Long Beach Celebrates Centennial

What do radishes, old oak trees and chimneys have in common?

The answer lies in one coast city that's celebrating its centennial this year.

Long Beach is a growing community that's known for its quality schools and small town charm.

As for the radishes, chimneys and oaks, each represents something significant in the city's history.

"Bear Point" was the first name for present-day Long Beach. A marker on the USM Gulf Coast campus shares the story of the earliest settlement.

An aging chimney is another reminder of city history. Early settlers, Nicholas and Marianne Ladner, built a log house with tall chimneys. Fire destroyed the home, but "the chimneys" remained, creating a new name for the community.

The mayor is thankful for those pioneers.

"The many people that took a chance on the area, because there was nothing here. It was going to be an agricultural situation or seafood. And they took a chance on our area and settled it and worked hard to develop it," said Mayor Billy Skellie.

Farming took off in those early years, with one vegetable getting the most attention. When Long Beach was known as "Rosalie", radishes ruled.

"It was one of the main reasons that it grew. Even some of my family came here to farm radishes and purchase property and go into that business," said Mayor Skellie.

Something else boosted growth in those early days.

"Putting the railroad through in 1870 allowed visitors from New Orleans to come over. There were numerous hotels and boarding houses in Long Beach at that time," said centennial chairman, Jerry Rouse.

Long Beach today is known for its picturesque, small town charm. Oak trees abound. In fact, the 500 plus year old "Friendship Oak" is a city landmark and tourist attraction.

But it's the people who care about this community the mayor credits with making Long Beach such a desirable place to settle down.

"I think it's because it's a small town and so many of us know each other," said Mayor Skellie.

The official birthday for Long Beach is Wednesday, August 10th. But the city has been celebrating all year with various special events.