Pass Christian celebrates the city's rich history

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - By Steve Phillips – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - They're celebrating the holidays and history in Pass Christian. Friday evening marks the 25th annual "Christmas in the Pass" event.  Everyone is invited downtown for a little shopping, visiting and entertainment.

An added bonus this year is the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Pass Christian Historical Society.

"It's a 6,000 square foot headquarters building here in Pass Christian on East Scenic Drive overlooking the beach," said Historical Society President Tom Shellnut. "And we have an awful lot of very excited people who are getting it ready for a ribbon cutting tonight at six o'clock."

Members of the historical society spent Friday afternoon preparing for the ribbon cutting and open house.

"That's where you're sitting at right now, was right here on that corner," said Mayor Chipper McDermott, pointing to an old photograph.

The mayor delivered a stack of black and white photographs that highlight the rich history of the seaside town, known for its seafood, sailing, antebellum homes and down to earth residents.

The historical society is asking the community to donate old pictures and other pieces of history.

"We're making an appeal to the people in the community and members also to bring in those historical kinds of artifacts: letters, deeds, bills of sale that they've been keeping and they don't know why they're keeping them," said Shellnut.

Did you know Pass Christian is the birthplace of yachting in the South? Sailing enthusiasts from New Orleans started the "Southern Yacht Club" there, the forerunner to the Pass Christian Yacht Club.

Though hurricanes Camille and Katrina tore this town apart, the storms also helped mold the character of its people.

"It pulled everyone together. It's horrible to say the hurricanes did that, but they did. It pulled people together; neighbor helping neighbor. And it was just a very unique experience," said Joanna Diboll, with the historical society.

The new facility is a place to learn about the history of "The Pass" and celebrate its people.

"I think it's beautiful.  I think it is without a doubt the most beautiful building in the Pass," said Diboll.

The new building is beautiful and strong. It's built to stringent standards; designed to withstand hurricane force winds and water.

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