence. A magnificent avenue of live oaks leads up to this old home, which is a point of interest to all visitors.
Hard by the ancient fortress home is heard the famous "mysterious music," which comes up from the mouth of the river. No explanation of this weird melody has ever been adduced, but it is a positive fact that at certain hours strange singing notes emanate from the water. Many strange legends are, of course, connected with it, one of which is that the sounds are the wails of an Indian girl moaning for her lover, who was drowned at this point; she sprang in after him, and, failing to save his life, has never ceased to bemoan his fate. Another is that in a feud that arose between the Biloxi and Pascagoula Indians the former surprised the latter one dark and stormy night. Rather than fall into the hands of the hated enemy the entire tribe, men, women and children, sprang into the waters with the warwhoop still lingering on their lips, and this is the weird echo which from that day to this haunts the spot.
Crossing the Alabama line, the train stops at Grand Bay and St. Elmo, both thriving little towns, located, respectively, 115 and 120.8 miles from New Orleans.
is reached in an hour. This important Southern city, the older French' sister of New Orleans, is 140.5 miles distant from the great metropolis. Mobile was founded by Bienville in 1702, when he built a fort and established a colony near the site of the present city. It derives its name from the tribe of Mobile Indians that inhabited the section. In 1785 Galvez took the first census, and found that it had a population of 746. The number steadily increased, and in 1788 there were 1330 inhabitants. After this period the importance of the place diminished, and in 1803 there were only 803 inhabitants. In 1813 it was surrendered to the Americans by Gayetaud Perez; the population had still further declined to 500. In 1814. Mobile was incorporated as a town, and in 1819 as a city. The rise of the city was remarkable after that. It grew in strength and importance, and became a leading Southern port. Its commerce was very great. The population at present is about 50,000. In 1864 the Federal fleet, under Admiral Farragut, fought a celebrated battle in the bay against the Confederate fleet, under Admiral Buchanan. In March and April, 1865, the city was besieged by the Federals, under General E. S. Canby, and, after a desperate defense by the Confederates, led by General D. H. Maury, was compelled to surrender. Mobile contains many interesting buildings and fine churches and hotels. Nearby is Springhill, with its famous old college. The city has a tine harbor and a constantly increasing commerce, especially with Cuba and Central America.The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904