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Gulf & Ship Island Railroad Index


Gulf & Ship Island RR History from Biloxi Herald

Gulf & Ship Island Locomotives

Gulf & Ship Island RR Locomotive Pictures

Saratoga: A logging Town

Short History

Map of Gulfport and Ship Island Area

In March 1850 a Charter was given to build a railroad from Gulfport, Mississippi north, but was stopped because of the Civil War.

In 1856, by an Act of Congress, the railroad was given 120 sections of land for each 20 miles of track that was completed.  At one time, the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad owned about 108,229 acres of prime timber lands in South Mississippi.  Most of the holdings were sold and the money was supposed to be used to build the railroad.

On February 25, 1882, a new charter was issued and the organizers were Captain Hardy and Colonel William Faulkner.  The grading of the railroad was complete as far north as Hattiesburg; but in 1892 the company went into receivership.  At this time, the City of Gulfport was named.

In 1895 Captain Joseph Jones organized the Bradford Construction Company and seized control of the G & S I.

The line to Hattiesburg, Mississippi was finished on January 1, 1897. 

In November 1899, the G & S I purchased the Laurel and Tallahoma Western Railway from the Eastman Gardiner Lumber Company.  The L & T W was extended from Mize to Saratoga to join the G & S I in 1900.

On July 4, 1900, the last rail was laid going to Jackson.

The passenger schedule for the G & S I in 1905 was to leave Gulfport at 7:30 AM and arrive in Laurel, Mississippi at 12:30 PM.

By 1901, the G & S I served more than 60 sawmills whose output was estimated at 4,500,000 board feet of lumber per day.  This output was hauled by the G & S I.

In 1907, it was estimated that one tenth of all Yellow Pine Lumber processed in the Southern States, or about 800 million board feet of lumber was transported by the G & S I.

In 1911 the peak of logging and lumber production was reached.  That year saw 360 million board feet of lumber shipped from the Port of Gulfport.

The February 1916 Official Guide listed the freight schedule between Saratoga and Laurel.  Leave Saratoga at 8:40 AM and arrive in Laurel at 10:30 AM.  Leave Laurel at 2:00 PM and arrive in Saratoga at 3:15 PM.

On July 1, 1925, the Illinois Central purchased the G & S I for $5,000,000 cash and assumed a debt of $3,000,000.



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