A Victorian Gazebo for the Pass
by Dan Ellis
What a more delightful location -- but to have placed a Victorian Gazebo at the City's Memorial Park overlooking the Mississippi Sound and the celebrated Scenic Drive.
This historic site is part of the land grant deeded by the Widow Asmar in 1799, to her trusted, freed slave, Charles (Charlot). Before his death in 1835, he sold a small portion of his vast acreage to Francisco Fleitas, Sr. While visiting the Pass, Marie Modeste Dorothia Cuccullu met her Spanish "conquistador" and married him. Their beautiful palatial home and gardens graced the wonderful promenade of Live Oaks which are still symmetrically spreading a welcome shade with enveloping shadows. Also, in residence, during those bygone days, were exotic peacocks spreading their feathered plumage in splendor with beautiful arrays of color.
The Gazebo took its shape in 1983, when it was sponsored by the "Ladies of the Harbor Shop." The architectural design was a donated rendering by Dale Thompson who conceived the octagonally shaped structure with a diameter of 24 feet which extended upward 12 feet above the raised floor to its roofline.
The Harbor Shop, a non-profit organization chartered in 1955, was located in the Exchange Building at 203 E. Scenic Drive. The volunteer ladies sold consigned antiques and crafts as its major fundraiser and allocated its proceeds to various community benefits. Unfortunately, after 40 years, the Harbor Shop of Pass Christian passed out of existence in 1995, but its generosity to the needy and its community promotions, continues on as the Gazebo keeps its stately posture at the Park.
The Gazebo project was estimated to cost $7,000.00. Under the leadership of its president, Mrs. Mary Fitzpatrick, the "Ladies of the Harbor Shop" donated the first $4,000.00, with the remaining $3,000.00 derived from individuals and civic organizations such as: the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society, V.F.W. Post 5931 and its Ladies Auxiliary, the Beta Sigma Phi -- Xi Theta Chapter, the Henderson Point - Pass Christian Isles Civic Association, St. Paul's Catholic Church, and the Art Association. Service and product contributions were generously given by local businesses, such as: Hancock Bank, L&B Enterprises, Coast Wholesale Supply, Coast Cable T.V., Dale Thompson for design, Edward Reid for electrical, Tom's Welding Service, Frank Pierson & Son's for brickwork, Isaiah Johnson for Cement finishing, Bourdin Brothers for plumbing, and Jake Bell for sand. Landscaping was provided by Bob Doe and the Pass Christian Garden Club.
The actual construction was also a labor of love offered by Jean and Lee Stanbro, and the initial idea was a dream come true by Coral Trepagnier, who envisioned a beautiful, restful place to gaze out upon the sunsets and from where musicians, artists, and oratory and theatrics could perform and reach out to community residents and visitors.
The Gazebo was dedicated by the Ladies of the Harbor Shop and City leaders led by Mayor Gordon Bishop on Sunday, May 6, 1984.
The Pass Christian Gazebo has become the "Hallmark of the Pass" as seen on City Hall stationary, the Mayor's business card, Christmas in the Pass placards, Pass Merchant's tourist brochures, and photographed frequently for news articles about the Pass. Famed, local artist, Tazewell Morton, sketched its replica in 1990, as his offering to the City. It took the initiative of a few ladies to open their organization's savings to start an avalanche of support from other responsive organizations, businesses and individuals. Without such wonderful volunteerism and the spirit of community giving, there would be no Gazebo in the Pass.
The Gazebo has been able to withstand hurricanes, vandalism and aging deterioration because of the extended efforts put forth by its expediter, Beverly Jeanne Stanbro, who had visited three cities to study good features as well as faulty aspects of public gazebos. Coral Trepagnier’s photograph clipping of a Dallas gazebo was given to Beverly Jeanne as a guide in her research quest that resulted in a design sketch that was approved by the Ladies of the Harbor Shop.
L&B Enterprises, Lee and Beverly Stanbro's construction company, was awarded the contract. During its construction, a substantial foundation was prepared to withstand hurricane winds that at most would simply call for replacing the lost wooden structure. Therefore, the design of the gazebo, with its double ceilings and spindle siding is credited to exemplary research. For many years, Lee and Beverly Jeanne Stanbro maintained the sturdy structure by simply replacing kicked out spindles which are kept in supply. For on-going maintenance, a fund is kept at the Hancock Bank in the name of Friends of the Gazebo.
War Memorial Park Time Line
1944 - Honor Roll - Park Monument dedication, December 21, 1944
1945 - The Plan - War Memorial Association - instigated the acquisition for a
of the Park and created the Park Commission
1946 - 2nd Annual Report - Finance Statement for Assn.. and Comm. 11/1/46
1976 - BiCentennial dedication of Historic Markers, 7/4/76
1980 - War Memorial Asso - Memorial for Charter Members, 3/23/80
1947 - Jan. 4th dedication of Park Playground by Commission and Association
1950 - New Ballpark bleachers
1951 - 7th Annual Park Fair fundraiser by all civic groups for Park Comm.
1952 - 8th Annual Park Fair
1953 - August Evening dance at Tennis Courts with Papa Celestin entertainment
1953 - 9th Annual Park Fair -- Aug 22-23
1956 - 12th Annual Park Fair -- Aug 11-12
1956 - VFW Pier started -- Dec 27th
1956 - VFW Labor Day Picnic in Park -- Sept 3rd
1957 - VFW Pier dedicated -- June 15th
1957 - Repair Esther storm damage to Pier -- Oct 10
1957 - Annual Park Fair -- Aug 10-11
1958 - Annual Memorial Park Bazaar -- Aug 11-12
1958 - 12 hours of snow -- Feb 12th
1959 - Annual Park Fair -- Aug 8-9
1960 - Proposal for new plaque memorial for all Vets including Korea - 2/4
1960 - Annual Park Fair -- Aug 13-14
1961 - New Officers for Assn. -- Feb 2nd
1961 - Memorial Marker replica of a Grecian portico, 8' hi, 12' long -- Oct 26th
1961 - Park Benefit at PCYC -- Nov 11th
1962 - Festival of Arts with Gulf Coast Art Assn.with Trinity Martha Guild,
with band, dancing, and art auctions -- July
1963 - Park Asso Fund drive -- received Harbor Shop donation -- Feb 7th
1964 - Dinner for Park at VFW -- June 28
1966 - Harbor Shop donated $1,000 for caretaker house repairs -- June 16th
Annual Fairs were stopped, therefore fund raising was difficult.
1968 - Comm. queried City about $5,000 unused budget for Park,
Integration problems, -- Feb 7th
1968 - Integration prompted sale of Park to City for $25,000 -- Mar 28
Money would be used for scholarships
1968 - City claims ownership of Park without sale, -- April 11
based on original deed of transfer
1968 - George Watson appointed to Park Comm -- May 9
1968 - May 23, Mother of Mercy Church gave $325 to Carl Keel, Pres
Pass Atheletic Club for summer recreation program, other churches
would follow suit, but some resented funds going to City gen'l fund
1968 - Aug 8, Land swap with Avery Allen, Sr. 20x200 park for 60x327
1968 - Mar 8, 1mill of taxation would be create $10,000 was considered
1969 - Sept 10, Hired a full time recreation director for year round activities
1969 - Aug 7, Wiley Reid Recreation Director and member of Park Comm, discussion of over-spending, Mayor Wittman replied it was customary to let bills go unpaid when over-budget and deficient on funds
1969 - First Christmas tree lighting, Dec. 12 -- "Friendship tree" donated by the L.C. Williams Co. of Houston Tex, manufactures of outdoor Christmas decorations, given because of Camille
1970 - Lighting contract let for $8,800 for ballfield -- June 11
1970 - Seabees built restrooms at ball park -- Sept 30
1970 - Christmas tree lighting at the Park, 2nd annual -- Dec 22
1971 - Bids for basketball courts at Fleitas and Church -- Mar 18
1971 - Sept. 2nd, American Flag Plaque Stand made by Seabees to City at Park, made of shells and broken milk of magnesia bottles laid in cement
1971 - Nov 11th, $60,000 proposal but City had no matching funds
1971 - Dec 15th, Annual Christmas tree lighting, included church choirs from several schools and churches
1972 - Open forum on recreation problems brought up by coaches, umpires, players to Park Comm -- June 9th
1972 - Dec 6th, Fouth Annual Christmas tree lighting, Xi Theta Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi sorority in charge. Midle School band, Trinity church choir, invocations and benedictions by church pastors,
1973 - Feb 15th, Plaque honoring all war dead WWI to Vietnam -- by Rotary
1973 - Mar 15th, Park Comm told PC Athletic Assn that it was taking control of recreation, but Assn would continue to provide coaches, assistants and umpires. Program would eliminate about 100 of 300 children who live outside of Pass. Assn refuted that most of coaches were from outside PC
1973 - Nov 22, VFW honored vets. PC Hi Band, Flag presentation, wreaths placed, taps blown, girl scouts were Jr hostesses
1974 - June 6th, Rotary Club replaced plaque lost by Camille with new one covering war dead from Civil War to 1974. 30 names listed
1974 - June 20, Recreation Director, Henry Logan hired for $1000
1974 - Dec 10th, Annual Christmas tree lighting, middle school band, Tom Bourdin at the Organ, scout troops, Xi Theta, Beta Siglma Phi
1974 - Dec 21, Rotary sponsored Santa annual visit. Arriving by boat at the Harbor, toured the town by fire truck and stopped at the Park.
1975 - April 10, John Gallagher, pres of PC Athletic Assn. presented 124 trophies to girls, boys, divisions and individuals.
1975 - March 8, Leased lot from Knights of Columbus at Fleitas and 3rd for parking
1975 - Dec 27, Living Christmas tree donated by C. Randall Jones to replace "Friendship tree"
1975 - Dec 11, Annual Christmas tree lighting - Steve Saucier Mayor
1976 - July 6th, Bicentennial celebration
1976 - Annual Christmas tree lighting -- Dec 12
1977 - Annual Christmas tree lighting, essay contest winners announced 12/9
1978 - 9th Annual Christmas Tree
1980 - March 17th, Marker dedication for originators of War Memorial Park.
(Hist of Markers, WW I dead was at old City Hall was knocked down by auto accident, 2nd Marker placed at park was demolished by Camille, 3rd was placed one year after Camille by Seabees, 4th Marker listing all War deaths was put up by Rotary.) Dr. Wesley Lake only survivor of originators made dedication
Dayton Robinson noted that the reversion clause in the deed transfer of the park to the City required that the War Memorial Park Asso must continue to exist, -- if for any reason the park was not retained for its park purpose.
1983 - July 21st, Harbor Shop proposed Victorian Gazebo Bandstand for the Park for purposes of school band concerts, civic functions, Christmas caroling, etc. Proposed Cost $7000, $4000 contributed from Harbor shop with balance to be raised by other sources.
1983 - Oct 3, Removal of Seabees Flag Plaque & marker for Gazebo location
1983 - Nov 3,Ground breaking for Gazebo
1984 - April 12, AnnualCoast Spring Pilgrimage -- PC Garden Club ladies served punch and donuts.
1984 - May 6th, Gazebo Dedication
1984 - Dec 13, Annual Christmas tree lighting, Keesler AFB orchestra and 40 member chorus provided entertainment, refreshments served.
1985 - Aug 8, Opening of PC Seafood Festival releasing balloons and "firing" of the two cannons
1986 - March 8, some Negro children damaged Gazebo
1990 - Dec 8, Annual Christmas Tree lighting, Children sing in Gazebo
1991 - Dec 6, Annual Christmas Tree lighting, in Gazebo
1993 - Nov 28, Dedication in name of Inez Bourdin by VFW, on Camille Marker of Camille victims.
2000 – National Registry "Keeper’s" House razed by order of City officials
The Park provides a wonderful venue for annual events such as Jazz in the Pass and Arts in the Pass and others.
2004 -- The Chamber of Commerce engaged Dan Ellis to be Editor of its newsletter using the Gazebo as part of its Masthead entitled "Pass in Revue"
2005 - Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gazebo
2007 -- The Gazebo was rebuilt to the same likeness.