Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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The Pines Hotel Property (1915 - 2002)

 

 

LOCATION

The Pines Hotel was located at No. 25 Washington Avenue on the southwest corner of Washington and Ocean Avenues.  The structure was situated on Lots 1, 2, and 3 of the Pace Survey of 1906.  The Pace Survey is named for Emma Bullen Pace who resided on Prytania Street in New Orleans and owned other properties at Ocean Springs. The home of Charles V. and Margaret Menendes at 219 Washington Avenue lies here today.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 1, p. 20) 

The hotel lot was well covered with tall pine trees as demonstrated by photographs of the building.  These stately conifers were probably responsible for the appellation, Pines Hotel.

 

 

Pines Hotel (L-R; first two images pre-May 1921; third image after addition)

 

BUILDING

The Pines Hotel was a two-story, wood frame building of 4200 square feet.  In May 1921, a new wing was commenced on the north side of the building, which was 20 x 30 feet and two stories tall.  The first floor of the addition was used as the dining room, and was fitted with the most contemporary electric fixtures and appliances.  The upper floor accommodated guests and provided them with adequate bath and toilet facilities.  A large gallery graced the front of the building.(The Jackson County Times, May 14, 1921, p. 3)

The completed Pines Hotel contained eighteen bedrooms, six baths, two kitchens, a dining, living, and other rooms.  It had the distinction of being the last hotel built at Ocean Springs.

        

Ernest A. Morris

[Courtesy of Patricia Maxwell Letort]

 

HISTORY

When Ernest Alfred Morris (1860-1946) purchased Lots 1 thru 3 from Mrs. Emma Bullen  Pace (1851-1936) for $1000 on August 7, 1915, the Pines Hotel commenced as a commercial enterprise.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 41, p. 540) 

The Morris Family had moved to Ocean Springs from Chicago in1910 where Mr. Morris was in the candy manufacturing business.  He was a native of England, the son of Thomas Morris and Elizabeth Baker, having emigrated from that country in 1872.  Morris probably settled at Chicago where he met and married his wife Chicago native, Lydia E. Meyers (1872-1933), the daughter of Leo Meyers.  Two children were born in Illinois: Myrtle Morris Maxwell (1893-1970) and Robert E. Morris (1902-1970).  In June 1919, Myrtle, called Nellie, married Karl C. Maxwell (1893-1958) of Ocean Springs, the stepson of Albert C. Gottsche (1873-1949) and Cynthia Davis Maxwell (1869-1951).  Mr. Gottsche operated a well-known grocery store on Washington Avenue.

             Ernest Morris acquired a home in Ocean Springs on Washington Avenue in late 1910, from Ellen Fox, who was divorced from Michael Gallagher. The home, which was located in Lot 5 of Block 5 (Culmseig Map of 1854), was adjacent to a very old cottage that had once belonged to the Wing and Tebo families from New Orleans.  It was also once called the Bartlett Place, from the original owner, Louisa Burling Bartlett (1823-1889), an affluent New Orleans lady, who was instrumental in organizing the Presbyterian Church at Ocean Springs.  The Pines Hotel was located across the street and to the north from the Morris home.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 38, pp. 190-191 and The Ocean Springs News, December 3, 1910)

 After the home purchase, Mr. Morris left for Chicago to make arrangement for having the family furniture and personal effects shipped to Ocean Springs.  As Morris intended to make his relocation to Ocean Springs permanent, he planned to improve the Gallagher house to first class status.  The Gallagher and Bartlett places were destroyed in a large conflagration in late February 1924.  Local realtor, F.E. Lee (1874-1932) owned the Bartlett cottage at this time.(The Ocean Springs News, December 3, 1910 and The Daily Herald, February 29, 1924, p. 3)

 The Pines Hotel was built to accommodate seasonal tourist and itinerant workers.  During the short history of the Pines Hotel, Ocean Springs was a citrus and garden center.  Horticulturist and orchard men such as, Charles E. Pabst (1843-1925), H.D. Money (1869-1936), Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931), E.W. Halstead Sr.(1876-1933), and C.S. Bell (1843-1925), among others were actively engaged in commercial agriculture.  As government inspectors were sent to survey the citrus groves and nurseries in the immediate area, they required a comfortable place to stay.  The Pines Hotel afforded this ambience. Ernest A. Morris probably opened the Pines Hotel for business in October 1915.  He hadThe Ocean Springs News office prepare and print an attractive brochure describing Ocean Springs and his new hotel at this time.  Thomas Ewing Dabney (1885-1970) was editor of the journal.

At Thanksgiving 1915, E.A. Morris ran the following advertisement in The Ocean Springs News:

 

YOU WILL APPRECIATE

The beauties of the Southland doubly if you stay at THE PINES HOTEL.  Situated on a lofty hill overlooking the Bay, the tang of the sea air and the health giving odor of the pines, sweep across its spacious veranda and through its commodious rooms alternately.  It is a new building, having just been built, is newly furnished from top to bottom.  It is screened, double floored, steam heated, and fitted with hot and cold water in each room.  There are commodious baths on each floor.  Special attention will be centered on the cuisine.  All the delicacies of the sea and country can offer constitute the menu:  Oysters, chickens, fresh milk and butter, sheephead, flounders, etc.  A special effort will be made to have everything as much like home as possible.  The water supply is from an artesian well.

 

On August 30, 1920, the Morris family sold their Pines Hotel to Albert Levy.  They relocated to the Pace Cottage on Washington Avenue for the winter season.  The Morrises returned to Chicago for a brief time, but returned to Ocean Springs and rented the Arndt Cottage at 822 Porter.  Mr. Morris went to work for Albert Gottsche as a clerk while Robert Morris who had gone to Buffalo, New York in June 1920 to work for Curtiss Aircraft joined him, and worked in the market at the Gottsche Store.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 48, p. 479 and The Jackson County Times, June 12, 1920, p. 5 and September 4, 1920, p. 3)

Robert E. Morris and George E. Arndt II (1909-1994) formed an electrical contracting firm at Ocean Springs in July 1926.  Armed with their pragmatic and school experience in the electrical field, they planned to do electrical wiring, installation, and repair.  Their company was called the Electrical Construction Company and all work was performed within the regulations and requirements of insurance underwriters.  Bob Morris was a resident of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin in March 1954.(The Jackson County Times, July 31, 1926 and August 7, 1926)

E.A. Morris expired at Ocean Springs on May 22, 1946.  He had been a charter member of the Dearborn Masonic Lodge of Chicago and a Mason for sixty-four years. Morris was a member of the Tourist Club, an election official, and enjoyed fishing the local waters.(The Jackson County Times, may 25, 1946, p. 1)

Mrs. Lydia M. Morris had expired in July 1933.  She had been a member of Eastern Star Ada Chapter No. 49, which conducted her funeral rites at the Morris home and as she was passed through St. John’s Episcopal Church.  Both Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Morris were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, July 26, 1933, p. 8)

 

Albert Levy

Albert Levy, the new proprietor of the Pines Hotel, was from New Orleans and had business interests at Meridian where he also resided.  He operated the Pines with his father, Victor Levy, who lived in the Washington Avenue hostelry with his wife, Pauline Rosenthal Levy (1853-1935).  Pauline R. Levy was born in Paris, the daughter of Samuel “Gates” Rosenthal.  Gates Rosenthal had played in the 1883 World Chess Championship at London finishing eighth in a fiele of fourteen contestants.  Pauline had come to the United States in about 1875.    In addition to Albert, the Victor Levy children were: Wolfe Levy (1893-1973), Alexander Levy, Leon Levy (1895-1976), Josephine L. Green, and Bertha L. Block (1897-1990).(The Daily Herald, February 28, 1935, p. 2 and www.mark-weeks.com/chess/y3lon-ix.htm)

It was under the Levy’s excellent management that in May 1921, the Pines Hotel was enlarged with a two-story 1200 square-foot addition.  The new dining room occupied the lower floor while guests rooms and bathes were upstairs.(The Jackson County Times,Mmay 14, 1921, p. 3)

 Bertha Levy (1897-1990), their daughter, was married at the Pines Hotel in January 1923.  Rabbi Silva of New Orleans performed the ceremony uniting her with Dr. Leon Block (1892-1974), a promising physician, of Denver, Colorado.(The Jackson County Times, January 13, 1923, p. 5)

  Albert Levy owned the hotel for about five years conveying it to Frank J. Raymond (1883-1952) in May 1925.   Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Lee were resident managers of the Pines Hotel for Levy in 1923-1924. They retired from this position in August 1924 and relocated to a cottage on Jackson Avenue, formerly owned by Henry Norris.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, pp. 225-226 and The Jackson County Times, August 16, 1924, p. 5)

 

Frank J. Raymond

Frank Joseph Raymond was married to Marguerite Delphine Lewis (1890-1961), the daughter of Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933) and Julia Johnson Lewis (1861-1933), the builders of the Artesian House on the southwest corner of Jackson Avenue and Porter.  The Raymond nuptials occurred on October 18, 1911.  Their children, Mary Julia R. Genre (1913-1999) and Alfred A. Raymond (1914-1975), were born at Biloxi, Mississippi.  Mary Julia married Arthur S. “Tee” Genre and resided most of her life in Port Allen, Louisiana.  She was a 1935 graduate of Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing at Baton Rouge.  Alfred A. Raymond worked for the U.S. Treasury Department at Mobile.  He retired to Biloxi and expired there in June 1975.(The Ocean Springs News, October 14, 1911, p. 5 and The Baton Rouge Advocate, February 9, 1999 and The Daily Herald, June 15, 1975, p. A-2)

Frank J. Raymond was the assistant Postmaster at Biloxi from 1909-1924, and cashier for the W.V. Joyce Company from 1924-1928.  In fact, the newly founded, W.V. Joyce Company of Biloxi held their second annual banquet at the Pines Hotel in January 1927, with Frank Raymond serving as toastmaster.  In April 1928, Mr. Raymond became President of the newly organized People Laundry at Biloxi.  This position allowed him to spend more time at Ocean Springs.(The Jackson County Times, January 15, 1927, p. 3 and April 14, 1928, p. 3)

In March 1924, Governor Austin Peay and his son of Tennessee were entertained by the staff of the Pines Hotel.  They went fishing in Biloxi Bay and surrounding bayous.  The Jackson County Times reported that "the governor has been having good luck and some of the catches rival the best made here in recent months".  At the same time, Dr. J.D. Blanton, president of Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, was a guest at the Pines.  Later in the month, Governor Peay and entourage were entertained with a luncheon at the Gulf Hills Country Club with Mr. and Mrs. Walter Branigar hosting. (The Jackson County Times, March 9, 1924, p. 5 and March 20, 1926, p. 3)

Apparently the economy in the pre-Depression days at Biloxi and Ocean Springs was poor, as Frank Raymond had gone to Houma, Louisiana to work in an oyster packing plant a few months before he sold the Pines Hotel to Mrs. Victor Levy of Biloxi in April 1929.  Mrs. Levy had held a substantial mortgage on the hotel property since April 1928.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, pp. 437-438 and Deed of Trust Bk. 13, p. 83)

 The Pines Hotel was temporarily closed after the sale and it was placed in the care of Charles B. Morrison (1868-1938) of Biloxi. Mr. Morrison was familiar with Ocean Springs as he had come here in early September 1911, from Flora, Illinois and operated a variety store on Washington Avenue.  C.B. Morrison later lived with an elderly relative, Amanda Chick Shaffer (1841-1923), the widow of William Lafayette Shaffer (1834-1887), the proprietor of Cedar Grove Plantation near Chacahoula, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.  Mrs. Shaffer owned White House Hill at present day 214 Washington Avenue, which was situated opposite the Pines Hotel.(The Jackson County Times, June 8, 1929, p. 1 and The Ocean Springs News, December 23, 1911)

In March 1927, William Jones possibly a guest at the Pines Hotel published a poem evoking memories of the Washington Avenue hostelry.  It read as follows:

 

The Old Hotel I Love So Well

Sweet memories like clinging vines

Enfolds me here at The Pines

The while I cogitate a song

They bring me treasures all day long

From out their storehouse, old and new

And tell me where each flour grew

 

Then each one in their eagerness

Would add some to my happiness

One tells me that a faithful friend

Is like yon rose's richer blend

And whispers of a pearly tear

That harkens back to yester-year

 

Thus while embraced with slumberings

Among the pines at Ocean Springs

Sprite fairies come from flowering June

To whisper of a silvery moon

Who would reveal a path he's made

Of mysteries and magic shade

 

Upon the ocean's broad expanse

A floor for dimpled waves to dance

Till paling beams ride o'er the crest

Of morning's beaming loveliness

And dawn with loads of gladness brings

The smiling day at Ocean Springs.

(The Jackson County TimesMarch 12, 1927)

 

During 1931, it appears that Mrs. Levy leased the Pines Hotel to Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Bottenfield of Chicago, probably.

 

Spring flames

Like so many of Ocean Spring's historic structures, the Pines Hotel burned to the ground.  A fire of unknown origin started late in the evening of May 5, 1932 and was discovered shortly after 2 a.m. on May 6th.  The loss was estimated at approximately $20,000.  The structure was never rebuilt.(The Daily Herald, May 6, 1932, p. 1)

 

Post-fire

            With the poor economic climate created by the Depression, Pauline R. Levy ceased paying the real estate taxes on her vacant Washington Avenue lots.  In April 1933, she lost her Pines Hotel property to the State of Mississippi in a tax sale for $65.75.  At this time, she was residing at Biloxi on 819 East Howard Avenue.  Mrs. Levy expired at Biloxi on February 28, 1935.  Her remains were sent to the Orthodox Cemetery at New Orleans for burial.  Her son, Leon Levy and spouse, Rebecca Levy (1900-1978), lived at Biloxi on Seal Avenue for most of their lives.(The Daily Herald, February 28, 1935, p. 2)

In July 1939, Guy McCullen, Land Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, issued a forfeited tax sale land patent, No. 37,593, to William G. Slay II on Lots 1, 2 and 3 of the Pace Survey, for $150.  Mr. Slay’s patent was confirmed by Chancellor Dan M. Russell in December 1940.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 73, pp 604-605 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 6253)

William Gray Slay II (1911-1951) resided at Biloxi, Mississippi where he was a mail carrier in the U.S. postal system.  Mr. Slay was the son of W.G. Slay and Willie Rafield.  He was married to Marguerite Lowd Slay and their son, William Gray Slay III, is today a successful realtor who resides and maintains offices in Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 73, pp. 604-605 and The Daily Herald, October 15, 1951, p. 10)

In May 1941, the Heirs of Mrs. Victor Levy conveyed to Albert S. Johnson II, Lots 1 and 2 of the Pace Survey for $300.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 77, pp. 131-133)

            In June 1941, W.G. Slay II of Biloxi to Albert S. Johnson II for $400 Lots 1 and 2 of the Pace Survey.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 77, p. 639)

            In August 1945, Albert S. Johnson II to Stella G. Joachim for $1200.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, pp 12-13).

            Mr. Johnson sold Lot 3 of the Pace survey to Lee E. Jordan in February 1945.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 88, pp. 391-392)

            After the conflagration, the lots lie undeveloped for about fifteen years.  In May 1947, Stella G. Joachim conveyed them to Frank “Kiddo” E. Galle II (1900-1986) for $1710.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, p. 8)

     

The Galle-Menendes House

The Galle-Menendes is located a present day 219 Washington Avenue on Lot 1 and 2 of the Pace Survey of 1906.  The lots measured 100 feet by 200 feet. (JXCO, Ms. Plat Bk. 1, p. 20)

In October 1950, Frank Galle was completing the home.  It was described as: Frank and Gussie Galle are building one of the swankiest ones yet on their lot on Washington Avenue.  Brick floors throughout the house, a dream of a fireplace in the living room that will also open in the kitchen.  Frank made his own plans for his home…and it is really something.(The Gulf Coast Times, October 13, 1950, p. 7)

 

REFERENCES:

 

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi“Walter and Cleo Gulley”, (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989)

 

Mississippi Department of Archives and History, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form,“Old Ocean Springs Historic District”, Item 7, 1979.

 

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula-1972), p. 79.

 

Chancery Court Causes

Cause No. 6253, “W.G. Slay Jr. v. Albert Levy, et al”-May 1940.

Cause No. 10646, “Frank Galle v. Mrs. Theone Galle”-February 1949.

 

Journals

The Baton Rouge Advocate, “Mary Raymond Genre”, February 9, 1999.

The Daily Herald, “Burned Residence Was Old Landmark”, February 29, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Pines Hotels Burns”May 6, 1932.

The Daily Herald, “Morris Funeral”, July 26, 1933.

The Daily Herald, Mrs. Victor Levy Dies”, February 28, 1935.

The Daily Herald, “W.G. Slay Jr. Dies After Long Illness”, October 15, 1951.

The Daily Herald“Watson Wood Is Named To Biloxi Hospital Board”, October 7, 1957, p. 9.

The Daily Herald“E. Watson Wood”, September 27, 1972.

The Daily Herald, “Alfred A. Raymond”, June 15, 1975.

The Gulf Coast Times“Cottages Being Built”, October 13, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times“Chicago Residents Purchase Property”, November 3, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Personal Items”, November 24, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times“The Good Old Summer Time Is Here But For How Long Is Not The Story”, March 15, 1951.

The Gulf Coast Times“Merry Makers”, March 3, 1954.

The Jackson County Times, June 1, 1916, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times, September 9, 1916, p. 5.

The Jackson County Times"Local News Items", June 12, 1920.

The Jackson County Times"Local News Items", September 4, 1920.

The Jackson County Times"Local News Items", October 2, 1920.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", May 14, 1921.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", January 13, 1923.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", March 9, 1924.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, August 16, 1924.

The Jackson County Times, “To Our Hostess At The Pines”, March 20, 1926.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, July 31, 1926.

The Jackson County Times, “Electrical Construction Company”, August 7, 1926.

The Jackson County Times"Employees of Biloxi Store Enjoy Banquet at The Pines Hotel", January 15, 1927, p. 3, c. 1.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, March 12, 1927.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, March 20, 1926.

The Jackson County Times"Frank Raymond President of New Laundry Company", April 14, 1928, p. 3.

The Jackson County Times, “The Pines Hotel In hands Of Former Owner”, June 8, 1929.

The Jackson County Times, June 8, 1929, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times, “E.A. Morris Dies”, May 25, 1946.

The Mississippi Press, “Gulley files for bankruptcy”, September 15, 2000.

The Mississippi Press, “Appeal Denied; Gulley jailed”, January 10, 2001.

The Ocean Springs News, “Local News”, December 3, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News, “Local News”, October 14, 1911.

The Ocean Springs News, “The Pines Hotel”, Thanksgiving 1915.

The Ocean Springs News“Heart Fund Drive Opens Today; Watson Wood Heading Fund to Fight Top Death Cause”, February 19, 1959.

The Ocean Springs News“Services Thursday For Gertrude Wood”, June 7, 1962.

The Ocean Springs News“Wood-Parker”, December 17, 1964.

The Ocean Springs Record“Rain, Hail, Sleet, nor”, May 16, 1968.

The Ocean Springs Record“Prominent Civic Leader Dies”, September 28, 1972.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Wood Memorial Garden Dedication”, April 12, 1973.

The Ocean Springs Record, “E. Watson Wood Garden Dedicated”, April 19, 1973.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Anita Louise Pontius”, April 24, 1986.

The Sun Herald“Frank Galle Jr.”, September 30, 1986.

The Sun Herald, “Company denies it knew about Gulley”, July 25, 1998.

The Sun Herald, “Embezzler’s new trial to be moved”, April 20, 2001.

 

Maps:

Sanborn Map (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1925)-Sheet 5.

 

Photographs:

Courtesy of Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Curator Special Collections, at the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, Wauconda, Illinois.

 

U.S. Census - Jackson County, Mississippi (1910 and 1920).

 

Personal Communication:

J.K. Lemon-August 1992

Robert Maxwell-August 1992

George E. Arndt, Jr.-August 1992

Dr. William Pontius-December 1992

Mara Lou Guice Galle Hutto-February 26, 2002