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Gulfport, Mississippi
City of Gulfport
Clockwise from top: Downtown Gulfport, Mississippi Aquarium, Dan M. Russel Jr. Courthouse
Flag of Gulfport, Mississippi
Flag
Official logo of Gulfport, Mississippi
Logo
Motto(s): 
Where Your Ship Comes In
Location within Harrison County
Location within Harrison County
Gulfport, Mississippi is located in Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi
Location in Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi is located in the United States
Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Harrison
Incorporated July 28, 1898
Government
 • Type Strong mayor–council
 • Body Gulfport City Council
Area
 • City 64.01 sq mi (165.78 km2)
 • Land 55.63 sq mi (144.07 km2)
 • Water 8.38 sq mi (21.70 km2)
Elevation
20 ft (6 m)
Population
 • City 72,926
 • Density 1,219.5/sq mi (497.70/km2)
 • Metro
416,259 (US: 133rd)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
39501-39503, 39505-39507
Area code(s) 228
FIPS code 28-29700
GNIS feature ID 0670771
Website City of Gulfport

Gulfport is the second-largest city in Mississippi after the state capital, Jackson. Along with Biloxi, Gulfport is the co-county seat of Harrison County and the larger of the two principal cities of the Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2020 census, the city of Gulfport had a total population of 72,926, with 416,259 in the metro area as of 2018. It is also home to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet Seabees.

History

Steamer loading resin, Gulfport, MS 1906 cph.3b18580
Steamer loading resin in Gulfport, 1906
President Ford during a campaign stop - NARA - 7027915
U.S. President Gerald Ford visited Gulfport during his 1976 reelection campaign

An early settlement near this location, known as Mississippi City, appeared on a map of Mississippi from 1855. Mississippi City was the county seat of Harrison County from 1841 to 1902, but is now a suburb in east Gulfport.

Gulfport was incorporated on July 28, 1898. Gulfport was founded by: William H. Hardy who was president of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad (G&SIRR) that connected inland lumber mills to the coast, and later on, joined by Joseph T. Jones who later took over the G&SIRR, dredged the harbor in Gulfport, and opened the shipping channel to the sea. In 1902, the harbor was completed and the Port of Gulfport became a working seaport that now accounts for millions of dollars in annual sales and tax revenue for the state of Mississippi.

In 1910, the U.S. Post Office and Customhouse was built. The Gulfport Post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

In March 1916, Mayor George M. Foote announced that the Andrew Carnegie Corporation was going to place a Carnegie Library in Gulfport.

On August 17, 1969 Gulfport and the Mississippi Gulf Coast was hit by Hurricane Camille. By central pressure, Camille was the second strongest U.S. land falling hurricane in recorded history. The area of total destruction in Harrison County, Mississippi was 68 square miles (180 km2).[11] The total estimated cost of damage was $1.42 billion (1969 USD, $9 billion 2012 USD).[12] This made Camille the second-most expensive hurricane in the United States, up to that point (behind Hurricane Betsy).[13] The storm directly killed 143 people along Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

In December 1993, the City annexed 33 square miles (85 km2) north of Gulfport making it the second largest city in Mississippi.

Hurricane Katrina

GulfportHarbor2005
Damage to Marine Life Oceanarium and Casinos at port facility

On August 29, 2005, Gulfport was hit by the strong eastern side of Hurricane Katrina. Much of the city was flooded or destroyed in one day by the strong, hurricane-force winds which lasted over 16 hours and a storm surge exceeding 28 feet (9 m) in some sections.

Hurricane Katrina damaged over 40 Mississippi libraries, gutting the Gulfport Public Library, first floor, and breaking windows on the second floor, beyond repair, requiring total reconstruction.

The Sun Herald newspaper in Biloxi-Gulfport, under the executive editor Stanley R. Tiner, won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in journalism for its Katrina coverage.

The local ABC television affiliate, WLOX, won The Peabody Award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 64.2 sq mi (166.4 km2), of which 56.9 sq mi (147.4 km2) is land and 7.3 sq mi (19.0 km2) (11.40%) is water.

Mississippi-Coast-towns-NOAA
Gulfport, Mississippi (map center) is east of Long Beach, west of Biloxi, along the Gulf of Mexico.

Climate

Gulfport has a humid subtropical climate, which is strongly moderated by the Gulf of Mexico. Winters are short and generally warm, cold spells do occur, but seldom last long. Snow flurries are rare in the city, with no notable accumulation occurring most years. Summers are generally long, hot and humid, though the city's proximity to the Gulf prevents extreme summer highs, as seen farther inland. Gulfport is subject to extreme weather, most notably tropical storm activity through the Gulf of Mexico.

Climate data for Gulfport, Mississippi (Gulfport-Biloxi Int'l), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 60.9
(16.06)
62.8
(17.11)
69.7
(20.94)
77.0
(25)
83.8
(28.78)
89.1
(31.72)
90.5
(32.5)
90.6
(32.56)
87.2
(30.67)
79.8
(26.56)
71.1
(21.72)
62.6
(17)
77.1
(25.06)
Average low °F (°C) 41.6
(5.33)
43.3
(6.28)
50.0
(10)
58.0
(14.44)
66.3
(19.06)
72.4
(22.44)
74.3
(23.5)
74.4
(23.56)
69.6
(20.89)
59.5
(15.28)
49.3
(9.61)
42.5
(5.83)
58.4
(14.67)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.68
(68.1)
4.11
(104.4)
4.87
(123.7)
4.52
(114.8)
4.33
(110)
7.72
(196.1)
6.40
(162.6)
6.48
(164.6)
5.06
(128.5)
3.66
(93)
4.69
(119.1)
4.54
(115.3)
59.05
(1,499.9)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 In) 8.4 8.3 9.0 6.3 6.4 11.4 13.3 14.5 7.5 9.4 8.9 10.5 113.9
Source: NOAA

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 1,060
1910 6,386 502.5%
1920 8,157 27.7%
1930 12,547 53.8%
1940 15,105 20.4%
1950 22,659 50.0%
1960 30,204 33.3%
1970 40,791 35.1%
1980 39,676 −2.7%
1990 40,775 2.8%
2000 71,127 74.4%
2010 67,793 −4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate 2020 census

2020 census

Gulfport racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 34,382 47.15%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 28,287 38.79%
Native American 293 0.4%
Asian 1,147 1.57%
Pacific Islander 114 0.16%
Other/Mixed 3,688 5.06%
Hispanic or Latino 5,015 6.88%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 72,926 people, 25,559 households, and 15,584 families residing in the city.

2010 census

According to the census of 2010, there were 67,793 people living in the city. The population density was 1,191.4 people per square mile (459.9/km2). The city had 50,825 or 74.97% of its population at the age of 18 and above. The racial makeup of the city was 56.86% White, 36.07% African American, 0.39% Native American, 1.69% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 2.13% from other races, and 2.73% from two or more races. Results show that 5.19% of the population was Hispanic/Latino of any race.

There were 31,602 housing units at an average density of 555.4 per square mile (214.4/km2) with 83.24% of housing units occupied and an average of 2.57 persons living in each occupied housing unit.

Comparing the 2000 and 2010 Census, the population of the city went down while the total number of housing units rose. This can be attributed to Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed housing and displaced people. New housing development has continued with a mixture of redevelopment from hurricane damage, though not all of the displaced population returned.

As of the census of 2000, there were 26,943 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 18.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.07.

In Gulfport, the population dispersal was 26.0% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males. The median income for a household in the city was $32,779, and the median income for a family was $39,213. Males had a median income of $29,220 versus $21,736 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,554. 17.7% of the population and 14.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 25.8% of those under the age of 18 and 13.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Gulfport is the location of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The airport suffered extensive damage due to Hurricane Katrina. A major renovation project is for the most part completed and it has resumed commercial air service.

Arts and culture

Tourism

From its beginnings as a lumber port, Gulfport evolved into a diversified city. With about 6.7 miles (10.7 kilometers) of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport has become a tourism destination, due in large part to Mississippi's Coast Casinos. Gulfport has served as host to popular cultural events such as the "World's Largest Fishing Rodeo," "Cruisin' the Coast" (a week of classic cars), and "Smokin' the Sound" (speedboat races). Gulfport is a thriving residential community with a strong mercantile center. There are historic neighborhoods and home sites, as well as diverse shopping opportunities and several motels scattered throughout to accommodate golfing, gambling, and water-sport tourism.

Economy

According to Gulfport's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Naval Construction Battalion Center 5,500
2 Memorial Hospital 3,331
3 Harrison County School District 1,802
4 Island View Casino 1,206
5 Hancock Bank 864
6 Gulfport School District 900
7 Mississippi Power 728
8 Gulf Coast Shipyard Group 650
9 Gulf Ship, LLC 650
10 Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center 636

Tourism

From its beginnings as a lumber port, Gulfport evolved into a diversified city. With about 6.7 miles (10.7 kilometres) of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport has become a tourism destination, due in large part to Mississippi's coast casinos. Gulfport has served as host to popular cultural events such as the "World's Largest Fishing Rodeo," "Cruisin' the Coast" (a week of classic cars), “Black Spring Break” and "Smokin' the Sound" (speedboat races). Gulfport is a thriving residential community with a strong mercantile center. There are historic neighborhoods and home sites, as well as diverse shopping opportunities and several motels scattered throughout to accommodate golfing, gambling, and water-sport tourism. Gulfport is also home to the Island View Casino, one of twelve casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Education

HarrisonCosdhq
Harrison County School District headquarters
Gulfport MS library 001
Upstairs in Gulfport Public Library

The City of Gulfport is served by the Gulfport School District and the Harrison County School District. The Harrison County Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is also located in Gulfport.

Before Hurricane Katrina, William Carey University had a satellite campus in Gulfport. In 2009, the university moved to its new Tradition Campus, constructed off Mississippi Highway 67 in north Harrison County.

The Gulf Park Campus of the University of Southern Mississippi is located in Long Beach, just west of Gulfport. In 2012, repairs and renovations to campus buildings were still in progress following extensive damage in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.

Infrastructure

Law enforcement

U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard operates 9 boats out of the port of Gulfport 4 of which are Patrol Boats. The Gulfport station has 110 members which include Active, Reserve and Coast Guard Auxiliary who respond to an average of 300 search and rescue cases annually.

Fire protection and EMS

Gulfport Fire Department

The Gulfport Fire Department was founded in 1908 and currently provides fire suppression, HAZMAT response, and technical rescue services within the city limits of Gulfport, Mississippi . The GFD operates out of 11 active stations and is staffed by professional firefighters. The GFD works in conjunction with American Medical Response for EMS related emergencies.

Transportation

Air

Gulfport/Biloxi and the Gulf Coast area is served by the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

Roads

Major roads and highways serve Gulfport. Interstate 10 runs east-west through the middle section of Gulfport. U.S. 90, following the coast in this region, runs east-west through the downtown area. U.S. 49 from the north terminates in Gulfport.

Trains

Until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Amtrak's Sunset Limited from Los Angeles to Orlando made stops in Gulfport station. Well into the 1960s, the Louisville and Nashville ran several trains daily, making stops in Gulfport--Crescent, Gulf Wind, Humming Bird, Pan-American and Piedmont Limited-- varied destinations including New Orleans, Cincinnati, Atlanta, New York City and Jacksonville.

Notable people

  • Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, former NBA point guard for the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies
  • Stacey Abrams, American politician, lawyer, and author
  • Thomas H. Anderson, Jr., Ambassador of the United States to Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Vincent, and St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla from 1984 to 1986, was born in Gulfport
  • Tommy Armstrong, Jr., quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers
  • Jerome Barkum, former wide receiver and tight end for the New York Jets from 1972 to 1983 in the National Football League
  • Milton Barney, 1990 AFL Ironman of the Year
  • William Joel Blass, attorney and educator
  • Timmy Bowers, professional basketball player
  • Rod Davis, professional football player, played for the Minnesota Vikings
  • Brett Favre, quarterback in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, born in Gulfport
  • William H. Hardy, co-founder of the city of Gulfport
  • Josh Hayes, professional motorcycle roadracer, AMA Superbike Championship title winner
  • William Gardner Hewes, politician and Mayor of Gulfport
  • Jonathan Holder, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Boyce Holleman, attorney, politician and actor
  • Jaimoe, original member and drummer of the Allman Brothers Band, grew up in Gulfport
  • Joseph T. Jones, co-founder of the city of Gulfport
  • Matt Lawton, former Major League Baseball player best known for his stint with the Minnesota Twins
  • Matt Luke, former head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels football team of the University of Mississippi.
  • Stanford Morse (1926-2002), member of the Mississippi State Senate, 1956–1964; Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 1963.
  • Brittney Reese, long jumper, Olympic gold medalist
  • John C. Robinson (1905-1954), “The Brown Condor”, aviator and civil rights activist
  • Stuart Roosa, Colonel, US Air Force, Apollo 14 astronaut, Command Module Pilot. Brought seeds to moon that germinated in space
  • Tiffany Travis, former WNBA Basketball player, played for Charlotte Sting
  • Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, former Poet Laureate of the United States, and Professor at Emory University, born in Gulfport
  • Tim Young, professional baseball player, played for the Montreal Expos and the Boston Red Sox

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