Gulfport enjoys a reputation as a haven for artists, great restaurants, and a boater’s paradise. Upon visiting for the first time, people revel in the way it reminds them of the Florida that once lived in every town.
No one understands how much old Florida matters than the Gulfport Historical Society, the 501c3 who operates the Gulfport History Museum.
At the Gulfport Historical Society, we believe our history is our future, and we want to share both with you. But what, exactly, is our history?
Our small town’s history seeps through the pines and palms and permeates through our brick-lined streets. Look around; you can find our history everywhere.
Find it in the descendants of Gulfport’s first family, who came here from Key West and carved out a life on the waters surrounding our seaside village.
Catch a fish off Williams Pier, so named for not one but two of our former mayors.
Walk along the waterfront, where not one but three public casinos have hosted Gulfportians over the past eight decades. The Works Progress Administration built our current Casino in 1935.
Take a stroll to the Torres House at 3102 52nd Street South, where you’ll find the oldest house in town, built in 1876.
Let your dog run in Chase Park. The town named Chase Park after Civil War Captain John Chase, who settled here in the 1890s with the intention of promoting our town as “Veterans City.”
Amble along Beach Boulevard, where you’ll find the former home of Gulfport’s first mayor (2502 Beach), a small bungalow meticulously restored in keeping with the style of its era (2602 Beach), a 1925 business (Gulfport Garage, 2731 Beach), the location of Gulfport’s first grocer, Cusson’s Store (2938 Beach), the location of our first open-air post office (3000 Beach), and the site of our first library (3050 Beach.)
No matter where you go in town, Gulfport’s rich history follows you. At the Gulfport History Museum, you can research the history of your home, learn more about the founding families, or browse our extensive collection of archived photographs. We also have rotating exhibits.
The Society believes in the strength of our past and preserving today for future historians. Throughout the year, we offer programs and events that support our belief that our history matters.
In the fall we celebrate Gulfport History month with a monthlong celebration of our town, including an annual celebration of the city’s incorporation in 1910.
Members enjoy our speakers and porch parties, where we bring in historians from across the state to talk about Florida history and how it relates to Gulfport. Members also receive the Society’s regular newsletter, the Historian.
Throughout the year we plan special events that change as do the desires of our membership.
We protect and celebrate our seaside village’s past, and preserve today’s memories for the Gulfportians of tomorrow. Please join us.
The challenge of history is to recover the past and introduce it to the present.
– David Thelen