The Harrison County Beach Authority has been out in full force this week, preparing the white sandy beaches for tourist season. The beautiful 26 mile white sandy beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast did not always look like they do now. Jane Shamba is a local historian at the Biloxi Public Library. She says you can tell a lot about the area's history from photos of the beaches. Shamba says, "Some of my favorites are the aerial views of the beaches and all along Harrison County. In this particular picture, we have several picture clues where we have a beach, so we know this was after the 1950s, and the other clue we have is Hwy. 90 is on either side of the lighthouse."
Shamba uses old postcards to get an idea of how our area looked many years ago, and encourages others to buy them in order to preserve history. Shamba also says, "If we see a picture of, for example, this postcard, has the seawall, but no beach. So we can figure it was taken or purchased after the 1920s, but before the 1950s.” Even though the seawall is no more, once the beaches were built after the 1950s, tourism became a hit here on the Coast. Jamie Perkins of Biloxi Jet Ski Rentals says, "It’s a big part of our economy down here on the beach. Being in Biloxi, it’s such a tourism attraction, just a great place and environment for the kids and family." Many couldn't imagine Biloxi without its beaches. Madeline Galligin, a resident, says, "I couldn't, I really couldn't. I live less than a mile away from here. I’d walk if I needed to."
As the weather warms up, the Harrison County Beach Authority will be out cleaning and perfecting the beaches, just in time for the wave of tourism during the spring and summer seasons.