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Kiln Kountry --
Historically known for Largest Sawmill in South, Moonshine, and Brett Favre and other athletes.
The book cover displays a photo of Melva's Place and the Glass Place, a 1930s dance hall called the Cow Shed, as was renamed by partying locals who had hauled in a calf from outdoors, which had become so frightened, it scampered all around the dance floor. To commemorate that event, musician Jack Brown wrote a song called "The Cow Shed" that began with "After the cows come home."
The community, located 10 miles north of Bay St. Louis and Waveland, was named for the kilns built by the early French settlers to produce tar and charcoal. In later years, with the growth of the timber industry, Kiln was touted as having the largest sawmill and drying kiln in the South. During that period of the early 1900s, there was a hospital, a large hotel, and hundreds of mill-houses, none of which exist any longer.
Later, the Kiln enjoyed a second boom when it became known as the Moonshine Capital of the World during the bootlegging days of Prohibition. "It was said that an average of $4,000 of sugar a week was sold by a small local merchant," Ellis writes. "Kiln liquor had a reputation for high alcoholic proof and went under such names as Jourdan River Dew, White Lightning, Shinny, etc."
Today, the area around Kiln is the fastest growing region of the county, which is, itself, one of the fastest growing counties in Mississippi. In most recent years, the Kiln has a new post office, a new library, and a new elementary school, and has numerous restaurants in the area.
Ellis tracks the Kiln story from the early American Indians; the colonial periods of the French, English, Spanish; and the early migrations of Americans -- to the present day. The book is liberally sprinkled with old and new photographs and drawings as well as names that are as familiar today as they were when the town's history began -- Favre, Cuevas, Ladner, Nicaise, and Haas.
Locally, the town known as "The Kiln," has received nationwide recognition due to one of its native sons, Green Bay Packers' quarterback Brett Favre.
The book, which sells for $25, also contains brief histories of Kiln's neighboring piney wood communities -- Fenton, Jourdan River Shores, McLeod Water Park, Holly Bluff, Diamondhead, and the NASA Stennis Space Center.