THE COAST 87 THE COAST 87 much of that industry is situated in Ocean Springs. Prior to the Civil War, in the 1830s, Henrietta Porter established the Ocean Springs Hotel, which set the tone of the city’s development as a tourist center. At that time the city was called Lynchburg. With rail service in 1870, people from New Orleans and Chicago traveled to this quaint city in greater numbers. F. W. Illing built the Illing House in the early 1870s, and later investors built the Old French House. Washington Avenue was the hotel strip of Ocean Springs as well as the beachfront. With its supposed curative waters at the Marble Springs, the city was a destination throughout the late nineteenth century. Its orchards— particularly pecan and citrus—seaside breezes, and seafood all contributed to the tourist commerce. The city incorporated on September 9, 1892, with a population of 1,500, and became Ocean Springs. With the development of the Gulf Hills Resort by Chicago investors in 1926, Ocean Springs became even more popular for people to visit. Later in the 1950s, visitors such as Elvis Presley came to Gulf Hills. Today, the resort has recovered after Hurricane Katrina and reopened the golf course and a hotel. Capitalizing on the new “Million Dollar Highway” to Mobile, travelers could travel more easily once new Highway 90 was completed, especially after the War Memorial Bridge opened across Biloxi Bay in 1930. The Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge today is a superhighway constructed after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the twentieth- century structure. Ocean Springs continues to attract tourists with its numerous festivals such as the Peter Anderson Festival and its d’Iberville Landing event held every April. The Gulf Islands National Seashore with the National Park Service, established in 1971, offers many outdoor attractions while maintaining the unique environment of the area. The town has become an artist colony that highlights its history. Today, the population of Ocean Springs is 17,493, with 100 percent claiming urban status. The population has increased only 1.6 percent since 2000. The mean family income is $55,884, with manufacturing accounting for 19 percent of all jobs, accommodations/food service employing 13 percent of the people there, and health care 10 percent. With the end of World War II in 1945, Hancock County embarked on a building boom. By the early 1950s, tourism was once again attracting people to the county, with GULF COAST SHIPYARD GROUP Founded in Gulfport in 2008, the Gulf Coast Shipyard Group is a leading manufacturer of aluminum and steel commercial offshore vessels, inland and offshore barges, and oil spill, field support, and patrol vessels. The Gulf Coast Shipyard Group has the capacity to build vessels up to 330 feet in length, with a shiplift launch system of 4,575 long-tons. The shipyard is also capable of side launching on a rocker beam system for vessels with a greater beam of sixty-four feet. For smaller vessels, the shipyard utilizes a 500- ton ascom lift. Gulf Coast Shipyard also has a full fabrication shop with panel line, press brake, and plasma cutter, allowing the company to produce a variety of quality ships. Recently, Gulf Coast Shipyard expanded to open an additional location in New Orleans, Louisiana. As of June 25, 2015, Gulf Coast Shipyard Group, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Harvey Shipyard Group. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GULF COAST SHIPYARD