Preservation in May event kicks off at Cedar Lake Island

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - History came to life Thursday evening, as the City of Biloxi kicked off Preservation in May. Cedar Lake Island was the first stop.

The crowd listened attentively as young Tom talked about what it was like to live and work on Cedar Lake Island back in the early 1900s. The reenactment is just one way event organizers have chosen to tell the story of this island, which is so important to the rich cultural heritage of Biloxi.

"The timber industry was very much a part of this island. Logs came in from Stone County, so the first railroad in Harrison County came from Stone County to this island," said Judy Steckler, who is Executive Director of the Land Trust.

According to Elaine Legros, who is a historian of the island, it was more than a lumber mill. At one time, it was a thriving community called Vinny.

"My grandfather used to sharpen saw blades out here at the sawmill, and my grandmother was a cook and made biscuits every morning," said Rebecca Craig.

When Craig and her daughter heard they were giving tours of the island, she knew they had to check out the place that is so rich with her very own family's history.

"It's really cool. I mean I wanted to come before, but finding out that my family was actually out here. It made it even more interesting," said Craig.

Even for those with no direct family ties to the island's old community, there were plenty of experts, artifacts and documents to help visitors gain an understanding of what a major role Cedar Lake Island played in Biloxi's economy.

"We're preserving the history and can tell the story for generations to know about the timber industry, the railroad, the boating and the transport of the goods manufactured or milled in Mississippi," said Steckler.

Biloxi will host events at a different historical location each Thursday throughout the month of May.

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