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Madame Boyle's: 1901

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, circa 1901. "Shoo-fly at Madame Boyle's." Another glimpse of nattily dressed tourists taking the air in this Southern resort. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, circa 1901. "Shoo-fly at Madame Boyle's." Another glimpse of nattily dressed tourists taking the air in this Southern resort. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Snowbirds on the Gulf Coast

I grew up in Pass Christian, across the bay from Bay St. Louis, as did my mother, who was 20 at the time of this photo, sewing dresses like these for the "snowbirds" who came down from Canada to spend the winter at the Mexican Gulf Hotel across the street from her family home.

I have pictures of some of them and also some of my mother and father in their "courting" clothes on the beach at P.C. I think that that photo is close to, or across the street from St. Stanislaus Hi School, which survived both Hurricanes. Many of the old homes on East Beach Scenic Drive in P.C. survived Katrina while the West Beach side was devastated.

Gone With the Wind

I hate to say it, but if this tree was still there after Camille, it was surely taken out by Katrina. Bay St. Louis was virtually wiped out. We went thru there four months afterward and it was simply a clean slate. Nothing was standing. I was always told the white paint was to keep bugs off the trees. We had a river house and we always had to put screening on all our trees to keep the beavers from chewing them to pieces.

What Caught My Eye

The year was 1901 and the majestic live oak must have been so old when the pic was taken. Live oaks grow very slowly. It lived a long life even before this picture was snapped...I'm awestruck.

If the rose thorns don't get you...

This looks to be somewhere along North Beach Boulevard, given the bridge in the background, and the Gulf beyond. There are still a few old houses along there.

The tree appears to be a live oak, Quercus virginiana -- we have two in our yard that look like descendants of this specimen.

With respect to the whitewash on trees and poles: growing up in the deep South, I was also given the explanation that a bit of whitewash might prevent an unfortunate collision in which I might be the injured party. Note the tips of the stakes for the roses.

Live Oaks Live On

Despite Camille, Katrina, and probably a half dozen more hurricanes that have hit the Bay St. Louis area since that photo was taken, that old live oak is probably still there and doing well. Everything else in the photo, well they are surely long gone.

The view today

The bridge is the Louisville & Nashville's line from Mobile to New Orleans.

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Too poor to paint, to proud to whitewash

In Northern states, the trunks of trees are whitewashed to help prevent winter sun scald. In the south, lime-wash was used for insect control. It was believed that it would keep catepillars from climbing and borers from boring. And besides, it's makes everything look so pretty!

Notable Individual

In photographs like this, I am as interested in the long gone tree specimens as I am in the human ones. Unfortunately I am left to guessing tree species most of the time. The one here is as notable as the people. Can anyone identify it -- or even better, its history?

[Looks like a live oak. Or maybe a water oak. - Dave]


So why are the tree trunks and utility poles painted white?

Odds and Ends

One thing I've noticed in my long time here at Shorpy is that amorous comments posted about women in these photographs outnumber those posted about men by at least 15 to 1. Overcome by the vapors? Aargh!


Little windy in this photo. I just love everything going on in here. The dog, the horse, that guy on the bike, those two little kids in the background (especially the grin on that one little guy). Not to mention the one legged ghost by the sailboats. Might I ask why it looks like they whitewashed the trees half way up? To better match the fence?

Young Will Rogers

That's gotta be him -- second from right sitting on the tree deck.

Pass the smellin' salts

One thing I've noticed in my short time here is how easily some are overcome by the vapors when confronted with manly specimens.

Interesting that they didn't bother to whitewash the inside of the picket fence.

That little kid was born 20 years too early, or he'd have been a star in the Our Gang shorts.

Well Hello

Does anyone have a time machine I can borrow? I'd like to spend some time with that lad at the bottom of the stairs with his leg thrown over the railing. *sigh*

Harry's or Madame Boyle's

This looks like the view from Harry's Villa - even the same rather ample cheery lady and her husky little boy. So does the place belong to Harry or Madame Boyle? Or does the platform below to Madame?

Love it any which way!

[It is the same place, obviously. And the lady is wearing the same dress in each photo. - Dave]

The other side of the fence

The two little boys pausing across the street to take a look at all the swells having their photo taken makes this a classic. (And do you think Mr. Fedora may be overly attached to that potted plant?)

All God's Children got hats....

I can count only the lady of the house and her son plus the dog and the horse who do not have their heads covered with a hat. The boy has bows on his shoes and a tuxedo- like jacket. These certainly were some formal looking summer clothes considering the sultry heat and humidity of the Mississippi coast. I really did feel like I was in the deep south when I summered there a few times enjoying evening cruises on old-time riverboats and I absolutely loved the people, its a whole different world. Nice photos, thanks Shorpy.

[I think it's probably winter or spring. Not much resort business down South in the summer. - Dave]

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