OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center is offering the public a chance to dive into some coast history. It's a history full of big names, luxury, and the staying power of change.
The story of the Gulf Hills Resort and Golf Club in Ocean Springs is one of reinvention, and it's all on display at the Mary C. Donna Brown said there's a rich history to uphold.
"They uncovered and did a remarkable job putting it together. When I first walked in, I was blown away at some of the pictures that I had never seen," said Brown.
The resort opened in 1927, long before Brown began her role as general manager 16 years ago.
"Of course, when they opened it, it was a very upscale place. It was made particularly for the wealthy people who came down to spend their winters," said Dr. Pat Pinson, curator of the museum.
Times changed, and the resort changed with them. In the 1950s, it became a dude ranch, hosting rodeos and horseback rides for guests. Now, it's all just a memory for Joe Haydock, who spent several years working the ranch.
"Coming out here was like coming out to an adventure every day. We chased them young girls around, and they even used to have square dancing up there, and we'd have to go up and dance with the guests," said Haydock.
Eventually, that era ended as well, leaving the property to focus on its golf club and resort. But, the past still haunts Gulf Hills.
"Not a day goes by that somebody doesn't stop in, or call us, and say, 'Did this used to be the dude ranch,' and we'll go, yes. We know what's coming next," said Brown.
What usually comes next is Elvis. Stories, pictures, and fond memories of The King calling the resort his home away from home. That just scratches the surface of what makes Gulf Hills what it is today.
"It is such an important part of Ocean Springs," said Pinson.
As the resort's story continues, its past, like a freshly opened time capsule, is now displayed for all to see. The museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.