Live Local: A glance into the past of the water’s edge in Biloxi
It’s time to Live Local, a series you can only catch here on News 25. For this week’s edition, News 25’s Lorraine Weiskopf shows us how the Biloxi shoreline has changed over the years.
The City of Biloxi, established in 1699, welcomes tourists to its white sand beaches. Although the beaches weren’t always fine. In fact, if you start digging, you’ll hit concrete. Biloxi Library Historian Jane Shambra said, “There were pieces and parts of natural beaches. Around the 1950s, they really spruced it up. In the 1920s, the seawall was built, but in the 50s they actually gave a place to recreate.”
The Biloxi Library’s local history and genealogy department collection showcases how its shoreline has changed throughout the years.
Their collections also unveil the city’s shorelines were once filled with extremely long piers. The reasoning behind this can be explained in a map from 1855 which shows the depth of the water. “The map shows us there’s only two or three feet of water right next to the beach. So, you could pull up in a boat and not get injured.”
The piers were also very long to ensure the boats wouldn’t become damaged in shallow water during low tide. “Why did they have so many boats? Because the railroads were not here and so that’s how transportation existed and not only people traveled by boats, but that’s how they got goods and so forth and it was also for recreation as well.”
There’s a well-known portion of Highway 90 in Biloxi that goes by another name: casino row. “One of my favorite vocabulary words is not exactly new to the city in the early 1990s when casinos were first inaugurated here so to speak.”
So, the casinos are located where the old factories were and that area was morphed into where the casinos are today. “The city planning department started calling it like ‘where is this’ and they said we’ll just call it casino row because everybody knows that’s where the new casinos are going to go.”
What’s Biloxi better known for now than its beaches and casinos?