It is likely that one of the young men pictured on this circa 1920s postcard is John Hawkins Hill Jr. (1880-1958), the owner of the Sugar Bowl 5-10-25c Store located in downtown Moss Point.
The 1900 and 1910 federal census lists John’s occupation as “proprietor of a confectionery store.”
According to “The History of Moss Point” by Harry McDonald, John began his first business venture selling candy and roasted peanuts from a tent near the banks of the Escatawpa River.
The success of John’s tent business caused him, at some point, to build a wooden building near the Moss Point post office.
Again, according to McDonald, this store was destroyed by the flames that engulfed downtown Moss Point in October 1922, after which he moved the Sugar Bowl into the brick building shown here.
In his history, McDonald says that it is likely that Jackson County’s first soda fountain could be found at the Sugar Bowl. But the Sugar Bowl was not John H. Hill’s only business. Over the years he owned Hill’s Hardware, Hill’s Bargain Store, Hill’s Furniture and the Hillhurst Hotel.
Murella H. Powell, a local historian, writes the weekly Flashback column. Do you have a local photograph to submit to Flashback? It can be of any subject or event in the Coast’s distant or recent past. Please send a description with your name, address and daytime phone number to Flashback, the Sun Herald, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535; or call 896-2424; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.