Pleasure Domes Past…Biloxi’s Broadwater Beach

Post card ca. 1940

Only the tattered remains of an elaborate marina today mark the site of one of Biloxi’s largest and most famous resort complexes. The Broadwater Beach holds a firm place in the memory of many a resident of the area, but the site holds only the promise of future development today. Its history is one which deserves to be told, particularly as it portended the future of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as we know it today long before the arrival of legalized gambling. The hotel itself was the product of illicit gain, having been built by Pete Martin Sr., a well known gambler, rum runner and raconteur. His establishment was a modest hotel in the “modern” style we know today as Art-Deco. In those days, its clean lines and rounded front with glass block and overhanging eaves would have simply been modern design. As built, the hotel had only 66 rooms on four floors and in a handful of cottages scattered around the grounds. Martin built the “Beach House Pier” across the street, an ambitious 600-foot fishing pier with a dancing pavilion, barber and beauty shops, a snack bar and the inevitable casino with “sports results” to boot. While never exactly legal, Martin’s casino flourished until Estes Kefauver swept through the Coast in the 1950s. After that, some say the gambling simply moved across the street into the main hotel.

Post card ca. 1963 showing Dorothy Brown's additions

Brighter days would bathe the Broadwater in the bright spotlight that only money and imagination can bring. The money came from the new owner, Texas oilman Joe Brown, and the imagination came from his redoubtable wife, Dorothy, a native of New Orleans.  Mr. Brown wasted no time in dying so that his wife could spend even more money on the property. Spend she did. Three million dollars alone went to build an elaborate marina which was built in 1963. Still more money bought a new face for the Broadwater and a sweeping concrete canopy marked the new entrance as one fit for celebrities. Mrs. Brown was intent upon creating the best resort on the Coast, surpassing everything in its wake.  She added tennis courts, riding stables and later purchased the old Great Southern Golf Course nearby.  The Sun and Sea Courses would be added in 1968 and 1974.

A Lanai Room at the Broadwater- mid-1960s

Broadwater Marina ca. 1966- post card- MDAH files

The main building was expanded with a grand dining room called the Royal Terrace which overlooked a swimming pool fit for Hollywood. The Lanai wing had the largest and nicest rooms and suites in the resort, but there were many other options. Cottages and apartment-like wings were scattered through the 260 wooded and landscaped acres and guests were ferried around in golf carts if they didn’t care to drive to their rooms. The playground atmosphere managed to continue right up through the late 1980s when the hotel began its first signs of decline. With the arrival of legalized gambling in 1992, the future of the Coast was set in stone, and the hotel was quickly sold to gambling interests.

The Biloxi Hilton aka the Broadwater Tower

John E. Connelly of Pittsburgh and his company, the President Casino Corporation, bought the now slightly drooping hotel. Instead of improving the hotel, the new owners placed their resources into gambling, and lots of it. More rooms were needed, so they simply purchased the former Biloxi Hilton nearby and renamed it the Broadwater Tower. Nary a penny was spent on the hotel and its decline turned into freefall as ever more elaborate plans were bandied about for its eventual replacement. To her credit, longtime manager Leigh MacConnell, one of the first women to head a large resort of this type, held to her standards as long as she could. It was a losing battle and the Broadwater would finally close its doors for the last time on July 30, 2005. There wasn’t even a whimper of protest as much of the property had been obscured by years of renovation and expansion. In the following month, Katrina would do a little renovation of her own, leaving the property in shambles.

The pool after Katrina- adapted from an original photograph by John Beers II

The new owners, W.C. “Cotton” Fore and construction magnate Roy Anderson had even bigger plans than the failed “Destination Broadwater,” a poorly thought-out plan which was jettisoned by the Corps of Engineers in 2001. Their plan called for 3,375 condominium units, 1900 hotel rooms and a host of shops, restaurants and other entertainment options. This didn’t pan out either. Subsequent attempts at leasing the property to the Mashantucket Pequots or other groups also came to naught. The property is still owned by Fore and Anderson and one hopes that it will soon be home to something more than an empty lot.

On a personal note, I had never stayed at the Broadwater, but had visited several times for lunch at the Royal Terrace.  My recollections of elegant china on crisp linen and waitstaff in crisp white jackets were jarred into reality when I visited again in the late 1990s.  I was allowed to walk through what remained of the original Art-Deco section of the building, little more than a corridor of tiny former guest rooms which obviously hadn’t been used in more than a decade.  By this time, the Broadwater was entering the terminal stages of its desuetude.  I walked over to the former Hilton where I had been a guest before in its Hilton days.   Opening the door to the lobby was like licking an ashtray.  The formerly exotic swimming pool with its tented swim-up bar inside was a disaster area and almost cried out for the wreckers to come and put the place out of its misery.  Indeed, the former Hilton/Broadwater Tower was demolished in 2006 for the Ocean Club, a condominium-hotel which occupies the site today.   The Hilton, however, had been built for quick profit and had virtually no architectural features worth preservation.  Buildings of every period deserve preservation, but the Hilton wasn’t one of them.

Was the original part of the Broadwater worth saving?   It was certainly worth saving, but it must be taken into account that relatively little of the original structure had survived unaltered, even before Katrina.  As with the Tivoli, had there been a will to preserve the building, it could have been accomplished.  To the new owners, no doubt, an aging and decrepit resort well past its prime must have seemed an impediment to progress.  To those who remember it, though, the Broadwater represented a vibrant slice of their history, a pleasure dome of nearly boundless proportions.  The new palaces of pleasure may be bigger and glossier, but they are not always better- especially in an architectural sense.  Decorum has been traded for convenience time and time again.   Wouldn’t it be nice to see something just a bit like the old Broadwater rise from the site again?



Categories: Biloxi, Demolition/Abandonment, Gulf Coast, Historic Preservation, Hotels, Hurricane Katrina, Lost Mississippi

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57 replies

  1. I remember after Katrina finally seeing the original Art Moderne section that had been hidden behind that screen. I hadn’t really realized until then that the older part was still there. I hated to see it torn down, but it was quite a mess. Structurally it probably could have been saved, if, as you say, there had been a will to do it.

  2. Thank you so much for this article about the beautiful Broadwater that I practically grew up in during the early 70s and 80s. My father owned an independent telephone company in north mississippi and was also mayor of our town. The telephone convention would be held every year at the broadwater then we would go down the street to the Hilton for the municipal convention. I have been literally SICK that the Broadwater is now but a memory. I have cried and begged for information and more pictures from people on the internet. I would give anything for a picture of the rounded, pink restaurant. I can see every inch of the resort and I can even SMELL the elevators. Your descriptions were so accurate. The crisp linens, silver, the little train that ran throughout the property, the playground, cottages, golf carts……it was lightening in a bottle. Thank you, thank you for recognizing this Mississippi legacy. My heart breaks now just thinking of it……a part of me, my mother and daddy still sit on that property, even if it is now gone. I would love to hear more……..please e-mail me if you have any memorabilia or pictures.

    • I have one of the original wire bingo balls that they used in the 1950-s early 60’s that my daughters and I rescued after Katrina hit and before the building was demolished. It has the clear lucite handle on the end of the turning mechanism. It hangs on my wall now as a memento. As I was growing up in the 70’s, it always seemed like a dream and I wanted to stay there so badly, that when I turned 45 in 2010, my family reseved the bottom floor end room by the steps to the bottom pool with the waterfall for the weekend for my birthday as a surprise. How we enjoed our weeked! It was bittersweet because we knew it was being shut down in less than two weeks. i finally got my dream – and then Katrina took it forever!

    • I was able to save two of the paintings that hung in the hallway leading to the suites in the main building: The “Jean Baptiste Le Moyne” “Sieur De Bienville” and “Lapoocha”. They are beautiful pieces of art and history.

    • Lori, It is wonderful to be able to relive old memories of the days at the Broadwater. My father was in insurance and the Alabama Automobile Dealers Association too had great conventions where entire families gathered as a ritual to stay and enjoy all the hotel had to offer. I can recall my younger brother and me with all our friends (children of my parents friends and clients) running about the cottages, swimming in the pools late at night while our parents danced the nights away, walked to the beach and Marina to get our lunches… When I was a senior in high school, I was allowed to invite a friend along for our annual beach trip and remember how awed she was that we ordered whatever we wanted and just sign our room number to the ticket! We would order Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers and sit by the pool thinking we were real grown-up. We somehow took that life for granted. It was a different time then and children could roam free in a resort setting knowing we were safe because the staff all knew our parents and looked out for us or even looked the other way when we stole off in the golf carts for a joy ride. I would love to see pictures or hear any other reminiscences from others about the hotel, cottages, marina and wonderful restaurant where a pianist played live music for the “ladies who lunched” ha ha. Looking forward to emails from anyone with info or photos!

  3. Thank you for your kind comments. I’m happy to have rekindled pleasant memories for you. I will see what I have in my collection on the Broadwater. Let us hope that a meaningful development will take its place and perhaps carry on its distinguished history and name.

    • I, as others, am truly heartbroken at the loss of The Broadwater. SO many fabulous memories that are part of the shaping of the person I am today. From the first time I saw it, as a child, with my mother’s sister and her family, to later years, when my uncle moored his boat at the marina, it was a part of every summer for this south Louisiana girl. Later, my teen years brought me there, not only with family, but with friends and their families, who also utilized the marina. As a young adult, I stayed there for business. The cottages, apartments, play areas, and pools, especially the one with the waterfall, and beautiful landscaping, will forever stay in my heart and mind as the oasis I was awed by, even as a small child. So sad I cannot share this fabulous part of my younger years with my husband and children. After telling them so many stories of the feeling of serenity upon stepping on the property, I feel robbed of being able to see their reaction and joy, by bringing to life the stories I told of times spent there. I can still see the landscape lighting on the paths that meandered through the grounds, and feel the cool grass under my feet as I walked beneath the ages-old oaks. Sadly, there will never, ever be such a place as that grand lady on the Coast, again!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this article. I have fond memories of visiting the Broadwater in the 1970s and early 1980s with my parents. My father worked for a lumber company in New Orleans and he attended a convention annually at the hotel. We always stayed in the Lanai rooms which as I recall were a pricey $65.00 per night at the time. We dined at places like the White Pillars, Trilby’s, the French Connection and of course Mary Mahoney’s Old French House. Our favorite time to be had was always at the Royal Terrace Room as my parents were much older and loved to listen to Leon Kelner and his orchestra. By referencing the dining room, you resolved a lengthy discussion that I had this past Novemebr with a friend; we tried for hours to remember the name of the room!

  5. The Broadwater Beach Hotel holds many great memories for me. In the days when I was a student at Gulf Park College in Long Beach (1950’s), a lot of events were held at the hotel. One seemed to be more elaborate than the next, but everyone had a wonderful time. The Naval Cadets from Pensacola always showed up looking sharper than ever!!!!

    • It holds a lot of memories. There was shuffleboard, gulf carts and the Lanai Pool. We often had a room at the Lanai side where you could see the pool with the stones and waterfalls. I have pictures of my aunts, uncles, mom and dad at the swim up bar. There was a gift shop where I remember buying a key chain, that I still have. They don’t have classy hotels anymore, in my opinion. I also remember the Edgewater Gulf, which was detonated in late 60s or early 70s.

  6. Thanks to all for the memories in story and pictures. As a construction supplier at The AGC conventions there when I was young, I know many of the states’ Architects, Engineers, and G.C.’s had many a fun weekend there helped along by our “Hospitality Room” and those supplied by others. Ours only suppied booze, (and a view of that incredible multi-leveled pool!)

  7. My husband and I have many fond memories of stays at the Broadwater. While unpacking some boxes that had not see the light of day for many years we came across a small bowl that was used to serve peanuts in the lounge. We are trying to remember the name of the lounge; it had a horse racing theme. I also have albums from Leon Kelner!

    • I recall visiting The Trophy Lounge many times during 1970-1972. I heard many great entertainers there including Jimmy Elledge and others. There was a fantastic organist there; I think his name was Bobby Walters. I believe the cocktail waitress was Helen Mattina. And the walls contained so many trophies from horse racing……what wonderful memories…

      • The “Trophy Lounge” that was it!!! Thanks for the memory jog! We loved to lounge too but also remember dancing to Leon Kelner (sp?) in the big, old fashioned dining dancing venue.

    • Hello Sandra, the name of the lounge was the Paddock Lounge.

  8. I have been searching websites for hours, trying to find something familiar in Biloxi.
    My family vacationed there every Easter vacation through the 60’s and 70’s. I am so
    glad to have found your wonderful article! I am so sad to hear that the Broadwater
    is gone! I have wonderful memories of Biloxi! The Cabana Beach, Trader Vic’s, the
    Buena Vista with a walkway over Beach Blvd, and the Friendship House…. The Broadwater Beach Hotel was such an imposing landmark and the marina was the most elaborate that I had ever seen! The first time that we drove up under that huge canopy at the hotel, I felt like a “princess”. It was the ultimate of “swanky”, “luxourious”, a modern “Grand Hotel”.
    We used to fish off the end of the marina, and sometimes stay out there until dark to
    watch the lighthouse come on. Then we would go play mini-golf and end up at Crispy
    Cream (one of the original sites) for one of the most “sinful” donuts on earth! We took
    our own motorboat out to Ship Island some years to fish and then watch the “huge”
    waves on the south side of the island. If it got too warm, we went to the fort.
    My brother and I would sit at the bar at Barachev’s and watch in amasement as the men opened oysters. My brother got pearls. They had the BEST seafood ever….
    Other than Kessler, Mahoney’s and Beuviour, is any of the old Biloxi still there?
    Mr. Barnes, thank you for your article and thank you for indulging my walk down
    memory lane. I’m so thankful to have had parents that believed in family vacations,
    and my father’s wanderlust!

    • Gail, you echo many of my memories of Biloxi of the 1950-60’s. As a child we ‘camped’ in cottages at the Methodist Seashore Campground. I fished off the Marina while stationed at Kessler in 1968-69. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward docked in the Marina, spring of ’69. We met them playing at the mini-golf course. My time at Kessler was blown away by Camille, lost all from a rental house on Iberville @ Hiway 90.

  9. My father, John Burke, was the Executive Chef at the Broadwater from about 1966 through 1971. My parents were furnished a cottage across the driveway from Mrs. Brown’s home. The cottage had a large screened porch, and my mother and I would have coffee in the morning and margaritasin the afternoonand watch the tide (this was before the highway was widened). Ms. Leigh was alway so kind when my daughter and I visited, Nick Stuart was still living, and a great boutique in the lobby. Of course, my parents rode out Camille in a room on the backlot, but it was still sad to see the devastation, and what had been the cleanest beach on any coast be dirtied by whatever floated in from the storm, even two years later. Sad to see that the Grand Old Lady came to such a sad and ugly ending.

  10. My mother was the pianist /singer (Kay Summers) in the lounge at the Broadwater Hotel from 1969 through 1971. I have so many fond memories of Biloxi and the beautiful coastline. She loved every minute of performing there!

  11. Marina was designed by Ray Reasby of Galveston & Houston, with T. M. Dorsett as Chief Engineer. Meant to withstand hurricane-force winds. Planned in 1962 @ a cost of $2.5 million.

    • Ray Reesby is my father. He is still alive and an active Civil and Structural Engineer. He won many engineering awards for the marina and the hotel and went on the be a part of an award winning marinas like pier 66, Marina del Rey and the San Francisco Marina. On the Broadwater, he did the engineering on the whole property, made the Pool work what a headache. I still have his construction pictures. I was 6-12 when it was built. It was an amazing project and an amazing time to live there. Dad designed the marina and the hotel to withstand a hurricane twice as strong as the 1900 storm in Galveston. As the engineer of record of 2 extensions of the Galveston seawall, he had the data from the army corp of engineers to make it last. He cried when he saw what Katrina did to the Marina. The marina had withstood 7 design hurricanes. Although he has been in such projects as the roof on the Astrodome and most of what standing post Ike in Galveston, the Broadwater Resort is still his jewel. I still have a towel that says Broadwater Beach. Maybe the new owners or the paper would like to hear about the dream of the Broadwater. Would love to hear what become of Tommy Dorsett.
      Thanks for the story!!!

  12. My husband, Frank Middleton is from Biloxi and was best friends of Pete Martin, Jr. He loves to tell stories about the Martins and had some good things to say about Mr. Martin, Sr. My husband’s only brother is retired Dr. Robert Middleton, who still resides in Biloxi.

    We were just there a few weeks ago and the beaches are beautiful again.

  13. Mythology surrounded the remodeling of the Broadwater Beach Hotel and I’ve always wondered if it’s true. As the myth went, Ms. Brown was denied a permit to tear down the old BBH but was permitted only to remodel it. In response, she had a part — and I think a small part — of the original structure elevated four stories and accomplished her “remodeling” yielding the grand ballroom, etc, to which reference is made in the above article. With in the letter, if not the spirit, of her remodeling permit.

    Might it also be true that Ms Brown lived at least for a time on the north bank of the Tchoutacabouffa river, just west of the old Hwy 67 bridge. As a lad boating on the river in the early sixties, I often saw a chauffered Limo at that site, and the conventional wisdom held that it was Ms. Brown.

    Anyone know the truth of either myth?

  14. Hi Harold. With regard to where Mrs. Brown lived, I am afraid I cannot help you. Local resident Anthony Kalberg might possibly know. You should have no trouble finding him if you look on the web.

    As for the original building, I have been through the original and found the upper stories relatively intact. This leads me to believe that Mrs. Brown merely remodeled and expanded around what was already there. This, of course, meant that virtually nothing of the original hotel on the first two floors remained after the radical remodeling program of the 1960s. The building was never raised, as you will note in the post card views above. Mrs. Brown merely expanded the hotel around the existing structure. As for her being told she couldn’t demolish what was there at the time, it makes a great story, but I’d find it very difficult to believe that any city would have demanded preservation of the building in the 1960s. Recall that those were times in which all but the most historic and revered buildings were considered fair game if they stood on the path of “Progress.” It was most likely the simple expedience of keeping the hotel up and running which saved the original Broadwater. Mrs. Brown didn’t lack the funds to destroy it and rebuild from scratch. Had she done so, the hotel would have had to close. This is only a guess on my part and I would be interested to hear more from anyone with interest on the subject.

    • Hi Tom,

      Can you tell me when they tore down the Buena Vista walkway over hwy 90? I want to remember how old I was when it was torn down ! Thanks !! Elaine (my gpa was Cosman Eisendrath from the Daily Herald paper)

      • I believe that the motel wing of the Buena Vista was purchased in 1996 by Steve Wynn and was demolished shortly thereafter for the Beau Rivage. The ruins of the hotel were not far behind in being demolished for parking. I think the bridge was probably taken down when the motel wing was converted into the Biloxi Belle in the early 90s.

    • My Father Owned a Millwork shop in St Bernard He and and his Brother Did work for Mrs Brown’s Boat house in New Orleans. She Liked the work so much She commissioned Him to build a Piano Bar for the Lounge at her recently acquired Hotel in 195? around the time her Husband Died. My Father and Uncle astounded her with the craftsmanship. He accepted her offer to assist in heading up her construction dept as was Basically the construction Superintendent for the renovation and. Room and amenities upgrades for the next 27 years. I also worked there in house keeping during the Summer and at the Marina the Summer of 70. The Broadwater was a huge part on our life!!!!!!

      • P. – the place was a major put of my life also! My dad, Bobby Blum, worked in the maintenance dept. starting in about 1961, for about 15 years – or some time after The Dorsett’s daughter took over management, after both her father and uncle had passed away. I’m not sure what year he was let go, anyway, Walter Johnston and his wife Grace were very good friends of our family. Walter helped my dad build our kitchen cabinets in the house where we lived. The house was (like many of Mrs. Brown’s trusted employees) a “perk” provided us by Mrs. Brown.

  15. A Mississippian (Meadville) stationed at Keisler 1968-69, I fished at the marina many afternoons. Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward docked there in spring of 1969. Fishing we watched them land. Later that evening we played miniature golf with them down the beach. Camille hit the week I graduated from Communications Electronics Officer School. Fond memories and sad for her demise.

  16. Hi Tom,
    Do you know if the lot where the Broadwater sat is still empty? I’m writing an article that refers to the Congressional hearings about Hurricane Camille that were held at the hotel in early 1970; I note the fate of the hotel in Katrina but wanted to say whether something has been built there or not.

    Thanks!

  17. I know it’s been said before, but thank you so much. As someone else posted, I too spent my spring breaks there during the 60’s and 70’s. I even came back in the 80’s with myour own daughter for one last vacation with the whole family. Being from the Midwest, we knew nothing about hurricanes first hand. I’ll never forget pulling into that drive at the front lobby and seeing seaweed in the light fixtures from Camille. Despite all the devastation we saw (they were still finding bodies months later in hotel wreckage) that really hit home. I remember eating the fried shrimp at the marina, Pops Ferry (best biscuits and jam I’d ever had), Mary Mahoney’s for an elegant lunch, the smell of the wisteria and those wonderful swimming pools.

    I still have very vivid memories, and met one of my first true loves there. I’ve got to forward this link to my family members. Thank you so much for the memories!

  18. Again, thanks for the post on a favorite memory from summers as a 6 to 12 year old. Like others I was exposed to the Broadwater during my father’s annual convention. For him it was work, for the four kids it was summer vacation. Two joining rooms toward the back of the property… just a short ride on the “train” which was never long enough for those my age. The pink cloth napkins in the dining room, the marvel of a swim up bar, and lush St. Augustine grass separating the smaller pool and shuffleboard court are vivid memories I can’t replicate now that the property is gone but hope to pass along something similar to my boys. Off to The Grand Hotel at Point Clear I guess…

  19. Hello to All:
    WYES,-TV, the PBS affiliate in New Orleans, will broadcast a one-hour cultural documentary on Biloxi that will showcase the Broadwater Beach Hotel. If anyone would like to share their memories, photos, and/or home movies of the hotel, we’d love to hear from you. We are also looking for people who would be willing to be interviewed on camera and talk about their visits to the Broadwater
    I will be in Biloxi this Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4 & 5 to visit all the city has to offer.
    Please contact me at barbarasillery@gmail.com. or post a reply on this blog.

    Barbara Sillery, Producer
    barbarasillery@gmail.com
    http://www.barbarasillery.com.

  20. Hello, all!
    I have been fascinated by the discussion. During the 50s and 60s my family spent our vacations on the Coast at the White House (I’m glad to see that there is still hope for it), but starting in the late 70s we switched to the Broadwater. We always used to stay in cabin 305. In the early days we had to make reservations a year in advance! We remained loyal during much of the long decline, but it eventually just became too sad. Our last stay there was in 1989.
    The grounds around the cabins had wonderful copper light fixtures shaped like flowers. At some point we talked the maintenance crew into giving us some that had been damaged and thrown in a corner. They have moved with us from Virginia to California and back again. We are still talking about getting them repaired 30 years later.
    One year the Jerry Lewis MD telethon was staged at the BB while we were there. We enjoyed watching all the hoopla.
    Another year our visit was scheduled right after the Coast had been hit by Hurricane Elena. We flew in on the first day the Gulfport Airport was open after the storm. One of the diversions of that visit was watching crews come in and take down some of the huge pines that had been damaged by the winds.
    We were staying at the hotel the week that Mrs. Brown died. The staff put up black wreaths and draped her picture in black crepe.
    Much of our vacation time was spent crabbing (and making and eating gumbo). Our favorite crabbing spots were the old Ocean Springs bridge, Cadet Point and the BB marina. All swept away by Katrina.
    Seeing the hotel after Katrina wasn’t as heartbreaking as seeing what happened to it after it was purchased by the casino people.

  21. I worked at the Broadwater in the summer of ’81. I was a cocktail waitress for the pool, and I would order and pick up the drinks from the Trophy Lounge, which was right down the steps off the pool. I went up the steps, around the pool, and down the other set of steps a hundred times a day taking orders and delivering drinks. The pool was beautiful, and I jumped in it more than once during my Mississippi hot shift. I also remember that the grounds were kept beautifully.

    Many of the employees had worked there for decades, including 2 of the room service waiters who had to deliver drinks to the pool when there was no waitress scheduled. They had both been there for over 30 years, I think even before the Mrs. Brown era. We were allowed to order lunch directly from the kitchen, and I think I ate a turkey club sandwich every day all summer. Those sandwiches were that good.

    I have a postcard of the Broadwater pool, and it breaks my heart to look at it.

  22. Like many others have stated, our family “vacation” was the annual convention at the Broadwater. Going to the Broadwater in the late 60’s through the early 80’s was our idea of Florida. We loved it! When we weren’t staying in the cottages, we were in one of the front rooms in the Lanai wing, where we could walk out the back door and be at the pool. Once, we stayed in the back and didn’t like it. We thought the back pool was lousy compared to the fun, multi-level front pool. Plus, the front pool had the pretty lifeguards (lifeguardettes?). The cottages were quite spacious and also had plenty of yard outside. Ours usually backed up to the cemetery. I often wondered what the apartments opposite the Lanai wing looked like on the inside and thought how totally cool it would be to live at the Broadwater. When we weren’t in the pool, we were riding the train. I had dreams of being the “conductor” for my summer job during college! My sister and I preferred the grill at the marina while my folks went for the Friendship House. More than once, we ordered “room service” delivered to the pool. After supper, we’d walk around the marina, where my aunt’s brother kept his sailboat. Or we’d drive up and down the beach highway looking at all big beautiful homes that survived Camille. I also remember the golf shop and how my dad would take me there to “shop” even though he didn’t play golf. I think he liked it just because it was cool in there – literally. But one of my strangest memories of the Broadwater was hearing the loudspeaker call over and over “Paging DX34, DX34. Telephone call.” I must’ve heard that page 50 times a day to still remember it so many years later (and I wonder who that person – DX34 – was)!

    • DX 34 was the Bell Captain
      DX 30 will Bill Dorsett, General Manager (hardly EVER paged him)
      DX 31 was Jack Stanford, Resident Manager
      DX 32 was the Assistant Manager Bill Frith
      I WAS DX 35 as Front Office Manager
      FOR MANY YEARS

      Floyd Gerald

    • I knew your mother because I was working there while she was the Trophy Lounge entertainer
      She was the only entertainer we ever had that NEVER took a break once she started
      Jimmy Elledge had a clock that went off ever 45 minutes and even if he was in the middle of a song, he stopped and QUIT
      When I first went to work there Bobby Walters and his wife Mickey Hunter were the entertainers
      Your MOM was the best !
      Floyd Gerald

  23. Can anyone tell me who DX34 was? I must’ve heard that page over the Broadwater loudspeaker 50 times a day whenever we stayed there!

  24. So interesting to read all of these comments from past visitors to the Broadwater Beach Hotel. We all have our fond memories of the Hotel. All of those nights I remember in the Trophy Lounge looking out the window at the red neon sign reading…Broadwater Beach. And may our Memories of the Broadwater Live On!

  25. I have truly enjoyed this article and reading of the many fond memories that people had of the
    wonderful Broadwater. It was a part of my life. I lived with my Aunt who was Leigh MacConnell.
    Ms. Leigh, as she was called started working there as a bookkeeper when she was very young & worked there till she retired just before Katrina hit Biloxi. I have so many fond memories of the Broadwater from my young days. I moved away from Biloxi in 1962 when I married. We returned frequently in the summers for vacation and usually stayed at the hotel. My children loved the place as well. We miss the hotel but most of all we miss my wonderful Aunt.
    Thanks for the article and the pictures.
    Myrna

  26. After reading a comment about Leigh MacConnell, manager of the Broadwater Beach, she was very nice in letting me stay one weekend free at the hotel for a rendering I donated to the Hotel back in 1992. That was one of my best memories ever on the Coast. I will always remember her.

  27. I arrived at Keesler AFB in September of 1951, I was an 18 year old fresh from a small town in Wisconsin gal. As a young single Waf, I loved living on the Gulf Coast. Many weekend afternoons were spent on the porch and at the beach of the White House Hotel—cold beer in a frosty mug hit the spot on a hot hot summer day. I had many serious sunburns from the long hours on the beach. So many memories, Gus Stevens, Fiesta Club, Bariciv’s Broadwater and was it Hugo’s Pizza (best I ever tasted, of course the first I had ever tasted) the USO on the beach offered the best shrimp boils. picnic’s at the River, drive in moviesand David’s Dress Shop provided this gal with many fashionable outfits to wear and unless one spent a weekend in New Orleans every few months one wasn’t living. I worked as a waitress at the Edgewater Hotel both in the dining room and in the Snack Bar, met so many nice people that spent their winters in Biloxi. I married a Mississippi boy, not a local and we rented a cottage from the Marvar;s they owned a shimp factory. We stayed in the Biloxi area for 9 years. Our oldest son was born in the Gulfport Hospital the day before Hurricane Audrey—June 26, 1957. The blinds in my room were thashing around, wind and rain were pelting the windows. I wanted to know what was going on, the nurse told me, ” to never mind, we were having a hurricane, but I was having my own– so just rest and not worry.” A few days later I went home. The beach was a mess, tree limbs were lying around and sand was piled high along Beach Blvd, all evidence that we had had a rather bad storm. I was in Biloxi on a gambling trip a couple of weeks ago, was able to ride up and down Beach Blvd and through the downtown area. Tears came to my eyes, familiar sites all gone, just hundreds of little flags that marked lots where people had businesses and homes. I had the worst feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband, my sister in law and brother in law that places we lived and spent time are all gone. But they are gone too–so the memories are mine–I turned to my scrap book and album and decided to connect on the internet and I have appreciated the pictures of old familiar places and the memories of many folks.

    • Thank you for sharing your memories–they are what make these buildings and photos come to life even when they are no longer there. I’m glad you were able to come back, but sorry so much has been lost.

Trackbacks

  1. Souvenirs Part I | Places in the Home
  2. 2012 in review « Preservation in Mississippi
  3. 'Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel' to debut July 23 on WYES - Hotel Series

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