Ocean Springs Community Information

History

Ocean Springs is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded 1699 by Pierre LeMoyne who established the first permanent settlement for France in the vast central area of North America. The area boomed in the early 1800s as paddle wheel steamboats ran between New Orleans and Mobil. In 1854, the name of Ocean Springs was coined by Dr. George W. Austin, a New Orleans physician who was enthusiastic about the local health-giving springs that contained medicinal qualities.

Development

Once the Civil War ended, a new age took root as the railroad became the primary mode of transportation. On November 21, 1870, freight and passenger railroad services were opened between Mobile and New Orleans. A decade later, the Louis & Nashville Railroad (L&N) took over the line. After many years as a prosperous resort town, the city began reinventing itself as a residential community thriving on its past and building a solid future.

Community

Today, Ocean Springs is a booming Gulf Coast Community that charms visitors and locals alike with its historical homes, scenic routes and glorious tree-lined streets and parks. Visitors flock to the pleasant bluff on the Mississippi Sound. Locals and visitors alike can spend the day resting under the majestic trees of Marshall Park located at Robinson and Washington Ave, the site of the original town bandstand.

Culture

If art is more your style, Ocean Springs is for you. The Ocean Springs Art Association was ranked in the Top 100 Art Colonies in the United States. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA) features the works of the Mississippi artist, writer and naturalist. The museum also features murals and exhibitions of other significant artists. The annual Artwalk event lets artists showcase their talents inside and outside local businesses and galleries. Painters, sculptors, musicians and chefs all participate in this memorable event.

Events

The Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival was named as one of the Southeast Tourism Society?s top events. The festival offers fun for the whole family with arts and crafts by some of the South?s finest artisans, traditional and ethnic food, and entertainment. At the annual Herb, Garden and Music Fest, the arts, agriculture and education communities combine for a fun-filled family event.

Attractions

History comes alive during an Ocean Springs Historical Walking Tour that features a guided walking tour of historical Ocean Springs along lovely oak-lined streets and the opportunity to visit period homes and historic churches. History buffs can visit the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial built in 1996.

Local Organizations

Community involvement thrives in this beautiful town. Groups such as the Habitat for Humanity of West Jackson County, Inc. work with people in need to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. Civic organizations include the Elks Club, Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, O.S. Business & Professional Women, and the O.S. Friendship Civic Club. Service begins at an early age, too, with opportunities for involvement in the Boys & Girls Club of America/Ocean Springs and the National League of Junior Cotillions Jackson County.

Education

Education is also important to the community. The Ocean Springs public school system consistently ranks as one of the top in the state. Two of the schools were recognized by U.S. Department of Education as national "Blue Ribbon" schools. And the opportunity for higher learning is at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and other nearby colleges. Money Magazine (1999) rated Ocean Springs Schools in the top 100 of the nation's schools.

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