The Evolution of Biloxi Tourism Historical

The Evolution of Biloxi Tourism Historical (HM1XGI)

Location: Biloxi, MS 39530 Harrison County
Country: United States of America

N 30° 23.691', W 88° 54.069'

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—Historic Biloxi —

During the early 19th Century, the Biloxi peninsula was sparsely populated
with a few French speaking families. The 1827 establishment of steamboat
service between New Orleans and Mobile, via Lake Pontchartrain, served
as a catalyst for the growth of Biloxi and its development as a resort.
The summer exodus of the New Orleans wealthy seeking refuge from the
city's heat and yellow fever season swelled Biloxi's population. Many built
summer homes, and those of entrepreneurial spirit built hotels. Biloxi had
become the largest of the "watering places" along the Mississippi Coast
by the 1840s. Antebellum tourism thrived until the Federal
blockade of the Mississippi Sound during the Civil War.

Post-Civil War steamboat service was replaced by the coastal
railroad in 1870. Railroad connections via New Orleans and
Mobile turned Biloxi into a year-round resort. Fast moving
trains brought "snowbirds" from the Northern and Midwestern
states to spend winters in Biloxi. In 1906, they formed the
Biloxi Tourist Club with membership representing 35 states.
Automobile travel spurred a greater surge in tourism. In 1925,
Biloxi became part of the Old Spanish Trail National Highway,
which connected Florida to California. Pictorial promotion
brochures enticed vacationers from across the country. By
1928, several new multi-storied
hotels faced the beachfront.
Tourism waned after the 1929 stock market disaster and the
ensuing Great Depression.

Post-World War Biloxi regained its resort status with the
simultaneous widening of the beach road into a four-lane
superhighway and the creation of the longest man-made
sand beach in the world. By the mid-1950s, a blaze of neon
advertised hotels, motels, restaurants, nightclubs, and other
tourist-oriented businesses filled the city. In 1969, Hurricane
Camille brought tourism to a standstill. Biloxi languished in the
70s. Biloxi began emphasizing its history, heritage, and culture
to bolster tourism during the 1980s.

The 1992 arrival of dockside gaming made tourism Biloxi's main industry.
The city entered the 21st Century as a major casino resort destination
with visitors numbering more than 3 million annually. In 2005, Biloxi
encountered Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive natural disaster in
United States history. Katrina's wrath destroyed irreplaceable landmarks
and severely crippled the resort industry. Post-Katrina laws allowing on-
land casinos proved to be a key factor in the recovery of tourism. The
continuous waxing and waning of Biloxi's tourist industry reflects the
cyclical nature of all seaside resorts.

[Photo captions]

Left middle: This promotion brochure, "Biloxi: The Four Season Resort,"
was published by the Chamber of Commerce in 1923. Ten thousand of the publications were distributed throughout the country.
Credit: Biloxi Public Library

Right top: One of Biloxi's first grand hotels, the Buena Vista Hotel & Convention Center (1924-late 1980s) is pictured during its mid-20th century heyday. Located on the present site of the MGM Park, it offered fishing, boating, access to golfing, trips to Ship Island and other tourist attractions.

Right middle: The many bathing piers along the Biloxi beach were popular with tourists and locals alike, as pictured on this circa 1940s postcard.
Credit: Biloxi Public Library

Right bottom: Gaily decorated shrimp boats take part in Biloxi's Blessing of the Fleet in the 1960s. The event, held under the auspices of St. Michael Catholic Church, has opened the shrimp season since 1929. Over time, the annual festival has become a big Biloxi tourist attractions.
Credit: Biloxi Public Library
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Placed ByThe City of Biloxi
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, March 24th, 2017 at 9:01pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16R E 317352 N 3364072
Decimal Degrees30.39485000, -88.90115000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 23.691', W 88° 54.069'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 23' 41.46" N, 88° 54' 4.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)228
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1050 US-90, Biloxi MS 39530, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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