Crescent Hotel

The Crescent Hotel
     In1895, Charles Dyer described the famous Crescent Hotel of Pass Christian as being celebrated all over the country.  “It was formerly called, the Live Oak House which was its name in prior years.  This hotel is owned and managed by Mr. William Hart, a young gentleman who took charge after coming to Pass Christian in 1888.  Mr. Hart embarked in the hotel business and bringing youth, energy, enterprise and great managerial ability in the venture, he has been successful from the start.  Mr. Hart showed the members of our party over the premises, which is built on the style of the southern home of anti-bellum times.”
     “The Crescent Hotel is situated at the west end of the Pass, but a few minutes walk from the railroad station and consists of two good sized houses, and several smaller outbuildings.  The larger house (at left) was built in 1880, and taken together (the two buildings), the Crescent can accommodate about 50 guests.  This estate has a frontage directly on the beach of two hundred feet and runs to the rear for a distance of one-and-a-half miles so that there is plenty of room for the guests of the house to stroll about without once leaving the grounds.  In front are the wharves and bath houses for the convenience of the guests and lovers of fishing may enjoy themselves without the trouble of going out in a boat.”

   The building at left in the above-photo, today, operates as a Bed & Breakfast -- being the only remaining extant hotel complex in Pass Christian.
The Harbour Inn.
     The large, two-and-a-half-story, frame, gable-roofed, coastal cottage  underwent a number of owners.  Following Hurricane Camille, the facility was temporary quarters for the Pass Christian Yacht Club.
     Since 1991, much of the early traditions are carried forth by its owners, Diane and Tony Brugger, who made extensive restorations in 1998.


     The South, Mississippi, the Gulf Coast, and Pass Christian were still in the throes of the Reconstruction Period as imposed by the Federal victors.  It was two years later, in 1872, that the New Orleans – Mobile Railroad (now the L&N) was completed.  This opened to the Coast comparatively inexpensive passenger service that extended an invitation to northern tourists to visit the remnants of a Dixieland under Reconstruction, or as Thaddeus Stevens referred to the South in 1865, the “conquered provinces.”
     When “Carpet Bagger” rule ended and economic conditions were getting better, in January 1875, Patrick Curtis sold the hotel property to William Hart of New Orleans.  (A prior William Hart, possibly Sr., had been procuring property in the Pass since 1858.  Documents in 1891, show the “Estate of William. Hart” as owners of the Hotel Property --- indicating his death).  
     In “Along the Gulf,” Charles Dyer in 1895, describes William Hart as “a young gentleman who took charge of the (Crescent) house in 1888.  Therefore, until further research reveals more, it may be assumed that this young Hart is the son of the original owner.
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From Charles Dyer's, Along the Gulf, 1895 ---

     The next place visited was the famous Crescent Hotel which is known and celebrated all over the country, it was formerly called, the Live Oak House which was its name years ago.  This hotel is owned and managed by Mr. William Hart, a young gentleman who took charge of the house in 1888.  Previous to this time Mr. Hart, who by the way is a New Orleans boy, had been engaged with the Hibernia Insurance Co., for several years and previous to that he was with Adam Thompson & Co., in the sugar business.  Coming to Pass Christian in 1888, Mr. Hart embarked in the hotel business and bringing youth, energy, enterprise and great managerial ability in the venture he has been successful form the start.  Mr. Hart showed the members of our party over the premises, which is built on the style of the southern home of anti-bellum times.  The Crescent Hotel is situated at the west end of the Pass but a few minutes walk from the station and consists of two good sized houses, and several smaller outbuildings.  The larger house was built in 1880, and taken altogether the Crescent can accommodate about 50 guests.  This estate has a frontage directly on the beach of two hundred feet and runs back for a distance of one and a half miles so that there is plenty of room for the guests of the house to stroll about without once leaving the grounds.  In front are the wharfs and bath houses for the convenience of the guests and lovers of fishing may enjoy themselves without the trouble of going out in a boast.  In the rear is a large farm, acres and acres of sweet scented forest in which those inclined to quiet and solitude may revel to their hearts content, while those of a more jolly and social disposition may enjoy the games on the lawns in front of the house or participate in the dancing or singing which are indulged in almost nightly at this pretty place.  Perhaps no higher compliment could be paid the table of the Crescent than to state that everything used in the shape of poultry, eggs, butter, milk, vegetables, fruit, etc., is raised on the farm in the rear of the estate which is run in connection with the hotel.  At this house the prices are moderate and special attention and prices are given to families or parties intend to stay the entire season.

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