The history that spills forth from Betty Hancock Shaw’s book, “Images of America: Gulfport,” is wonderfully fascinating.
Part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images in America” series the book has more than 127 pages of black-and-white photographs from Gulfport’s colorful history.
There are images of long-gone icons of the Coast such as the restaurant and private pier at Colonial Cottages from 1921, Falk’s Waffle House with the Barq’s Root Beer sign in front, Sea Isles Hotel Court, a billboard sign for Angelo’s Spaghetti, dignitaries and more.
In all 127 pages, Shaw divulges more history about Gulfport than many residents knew.
And that is just her intent.
“I want to help people understand that the way we live today (in Gulfport) didn’t just happen,” she said. “It evolved, and has a colorful history.”
Indeed, from the start of the first chapter Gulfport’s history is more than evident.
The book begins with photographs of downtown Gulfport, most of which are dated as far back as the early 1920s. Though few of the buildings in the older photographs are still around today, a surprising number of the images of old downtown Gulfport may be strikingly familiar.
A photo dating back to 1961 of the Triplett-Day drugstore on in downtown Gulfport, for example, looks nearly the same in Shaw’s book as it does today, but the book is not merely centered on the history of Gulfport’s old buildings.
Other events and structures are mentioned, such as the seawall, which at the time of its completion in 1926 was the largest concrete structure in the world.
Gulfport Field, which was a major installation during World War II, is also mentioned, as well as what tourism and entertainment used to be like.
Shaw said she hopes her book will help people gain an understanding about Gulfport, as well as a respect for its history and the people who helped pave the way for the town residents know today.
A collection of true visual treasures for anyone interested in the history of the Gulf Coast, “Gulfport,” $21.99, Arcadia Publishing, is available at local retailers and your favorite booksellers.