In 1917, there still was no firefighting equipment in Pass Christian.
The Gulfport fire engine was called and reached the scene in about 40 minutes, but due to low water pressure, it was unable to perform.
An engine from Biloxi also responded to the call, but before its arrival, the walls of the massive building fell.
A large number of firemen from Bay St. Louis walked across the three-mile railroad trestle because there was no automobile bridge at that time.
Meanwhile, from Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, Delisle, and Cuevas, large numbers of people were attracted by the flames that lit up the heavens.
Needless to say, in the following year firefighting equipment was added to the volunteer "Bucket Brigade".
Unwavering Visionary of the Pass
Albert Aschaffenburg, like many others, fell in love with the Pass and wanted to redevelop the greatness of its past. He had a vision to bring back the tourist trade by establishing the Pass as a winter resort for Northerners and a summer playground once more for Orleanians. He first visited the Pass beginning in 1905 and engaged Frank Wittmann to build the family home in the 600 block of E. Scenic Drive. He organized the Bayou Portage Fishing and Hunting Club in 1912. He had purchased the raw land and built a camp on piling which provided a pier for boats to land and tie up.
Bayou Portage Water Festival
In 1915, he promoted a Water Carnival with tournaments in motor boating, sail boating, paddle boating and swimming contests. The Regatta was held in July and known as the Bayou Portage Water Festival. It was a huge success bringing many participants, visitors and tourists together. The evening concluded with a gala ball and dance at the Mexican Gulf Hotel.
Motor League of Louisiana
On another occasion, Aschaffenburg approached the then Governor John Parker of Louisiana to provide convict labor to build a road across the marsh areas from New Orleans to the Pass. Ignoring negative statements from engineers regarding feasibility, he proved that the marsh sub-surface was constituted of hard clay which would permit a roadway once the marsh area was scooped away. Pursuing his ideas, he formed the Motor League of Louisiana which sponsored the road construction.
He further volunteered to personally supervise the passageway from New Orleans to the Chef Menteur. Ferry services were provided at the Rigolets and the Chef until replacement bridges were erected. The beach road already existed from Waveland to Bay St. Louis and in 1928 the wooden Bay Bridge eliminated the ferry service from the Point to Bay St. Louis.
A Subdivision that didn't happen
In March of 1915, Aschaffenburg acquired the property from the Beach to the railroad tracks comprising the present War Memorial Park. His plans were to build a subdivision development complete with tennis courts, a playground, and a passenger shelter at the Railroad Depot. His unfortunate ambition was disrupted by the 1915 Hurricane that devastated the entire Coast.
A Library that didn't happen
In the interest of providing a Public Library, he lobbied the City officials to apply for a Carnegie Grant which would pay for the construction of a Public Library facility. He ascertained that any community that would administer the program would be eligible for free money.
A Hotel renovation that didn't happen
Albert Aschaffenburg also brought together a group of investors from New Orleans who bought and remodeled the Mexican Gulf Hotel in 1917, but it burned down on January 8, 1918.
With Aschaffenburg's untimely death in January of 1918, the visions were lost with the passing of the Visionary.