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Gulf Coast -- Sails, Trails & Rails
“The Great Gulf Coast – Sails, Trails and Rails” is the elucidation of coastal transportation from early times to present. Ellis's chronicles describe the schooners and steamboats that traveled the lakes, bayous, and the Mississippi Sound. In this regard, he unfolds the colonial periods of domination by the French, British, and Spanish. And the flags honoring those nations went through evolutionary changes until 1811, when the first American banner was raised displaying 15 stars and stripes. This flag was presented by Dr. William Flood as he commanded his schooner, the Alligator, in making several stopovers along the Coast.
Mississippi proceded from being a territory to statehood – and its early first settlers experienced the Great Migration and the establishment of the Antebellum era. With the influx of new people, the early coastal towns and cities were primarily engaged in farming, fishing, lumbering, and ship building. As New Orleans and inland plantations became attracted to the health benefits and exotic charm of the Gulf Coast, each of the coastal villages began vying against each other in attracting the rich Louisiana planters and businessmen. Health resorts developed into famed “Watering Places” as grandiose hotels were built to accommodate and entertain the Cream of Southern Society.
Early on, trails had been cut through the forests and marsh lands, first for the mail run, and later as farm-to-market roads. At the crossings of bayous and rivers, ferry stations were constructed.
The first major rail lines were built following the Civil War. In October 1870, two trains met at Chef Menteur Pass, one from New Orleans – the other from Mobile, in celebrating the 139-mile east-west line predecessor to the L&N, now the CSX. In October 1883, the first train along the Northeastern line arrived at New Orleans from Meridian, Mississippi. By 1901, the second railroad line running north and south, the Gulf and Ship Island, was opened beginning from the new village of Gulfport to Hattiesburg and on to Jackson, Mississippi.
Throughout the book can be found photos of streets, ferries, early automobiles, sea-walls, train engines, depots, old hotels, and maps showing waterways, roadways, and railways. The development of trolleys and streetcars are graphically shown and described as each of the coastal cities and counties are unfolded through the 1800s, to the 1900s, and to the current period.
A special section is devoted to the significant problems, railroad operations, train wrecks and safety, track relocation, Federal and State proposals, the Amtrak system, and the future of High Speed Trains.