Pass Christian -- Paradise
On becoming an exclusive upscale bedroom community
The area of Pass Christian historically traces its eary presence to 1699 by the French Explorers d'Iberville and Bienville. As it slowly developed, the small commercial fishing village was incorporated in 1848.
During the mid 1800s Pass Christian thrived as an important trading center. Farmers brought live turkeys, pigs and other livestock, as well as wool and cotton and produce down the Red Creek Road from upstate and back country to the Pass Christian harbor, when it was a major stop on the steamboat route between New Orleans and Mobile.
It was also the heyday of “Watering Places” and resort spas which brought tourists year round including droves of stately families and "nouveau riche" from New Orleans and upstate who established second homes for reasons of health and entertainment.
An 1850s commentary was -- "Pass Christian is celebrated for its pure and salubrious air, the beauty of its site, the elegance of its private mansions, the refinement and wealth of its citizens, its excellent academy for the education of young misses, and its military school; moreover, it is the favorite summer resort for the more opulent Orleanois, many of whom have built tasteful abodes along the shore, facing the lake, where gardens, lawns, porticos, and verandahs, enchant the eye.”
During the early 1900s, northern railroad links to the nearby city of Gulfport caused most businesses to reestablish from Pass Christian to its booming young neighbor at the east. By 1920, Pass Christian’s hotels no longer existed, except for the Inn By the Sea at Henderson Point and the small Grey Castle at the east end. Thus, most of its tourist trade shifted elsewhere. However, the colorful shrimping and oyster industry continued to operate along its coastline, almost like gray ghosts in the early morn.
The town’s population seemed to stay below 5000, producing a local saying which became common place. “We don’t let anyone in until someone dies!”
An InnKeeper once stated, “We never advertise — you have to know someone here!”
Yet another claims, “The Pass is the last place on the Coast where you can still see life as it use to be!”
Upon viewing the lovely old mansions and the ubiquitous white picket fences — another person remarked, “All’s right in the World!”
There is a new Paradise in the making -- Come and see for your self!
by Dan Ellis