Living

Heritage and Heart, and Gulf Hills’ legacy

Original furniture from the Gulf Hills Hotel in Ocean Springs is part of the ‘History and Heart’ exhibit at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs.
Original furniture from the Gulf Hills Hotel in Ocean Springs is part of the ‘History and Heart’ exhibit at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs. Courtesy Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center

About 80 years ago, the Gulf Hills neighborhood began growing on the north side of Ocean Springs and became a center of recreation and tourism for residents and visitors, including one of the most famous names to come out of Mississippi.

On March 30, the History Museum at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs will hold a reception and informal discussion of a new exhibit on the history of Gulf Hills at the Museum, 1600 Government St., from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibit, “Heritage and Heart, A History of Gulf Hills,” was curated by Pat Pinson

Celebrating the Gulf Hills Hotel’s glory days of the 1950s, the Mary C.’s chef Cheri Heirs will offer appetizers of the era. Speakers will include June Juanico, Elvis Presley’s one-time girlfriend, as well as hotel owners and staff.

The exhibit features furniture, photos and artifacts from the Gulf Hills Hotel and Golf Course. Presley’s visits to the Pink Pony Lounge at the Gulf Hills Dude Ranch get a tribute, as well as other celebrity visitors such as Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. There’s also a mobster side to Gulf Hills’ history, with Al Capone and others associated with organized crime who benefited from the Ocean Springs-to-Chicago direct railway route.

“Heritage and Heart” will be on display throughout 2017 on the second floor of the Mary C. and is free to view. The Mary C. is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Details: 228-818-2878.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

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