Locals see the Pheonix Naval Store as an endangered site with a wealth of historical value. Located in Gulfport's Turkey Creek community, this industrial site that derived products from pine sap, was once an essential part of the timber industry in South Mississippi. The plant thrived until a fatal explosion in the 1940s killed 11 men. At this time the plant closed and never reopened. After naval store production at the site ceased, the office was converted into a residential building. This structure had been vacant for 20 years and was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
The Pheonix Naval Store Office is one of the last vestiges of a thriving timber industry on the coast which employed many African Americans. Local community leadership has been actively seeking funding to restore the building. In 2015, the site was listed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi.
On March 12, 2018, the National Park Service announced that The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain was awarded an African American Civil Rights Grants to restore the Phoenix Naval Stores Office as a community center for the Gulfport’s Turkey Creek community.
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