82 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Many workers from Stone County found employment especially in the Pascagoula yards throughout 1916 to 1918. Newspaper accounts abound relating that the Miles brothers from Wiggins and Big Level were home visiting on the weekends after working through the week in Pascagoula. R. W. Hatten and George Anderson also worked in the yards, but L. R. Bond of Big Level decided after three weeks of good wages that Stone County was for him and not the ship carpentry business. Other news snippets related that Ladd Hase and Edgar Bond regularly returned to Stone County visiting “homefolks” after working the week in Pascagoula. The International Shipbuilding Company had even built a fifty-room hotel in Pascagoula to house its workers during their weekly shifts. During World War II, people from Stone County were employed in the shipbuilding industry along the Mississippi Gulf coast, and they still are today. The increase in shipbuilding caused an explosion in the Pascagoula population. New housing projects abounded to provide amenities to the workers, and International Shipyard actually built houses for workers. Some of those homes still exist today in Pascagoula. In 1920, the population in that city was 6,082. One shipyard in Jackson County competed on a national level even in the Depression years. The F. B. Walker & Sons Boatyards, formerly the Gulf Ship Company, began constructing steel vessels for commercial purposes during the 1920s and 1930s. Ingall’s Iron Works of Birmingham, Alabama, purchased the company, which had a 160-acre tract on the bank of the East Pascagoula River with a deepwater channel. During World War II, many people from the surrounding counties traveled to Pascagoula to work at Ingalls. Women from the region entered the workforce and learned to weld and construct ships. From that beginning and after several name changes and technological advancements, Ingalls continues to provide the United States military with submarines and ships of all sizes and uses. It is internationally recognized for its craftsmanship and expertise in shipbuilding. The company employs 11,000 workers today. As an offshoot of the lumber and seafood business in the 1890s to 1940s, Biloxi also engaged in shipbuilding. Many Biloxians either worked in shipyards like the Westergard Boat Works during World War II or owned their own businesses, or both. The Covacevich family of J. D. “Jackie Jack,” Oral “Fatty Jack,” Anthony “Tony Jack,” and Neal “Neely” made names for themselves as master boatbuilders. The Fountain family also built many boats that plied the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Walter Fountain, Sr. was a master builder who constructed more than 100 schooners in his lifetime, using lumber from his own sawmill. After World War II, many boatbuilders concentrated on yachts, shrimp boats, and cat boats or small sailboats. Many builders like these and others such as the Manuel and Higginbotham families contributed to the reputation of Biloxi boatbuilders throughout the twentieth century. Today their skills are still appreciated, as many of the boats are still in use. The Biloxi Maritime and Seafood Museum annually holds the Wooden Boat Show to highlight the city’s boatbuilding past. The Hospitality Industry As early as 1896, Ramsey Springs Hotel in Stone County advertised its curative waters for those suffering from everything from stomach ulcers to blood and bowel diseases. In the early twentieth century, Dr. George McHenry and George Bustin purchased the property and developed it as a health resort. After it changed owners several times, by 1920 the new owner, Robert Miller, constructed a new thirty-five-room hotel near Red Creek, about twenty miles southeast of Wiggins. There were also cottages on the property that visitors could rent. Often people came for the day to partake of the Sunday dinners or just to picnic on the grounds. In the first half of the twentieth century, the resort thrived. In 1935, fourteen Civilian Conservation Corps members were assigned to work at Ramsey Springs, maintaining its grounds and keeping up the buildings. However, in 1961, the hotel was demolished because it had fallen into disrepair, as most tourists now visited the beaches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast with their modern hotels rather than this more rustic resort. Today the state of Mississippi owns fifty-seven acres of the original A.C. Ramsey property after the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain conveyed it to the state for conservation. The tourist trade that developed during the antebellum period of Mississippi Coast history also provided an economic engine to the three coastal counties throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Jackson County Private shipbuilding operations existed in Jackson County during the French colonial period in the 1700s, and once the harvesting of timber became so profitable along the coast and inland, shipbuilding businesses followed naturally.