The grounds of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center include two historic cultural elements that have been recognized by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Specifically, the historic elements of interests include a remnant portion of the historic Pascagoula Street Railway & Power Company trolley line that connected Moss Point and Pascagoula at the turn of the 20th Century, and a 100-plus year old wood-frame building, locally known as the “Scout Hut”, originally constructed as a small “cabin” in or about 1905. In addition, we have secured the original octagonal “Ticket Booth” that served the trolley line rail system during its existence. The disassembled parts of this structure have been moved to the site and were reconstructed as an interpretive element for visitors to enjoy.
Our site still contains a remnant portion of the historic Pascagoula Street Railway & Power Company trolley line that connected Moss Point and Pascagoula at the turn of the 20th Century, including a 600-foot long footprint of the trolley line itself and portions of the bridge that supported the line over Rhodes Bayou. We have utilized this footprint in the form of our drive way leading into the site and the path that supplies access to our boat house, observation deck, and our bayou octagon pier.
Beginning in 1903, the system of electric-driven passenger cars, trailers and freight cars transported passengers, mail, and freight from the Dantzler Saw Mill located just west of this site to Pascagoula Beach Park across 9.7 miles of track. At that time, Moss Point was the center of the region’s timber processing industry with numerous saw mills and shipyards that built wooden sail and power boats that transported wood products across the globe. The trolley service ceased in about 1925.
The reconstructed trolley ticket booth is fitted with interpretive details about the trolley line’s history through historic photographs, maps, and descriptions of this period. The interpreted boat tour that operates from the Center will also highlight this history, including identification of locations along the route where sawmills, docks and shipyards once stood in the lower Escatawpa and Pascagoula Rivers The Moss Point Historic Commission and Jackson County have plans to continue to highlight this and other historic structures and places through a proposed historical map and tour.
Our center also includes a 100-plus year old wood-frame building, locally known as the “Scout Hut”. Originally constructed as a small “cabin” in or about 1905 on land owned by the Woods family, the structure was subsequently expanded to include a covered porch and a brick chimney. From the late 20’s until the mid-60’s the building was used as a meeting place for Moss Point’s Boy Scout Troop 220. As such, this structure holds memories for countless Scouts that met there over those years, including many of the 75 Eagle Scouts from one of the oldest Scout Troops in the state and nation (85 years of Scouting).
To celebrate the rich history of the Scout Hut we have restored it to functional use as a pavilion/meeting room. The original section of the structure rests on a concrete chain wall and poured slab. The porch section rests on centered block pillars. Hurricane Katrina flooded the structure and lifted it off of its foundation. With the help of past and present members of Troop 220, and other historically-minded individuals and groups, the restoration has been a success!
As with the Ticket Booth, the history of this structure will be interpreted through the use of displays that recall its use by the Boy Scouts as well as any details gleaned about its original use as one of the first structures built on this site, as determined through continued research. Audubon is currently in touch with surviving members of the Woods family that owned this property over approximately 100 years, including the later half of the 19th Century through the first half of the 20th Century.
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