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Harry's Villa: 1901

Mississippi circa 1901. "Harry's Villa, Bay St. Louis." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Mississippi circa 1901. "Harry's Villa, Bay St. Louis." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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No Peeking

Is that a modesty panel inside the railing around the Shoo-Fly? I should imagine that a glimpse of an ankle or (heaven forbid) a leg would be quite unseemly during this time period. Wouldn't want anyone at sidewalk level to see anything they shouldn't.

Note the Spanish Moss

Note the Spanish Moss hanging on the tree in the upper left of this photo; this is a good representative example for those of y'all not familiar with it.

Well before Katrina, Camille devastated this area in 1969. Until then, US Highway 90 between Pascagoula and Bay St Louis was one of the prettiest scenic drives in US, with old large houses, many antebellum, white fences, and large oaks with spanish moss on one side, and white sandy beaches on the other side.
Just a hop, skip, and jump along the coast east of Bay St Louis:


Another thing that I haven't seen commented on (yet) is that this family is probably very well off financially. The title itself loosely implies this is a home away from home. Also everyone has shoes on (odd for this time period for younger children). And that kid on the railing is quite plump. All these little things add up to... Harry's done well for himself.

It's just an observation... nothing else should be taken from it.

[This is most likely a boardinghouse for vacationers. - Dave]

Wonderful place

Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Gulport, Waveland - all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast a lot of these houses were owned by families from New Orleans who stayed there in the summer to escape the worst of the heat and humidity in the city - at least you had the breezes off the Gulf. My father's parents had a house in Gulfport on the beach, and Dad talked about how my grandmother, his sisters and he would go stay there in the summer. My grandfather would stay in New Orleans, and come out to Gulfport on the weekends, taking the train that used to run regularly from N.O. along the towns on the Gulf. This was back in the 1940's. People had been vacationing there since the 19th century.

When I was a kid in the 1970's my parents and I would sometimes stay on the weekends at a house in Bay St. Louis which was owned by cousins of very good family friends of ours, when it was loaned to them. The house had originally been built in the 1880's. It was a big Queen Anne house, originally a third of an even more enourmous house. During some earlier hurricane, the center of the house was heavily damaged, so the center was torn down, and two houses made out of the left and right portions. Considering the remaining houses were not THAT close to each other, and were both sizeable themselves, the original must have been truly gigantic. I remember 12'-14' ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, wallpaper that must have been from the 30's, no AC, huge screened porches with swings, thinking back on it now.

The house was sold 30 years ago, and completely renovated by the new owners-I passed by it about 10 years ago. It was destroyed in Katrina, as were all the places around it.

Amazing photo!

The house looks like a facsimile of the Jefferson Davis House - Beauvoir - over in Biloxi about 30 miles away. The seating area around the tree is called a "Shoo-Fly" - it was built up off the ground so that in the evening people could sit (and smooch?) above the ground and avoid the low flying mosquitoes, gnats, and flies that are fairly pervasive during the warm summer months.

"Buster Brown"

I expect Buster's name was either Beauregard or Leroy!

Carbide lamp

The bike "horn" that one person noted is a headlight powered by carbide pellets and water mixed to create a gas and then lit (like early mining lamps). Very cool photo that is now my desktop wallpaper. Love it!

Simply grand

I love this photo. How wonderful. I have never seen a picture of such a well dressed crowd looking so casual. If you could step back in time and just land here, it wouldn't be so bad to hang around for a day.

Takes my breath away.

This image is just plain fantastic. From the vintage bicycles to the fantastic clothing modeled by some easy going town folk. An instant in time captured that seems like so long ago, but looks like it was taken only yesterday.

That tree stand must be for watching the Fourth of July parade.

BTW, is that Buster Brown standing on the railing???

The good old days

I love the bicycles, especially the one leaning under the platform surrounding the beautiful tree. Check out the horn!

[As noted above, that's a headlamp. - Dave]

I'm just wild about Harry

and his villa, but can't find any info on it. Another copy of this picture is located on the Hancock County MSGenWeb site, but sans remarks. It is quite a nice little 19c Greek cottage, and I love the tree "house."

Hanging out

Everyone looks so front-and-center for their photo op, except for the fellow in the hammock, who couldn't be bothered.

Arboreal Temptation

I'm sure any of Harry's younger guests would have been tempted immediately by that tree. Good ole Harry even provided a platform to make it up to the first level. I wonder how many took on the challenge before the yelling and running around got started.

I Wonder

how many more years went by before that tree crushed Harry's Villa?

Shady Rest

"There's Uncle Joe, he's a movin' kinda slow, on the hammock."

A beautiful and lost time

Most of Bay St. Louis appears to have been swept away by Katrina. Almost all of the beachfront lots are still empty, with nothing but slabs, or front steps leading to houses that no longer exist.


Such an interesting shot. I love all the texture from the tree, roof, and dirt. The people are interesting too. Like the little boy on the railing and the zonked out guy in the hammock.

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