Tarpon-Beacon
"Pass Christian Tarpon-Beacon"

     The Coast Beacon newspaper had been published in Pass Christian since 1880 as started by James A Eaton while the Pass Lighthouse was still standing.
     During its promotion in the Pass, the paper was owned by local stockholders, some of whom were:  General J.R. Davis, a nephew of Jefferson Davis; A.M. Dahlgren; Charles M. Rhodes; and Captain P.K. Meyers who was former editor of the Pascagoula Democrat-Star.  It was then continued by H.P. Beeman in 1882, who then sold it in 1890 to WL May, co-owner of the Mexican Gulf Hotel at that time.   Sanborn Maps of the area, show the Beacon Office located at 230 E. Beach in 1893, operated by a person named Hand.  and in 1898, it had moved across the street at 231 E. Beach (former Hayden Lot).  
     In 1893, local resident, E.J. Adam acquired it and established a Board of Directors consisting of C.A. Simpson, George P. Brandt, J.M. Dempf, and E.J. Adam.  A Sanborn Map of 1904, shows the Beacon Office at the SW corner of the Adam Residence lot in a building bordering the north side of Beach Blvd.
     The Coast Beacon was later sold in 1925, to S.L. McGlathery shortly before a significant statewide political campaign.
     Theodore G. Bilbo and Bidwell Adam had teamed up to run for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.  When E.J. Adam realized that the new owner of the Coast Beacon was not going to support his son's election in 1926, he promptly started another competitive newspaper, The Pass Christian Tarpon.  Needless to say, but the championed team won the election.  Adam continued the newspaper for a number of years until selling it.
     At that time, each of the Coastal towns had their own newspapers, however, the Pass Christian Tarpon, which became the Pass Christian Gulf Coast Beacon, sustained continued success for many decades because it always managed to publish the County legal notices, thereby assuring its financial stability.
     Parnell McKay arrived in the "Pass" in 1929, as an infant of 6 months while yet in the arms of his parents who met and married while working together at the McComb Enterprise.  The senior McKay's purchased the Tarpon from E.J. Adam and later that year acquired the Pass Christian Gulf Coast Beacon.  The two newspapers were merged to become the Pass Christian Tarpon-Beacon.
     Young Parnell was to become a third generation publisher, due to his grandfather having previously published a newspaper in Kansas.  At the age of seven he learned to manually feed paper into his parents' printing press.  After pursuing college in 1943, he started working full time at the paper;  and, in 1954, became publisher following his father's demise.  Parnell's mother, Mrs. Minnie McKay, continued as linotype operator and co-manager until her retirement after thirty years in 1958.  Most of the locals called her Mrs. "Mac".
     Mr. and Mrs. McKay celebrated the births of Parnell McKay,II daughter Ann,  and their second son, John.   Each of these two sons, in their own way, maintained the paper until its final issue on October 11, 1990.  Without celebration, in its 110th year of publication, four generations of dedication to the journalistic unfolding in the chronicles of history of Pass Christian came to an end, thus, the spirited citizens of the community lost its primary communication media.
      The McKay family can be heralded for having produced the "Tarpon-Beacon" which was the longest running periodical on the Coast and had the distinction of being the first daily newspaper in south Mississippi, even if but for a short period in 1890.


     Adelle Bielenberg presented the above copy of the Coast Beacon dated November 13, 1897.  Some of the interesting local news included:  Who stole the gun from the guards on post No. 1 Thursday night? -- Two colored men returned from Wolf river with over 400 pounds of fish. -- If we can only hold the State Board of Health off for another week, we'll win the fight against the fever.  -- The danger has past. -- If you are seeking a good healthy town to spend the winter, Pass Christian is the place.
     Pass Christian advertisements included:  Marie Straub - Baker and Confectioner; J. Ed Hanson - Druggist and Chemist; Edward Bielenberg - Barber & Hairdresser; Town Library Reading Room - open from 9 to 9 weekdays, 1 to 6pm Sundays; Kate Schoor - Groceries, Feed and Tobacco; K.L. Thornton - Justice of the Peace; Frank Sutter - Insurance Agent; John Sutter - Artesian Wells; N. Bohn - Boots, Shoes, Hats, Clothing; Mrs. J. Miither - Midwife; R. McIntosh - The Sazarac Saloon; Estate of C. Courtenay - Dry Goods, Corn, Hay, Tin-ware; Wm. Kux - Watchmaker and Jeweler; Denis Amiel - Veterinary and Horseshoer; Brandt & Dempf - General Merchandise; Louis Schruff - Oysters and Fish; Mrs. J.H. Knost -- Dry Goods, Hats, Ribbons, Flowers, etc.; and Dufrechou's Lunch House - offering meals at all hours for 25 cents - Free Delivery.  And, Northrop's prices were one-third off regular any-one-else's -- Your money back, if you want!  Besides being in the furniture business, when money was scare, Edward Bielenberg would advertise his Barber and Hairdresser skills at his Shop which was located in the Spence Building on Front Street.


Pass resident, James Sherman was a contributor to the Newspaper in the late 1920s, as he wrote about the flora of the Pass, from which he compiled his vignettes into a booklet entitled "Some of the Fragrant or Pretty Flowers and Trees of the South."

Next  Page