Gulfport Tourist Court Craftsman

Today’s Craftsman post shows a place that no longer exists but that represents a whole category of bungalows that once dotted Mississippi highways, especially Highway 90 on the Coast, the tourist court. Tourist or motor courts arose with the new highway system in the 1920s and 1930s and appealed to middle-class travelers on family vacations and salesmen traveling by car. Motor court owners strove for a home-like atmosphere that competed with the high-rise downtown hotels, and bungalows were just the thing: compact single-family or duplex houses (both pictured in this postcard image) with open plans and all the modern, up-to-date conveniences travelers would want. The book The Motel in America goes into the history and economics of the tourist court and its evolution into the motel chains of today.

I assume, given the location, that Preston Court fell victim to Hurricane Camille in 1969, if not to development, but maybe someone who knows more about its history will let us know. I love the tile roofs the 9/1 windows (so many windows compared to today’s hotel room!), and the simple but sweet little entrance porches with exposed and decorative beams. And if you wanted to just sit in the shade and look at your little bungalow and the Mississippi Sound on the other side of the highway, you could do that too. Those were the days, my friend.

PRESTON COURT - On U.S. 90, three miles east of Gulfport, Miss. has the most modern fireproof cottages on the Coast. Twenty-four hour maid service, G.E. Refrigerators, tile showers and many other conveniences make Preston Court outstanding in appeal. Recommended by Duncan Hines. Member of Quality Courts United and AAA.

PRESTON COURT – On U.S. 90, three miles east of Gulfport, Miss. has the most modern fireproof cottages on the Coast. Twenty-four hour maid service, G.E. Refrigerators, tile showers and many other conveniences make Preston Court outstanding in appeal. Recommended by Duncan Hines. Member of Quality Courts United and AAA.

Can’t get enough of Craftsman?



Categories: Gulfport

Tags:

7 replies

  1. Apparently it was a hopping little place! “Mr. and Mrs. Theodore C. Whitcomb Sr. will return to their home in Boston, Mass. this week-end after spending awhile on the the Coast at Preston Courts visiting their son, Pfc. Bud Whitcomb, and Pvt. Jack Melvin Jones of Gulfport Field. Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb will entertain at a dinner party at Broadway Beach Saturday evening with Miss Fay Strother of Perkinston Junior College and Miss Clarice Hutchins of Gulfport as guests.” (Biloxi Daily Herald, March 7, 1944)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cute. I remember as a kid our staying at I believe Avalon Motor Lodge in Biloxi. Would be interested in seeing is there were a history of it.

    Like

    • I did not locate a history per se, but a few tidbits from the newspaper archives include:
      In 1940, the proprietor, Vester Wentzell, began construction of 5 more tourist cottages, including 3 doubles 30×12 and 2 singles 20×16, with 2 more planned.
      In 1944, Wentzell offered $25 to the first carrier who brought him a V-Day extra edition of the Daily Herald, and a $10 bonus if the issue was before noon on a Wednesday and they brought it to him at the noon Lions Club luncheon.
      In 1950, the Reverent and Mrs. James Kilbourne and 2 daughters vacationed at the Avalon following their evacuation from Seoul, Korea follow the communist invasion.
      In 1951, $3,000 of renovations were done.
      In 1957, Malvaney will be pleased to hear that the Avalon was renovated with a new product called “Stonekote–a veneer of stone-like material that encases the building in a permanent reinforced shell and requires no insulation or paint and is fireproof.” It was billed as a “facelifting” operation for old and outmoded buildings.
      And, in 1960–the last year I find reference in the papers, Biloxi was booming with progress with construction of new motels and expansions and remodeling of several, including the Avalon.
      In the interim years, they advertised for a lot of maids, at least 2 people died there, someone left his bicycle there, and several thefts occurred, including a camera, a Bell & Howell movie camera and reel-to-reel projector, and a couple of cars.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Off the top of my head the only tourist court remaining in Gulfport is on 28th street. 28th street was recently widened. I was concerned that part or the whole court would be destroyed, but it appears to have survived unscathed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, after a long day of motoring what a delight to pull into this little court and maybe spend a day or two enjoying the sea breezes and the view. After all, they had GE refrigerators :). Brings back memories of seeing so many of these little courts withering along the highways, too.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: