Pass Christian had several smaller railroad station stops called East End and West End including one at Henderson Point. The station shown below was the Main Depot. The first photo in 1906, the second probably early 1920s.
Meeting the Train
by Arthur Grant
During the early 1930s, meeting the evening commuter train from New Orleans was a Pass ritual. There were two trains a day going to and from New Orleans and the Coast, two in the mornings and two in the evenings. The late train left New Orleans at 5:00 p.m. and arrived at the Pass at 7:00 p.m. This was the most popular train.
The Pass Christian Depot was a wooden building about sixty feet long by fifteen feet wide which stood immediately adjacent to a boarding platform that was packed with hard cinders stretching between Fleitas and Davis Avenues. Along side, was a dirt road connecting the two avenues. Adjacent, at the south of this dirt road, was a park with open space and a number of trees that presented an ambiance of peacefulness only interrupted by the occasional passing of a train.
Breaking the solitude of the moment would be the blowing of the whistle, the streaming of smoke, and the driving cylinders that emitted steam along the path of the platform. There was the excitement of the wheels clicking over each joint in the track as the steam driven train with hissing brakes, screeched to a halt before the passenger station.
The “commuter train” usually had five cars pulled by the engineer who would halt the engine sharply so that at the station there was one coach at its middle and two at each end. This left the last rail car sticking out the end of the station building on the Davis side. Waiting the train would be five or six automobiles at each end of the depot that would park along the boarding platform. Whiling the time of arrival, family members would either sit in their cars or alight to the platform to look down the track for the first glimpse of the train.
Upon the train’s arrival, those on the west side were treated to a sight that made their wait worthwhile. Just as the locomotive hit the point where Davis Avenue crossed the tracks a monumental foreign car, known as an Isota Franchini, would sweep down Davis, turn into the road to the station, and would run down to a point just behind the first group of parked cars, then it would stop in the middle of the road. The train by this time had slowed to a walk and hanging off the lowest boarding step of the last car, dressed in a white linen suit, cheerfully waving his straw “boater” to all and sundry, was Mr. Bluford Balter. Without waiting for the train to stop, he would spring from his perch, bound across the platform into the street, skirt the parked cars, and step up to the running board of the idling Isota to plant a resounding kiss on Mrs. Balter. Then, he would slide into the driver’s seat, and with a sharp toot of the Isota’s unique horn, he would drive off.
Mesmerized by this tableau, the other arriving passengers and their waiting family and friends, stood transfixed until the Isota whizzed off. Then they would slowly wend their way to their own parked cars, as the show was over for the day.
! John Parker Jr. was the president of a local stock group that was called the Club on Wheels which bought a private club car which they named "Beauvoir". A contract was made with the Railroad company to hitch the car behind the daily train run. The stock holders also built a shed at the L&N tracks to house it during the winter. It ran from April until October being picked up by the daily train each morning at 7:10 and was separated each evening at 5:10 pm.
! When automobiles appeared in the Pass they were brought in by rail because there were no roads between the Coast and New Orleans. The first roads for autos went from the Coast through Baton Rouge to get to New Orleans. Roads to New Orleans weren't built until ferry boats were established across the Bay, the Rigolets, the Chef Menteur, and other rivers such as the Pearl.