was the expression popularized by New Orleans newspapers to reference the coastal villages that offered hostelry asylums and health spas for the wealthy Orleanians to seek temporary reprieve from the heat and stresses of the rowdy overpopulation in the Crescent City. The small villages of Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Biloxi, and Pascagoula began offering hotel accommodations of some consequence beginning in the 1830s. These early settlements were soon followed by Mississippi City and Ocean Springs in the 1840s.
Early on, boarding houses and rental cottages were made available. These were added to with the eventual construction of grandiose hotels – each, in competition with others in their bids for frequenting vacationers.
The hotels grew and were renovated and added to; always in constant change of proprietorship and new management – and offering greater and grander services.
“Pass Christian as a watering place, has no rival, either in beauty or in comfortable accommodations. In my estimation, Pass Christian as a summer retreat from the busy cares of life, is far, very far, superior to the far famed Northern resorts. We should not be surprised if one day Pass Christian becomes the fashionable watering place par excellence of the
“N.O. Daily Delta – August 1848"
Watering Places --- 1900s
In a 1930's promotion, the Mississippi Gulf Coast was described as being, “Along a twenty-five-mile curve of gleaming, silver-sand, stretching from Biloxi to Pass Christian. There are cities with wide, shaded avenues and modern homes and hotels that look out across landscaped lawns to the sapphire waters that remember Iberville, Bienville, and Lafitte. The climate, tempered by the tropic breezes from the Gulf of Mexico, is equable and delightful, with an unfailing abundance of sunny, exhilarating days that irresistibly tempt the visitor into the open.”
“During both Winter and Summer, the entire coast is bright with activity. The Gulf is gay with launches, yachts, and motorboats; some are pleasure craft, others carry fishermen, seeing Spanish mackerel, redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout, sea bass, amber jack, or tarpon about the islands, or are bound for the picturesque rivers and bayous.”
In 1939, when the population of Pass Christian reached 3000, the L&N Depot was located at Davis Avenue. The Teche-Greyhound Bus Station was at Davis and Beach avenues in the Standard Oil filling station. Taxis were available for 25¢ up. Hourly bus trips to Gulfport and Biloxi were 25¢. Speed limits were 20mph mid-town and 30 mph on other streets. There were four hotels, and in addition, there were boarding houses and tourist camps. The townsfolk were availed to by one motion picture show that no longer exists.
Old Pass Road (the Pass Christian Road) extended from Pass Christian to Biloxi for a distance of 23.8 miles, which was asphalted in 1939. This was an old road which was used in early times by ox-carts and horse buggies to cross the coast from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi Bay.
The earliest beginnings of Pass Road at Pass Christian ran in a northeast diagonal from the former VFW Clubhouse at Fleitas Avenue through Red Creek Road. In 1906, the Back Road became Second Street which was widened and straightened to accommodate the streetcar rail tracks from Biloxi. That street was also converted to become the means to access Pass Road as it proceeded through Long Beach to Biloxi. The eastern-most part of Pass Road in Biloxi was later changed and called Howard Avenue for the New Orleans benefactor who donated the funds to build the large Biloxi Public School.
In 1969, Pass Christian was almost totally demolished as a result of the Killer Hurricane, “Camille.” Many of the survivors were forced to move to other coast cities as a result of the total loss of their homes.
During the early 1930s, meeting the evening commuter train from New Orleans was a Pass ritual. There were two trains a day going to and from New Orleans and the Coast, two in the mornings and two in the evenings.
The late train left New Orleans at 5:00 p.m. and arrived at the Pass at 7:00 p.m. This was the most popular train.
The Pass Christian Depot was a wooden building about sixty feet long by fifteen feet wide which stood immediately adjacent to a boarding platform that was packed with hard cinders stretching between Fleitas and Davis Avenues. Along side, was a dirt road connecting the two avenues. Adjacent, at the south of this dirt road, was a park with open space and a number of trees that presented an ambiance of peacefulness only interrupted by the occasional passing of a train.