RIDING THE RAILS: ROADS OF OPPORTUNITY

The railroad was the lifeblood of Ocean Springs from the late 19th to the mid 20th century.  Since the city is surrounded by water and previously reached primarily by steamboat, the railroad reached Ocean Springs in the 1870s opening an era of some 80 years that saw unprecedented growth, most of that with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

Coast excursion trains began coming from New Orleans specifically to the resort town of Ocean Springs in June of 1880. These commuter trains sometimes made several trips daily well into the 20th century taking people to work, to school, shopping, or to carry tourists who were seeking cool breezes and restorative waters. The trains also took wool, citrus trees, and thin shelled pecans to the northeast, as well as oysters and shellfish after refrigeration came about.  During WWII, as many as 50 trains came through a day moving troops and supplies.  The sleek L&N Humming Bird was the exceptionally fine passenger train that closed out the era in 1964.