The Nelson Hotel -- Downtown Pass Christian
In 1925, Andrew Nelson converted a two-story, brick building on Beach Blvd., now Scenic Drive, into a 15-room hotel. In the 1950s, it was owned and operated by Mrs. Margaret McGrath. In spite of Hurricane Camille damages in 1969, the hotel continued until 1976 – thus bringing an end to hotels in Pass Christian – the half remaining portion is now the Hancock Bank Annex.
The Nelson Hotel reportedly had been the Oak Lawn Inn, a hotel operated by a family named Henderson. That hotel burned down sometime prior to 1925.
Later, a two-story garage was built, which in 1925 was renovated to accommodate the15-room hotel developed by Andrew J. Nelson.
Although the hotel was dedicated to transient visitors, there were a number of local citizens who established full time residency there. Those persons were called “Steady Roomers.”
In the 50s, 60s and early 1970s, the Hotel was owned and operated by Mrs. Margaret McGrath, who continued its mixed-use to include several businesses, such as a chiropractic office, a beauty shop, an antique shop and the Beachcomber Cafe (which closed in 1976). A prior restaurant was Rhyne’s Cafe during the early ‘30s.
With Hurricane Camille’s destructive forces in August 1969, all the waterside businesses were destroyed. The Nelson Hotel partially re-opened in October 1969 and continued operations until 1976 or 1977. The Hancock Bank acquired the hotel for use by its adjoining Branch banking facility. The Nelson Hotel underwent partial demolition in 1979 and reopened in 1981 as the Hancock Bank Annex. Humorously, the local residents dubbed it the “Half-Nelson.”
At its dedication, the former site provided new banking drive-in window bays and a renovated office structure in Greek Revival mode in complimenting the architectural ambiance of the Branch Office and the beauty of Scenic Drive.
The Annex now houses the offices of Fillette Green & Co. Inc.
Cunningham's Motel -- at Henderson's Point
The street that passes in front of Annie's Restaurant, now called Bayview, was part of the original Hwy. 90. Just across from Annie's was the Cunningham's Motel. There was another motel nearby, the Tropicana, that continued doing business into the 1990s.
Bennie French's -- at Henderson's Point
Besides operating a Lounge and Gambling Hall, the French's provided a public beach at the foot of the Bay Bridge at Henderson's Point. It was extremely popular to many folks who traveled from New Orleans.