Living

Trolley served Coast in early 1900s until building of seawall

These people are waiting in front of the Anniston Hotel for the trolley.
These people are waiting in front of the Anniston Hotel for the trolley. Courtesy Paul Jermyn

Last week’s Flashback told about the Anniston Hotel on the beach in the area of Mississippi City, presently east Gulfport.

This July 1915 picture shows unidentified people waiting at the Anniston’s trolley stop, which was near the water’s edge opposite the hotel.

The trolley, operated by the Gulfport & Mississippi Traction Co., connected the Coast cities and intermediate points of Harrison County.

A proposed trolley line had been under discussion for quite some time when, under the leadership of Gulfport’s Joseph T. Jones, the charter of the Gulfport & Mississippi Coast Traction Co. was signed in May 1905. The first spike was driven on July 3, 1905.

The last spike on the line between Biloxi and Gulfport was driven on May 31, 1906.

The line connected to Pass Christian some time later. The traction line between the Coast’s largest cities created great opportunities, both economically and personally.

The Sept. 20-21, 1909, hurricane damaged tracks and interrupted service, but the Oct. 9 Daily Herald newspaper reported that the trolley had resumed running from Gulfport to the Anniston Hotel and would be reaching Biloxi in a matter of days.

In 1912, the traction company began a special weekly sightseeing trolley excursion to show tourists the points of interest from Biloxi to Pass Christian.

The first excursion party consisted of 29 tourists with picnic lunches. At scheduled stops, they browsed through Coast cities, visited the Confederate veterans at Beauvoir in Biloxi and learned about historical landmarks.

The only downside was on windy days, when excursionists were expected to help clear the sand from the trolley tracks.

Trolley service ended with the building of the Harrison County seawall.

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 phone number to Flashback, the Sun Herald, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535; call 896-2424; or email living@sunherald.com.

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