Gulfport, Mississippi is the second largest city, second to the state’s capitol of Jackson. Now with nearly 70,000 people, Gulfport was founded by William Hardy, president of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad. The city was considered a boom town in 1898 with the construction of the railroad and deepening of the port. In 1902, the Port of Gulfport became a working seaport, now a world class maritime terminal and major economic driver.
Gulfport’s industrial seaway has a history of boat building. Trinity Yachts builds custom superyachts and is known as being among the world’s elite builders. Centrally located on the coast, is the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, just south of US Interstate 10, north of US Highway 90, and adjacent to US Highway 49. Gulfport is proud to be home to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet Seabees, the Navy’s construction battalions.
The Turkey Creek community is in North Gulfport at the lower end of the Turkey Creek Watershed. Established in 1866 by a group of emancipated African Americans, the historic residential area continues to work toward conserving the area’s heritage. The Phoenix Naval Store, once a part of the bustling timber industry, is the one of a few buildings that remain in the area from the time. Funds to restore the building are being sought since a feasibility study for restoration has been completed.
Gulfport has a mix of family entertainment, relaxing experiences, and exciting nightlife. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, 2016 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Services is a top destination for children. Also, fun for the kids, are the dolphin encounters at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, a research center dedicated to conservation, education, and research of marine mammals. Great shopping and dining opportunities exist throughout Gulfport. One locally owned casino resort and spa with many restaurants is on Gulfport’s western beachfront. Jones Park is at the very south end of Highway 49 and adjacent to the Port. This park and harbor facility is signature to the city, and is known as the “Front Yard for the State of Mississippi.” Here you’ll also find Ship Island Excursions which ferries passengers to the beautiful and historic Ship Island where Fort Massachusetts was built in 1859. Now part of the National Parks Service, the fort was once built for national defense.
Downtown Gulfport, like the rest of the MS Coast, has steadily built back since Hurricane Katrina. There are many historic buildings that remain, such as the Carnegie Library building which now houses an art gallery and the original post office that opened in 1910. A façade revitalization program refurbished 85 businesses in 2007, and has since spurred economic development and residential properties. Fishbone Alley, the beatification of a gloomy utility alley to a vibrant community gathering place, is one of the most recent additions to downtown.