The extended wharf from the Sound looking shoreward at the Mexican Gulf Hotel
Reflections which still remain true
Following the Civil War, excerpts from letters printed in the New Orleans Times-Democrat described the sentiments of the people who visited the "Pass" during its resurgence of activity.
"Fifty-seven miles out from the Crescent City, the train stops at a large passenger depot, and we debark at one of the most famous and fashionable summer and winter watering places on all the Southern seacoast, the very ancient colonial village, and the handsome, prosperous modern town of Pass Christian.
"The first natural curiosity that meets the traveler's sights at this celebrated place is a class of hackmen. Here, one may be whirled smoothly and swiftly in a comfortable vehicle along shell-paved avenues for 25 cents. It is a sign that life is easily sustained in a country where money has such purchasing power.
"It could be hardly otherwise here, where the soil may laugh up its harvests of luscious fruits and delicious vegetables to the tickling of the hoe, and the sea gives up its miraculous Galilean profusion of fishes.
"The Pass, as Southern visitors and residents term it, has a water frontage on the Mississippi Sound of six miles. Along this entire front is a broad shell-paved avenue.
"Its groves of oaks and magnolia and its surrounding forests of pine are covered with perennial verdure. Their evergreen foliage produces the impression that one is in the midst of a region of perpetual summer; and this impression is not far wrong as the climate is so mild that roses and violets bloom through the short winter.
"In the drive along the sea . . . the tourist sees a long succession of luxurious residences in park-like grounds; extensive boarding-houses with rustic benches scattered along the flower-bordered and shrubbery-shaded walks; and hundreds of pretty cottages with hammocks swinging lazily.
"In summer it is a scene of perfect rest, languorous, delicious siesta-inviting rest; lulled by the tuneful rhythm of ripples breaking on the sandy beach and sweetened by the soft sea breeze that comes stealing over the soothed senses, fresh and pregnant, as if it were breathed form the amorous mouth of Aphrodite.
"In winter it is a picture of blue skies and green groves, bending and waving the south wind.
"The largest hostelry is the Mexican Gulf Hotel, a handsome, extensive and ornate building situated near the beach. Last winter, it was occupied by several hundred health and pleasure-seekers from colder climes.
"Pass Christian affords lodging and entertainment to at least 1,500 winter visitors. The summer population of Pass Christian numbers about 4,000.
"Among the more modern attractive features are the artesian fountains that spout into the air solid streams of wonderfully pure water. Such crystal showers are constantly playing above the lawns of many fine residences and boarding houses.
"The numerous fishing and promenade piers, pagoda-ornamented and projecting into the Sound are used for fishing or moonlight flirting, according to the bait used. The waters are more frequented by Spanish mackerel, the famous pompano, the shoal loving flounder . . . frequently speared by pleasure parties.
"The shapely hulls of vessels lying at anchorage . . . show that boating and yachting are among the liberally patronized amusements here.
"Both Winter and Summer populations are given to social, Thespian and Terpsichorean pleasures, and the calliope has loosed many a Calypso. Residents and visitors have social, dramatic and musical organizations to cultivate the are of making life seem the shorter for its happiness.
"Sailing excursions out to the islands and around through the Bay are the most popular amusements. One of the favorite excursion points is a great shell mound on the banks of the Wolf River. A few months ago, diggers excavated five prehistoric skeletons.
"Immediately in front of Pass Christian is one of the largest oyster beds in this portion of the Gulf. A fleet of 40 or 50 is busy collecting these inexhaustible stores of seafood.
"The sea-shooting on the nearest islands is fine, ducks, geese, curlew and snipe being found in abundance. Quail shooting is fair. Splendid deer and turkey shooting is enjoyed by camping parties.
"In this district there are one or two extensive grape growers and wine producers. Their product is considered a superior article.
"The small stock growers raise enough good beef and mutton. The possibilities of skilled gardening and scientific farming have not been reached here, as the agricultural interest is not generally conducted by a highly educated or an ambitious class.
"When pleasure and health-seekers from Northern climes are thoroughly acquainted with its great attractions, Pass Christian will become a gay little winter capital."