Early Industry and Tourism
Before 1850, a schooner trade in charcoal and lumber developed with New Orleans, which necessitated trading posts and saw mills on Fort Bayou. A brickyard was located at the foot of Jackson Avenue by the Kendalls from Kentucky. By 1850, the potential of the mineral springs on Fort Bayou was accessed by Phillip P. Bowen and George Lynch, and in 1853, Dr. William G. Austin of New Orleans had erected the Ocean Springs Hotel on Jackson Avenue. In 1854, the small town took its name, Ocean Springs, from the large hotel. It had been called Lynchburg Springs briefly when the first post office was established in 1853. Pilgrims seeking hydrotherapy for their physical ailments from the mineral springs on Fort Bayou created a need for hostels and housing. Commercial activity was initially centered about lower Jackson Avenue where the steam packets of the Morgan steamboat line landed frequently transporting passengers and mail from Milneburg on Lake Ponchartrain. Here entrepreneurs built and operated the Seashore House, Morris House, and Egan House. Later the O’ Keefe Boarding House, Artesian House, and Egan Cottage would develop in the same area.