by Dan Ellis
Pass Christian has a number of subdivisions that were mostly started in the 1920s and afterwards, with a few having started even earlier. Because Pass Christian has historically sustained itself as a residential resort, some of these subdivisions vied with each other in striving to be better than their neighbors.
None, however, have the quality and uniqueness of Timber Ridge which didn’t get started until the late1960s-1970s, — primarily coming into its own after Hurricane Camille. With slow growth, the planned community has developed to be the signal most pleasant area in the city limits of Pass Christian. Its exclusivity as a Country Club environ is benefitted by 1300 residential lots that envelop the beautiful greens of the Pass Christian Isles Golf Club was started in the 1950s and became the private club that it is today.
Timber Ridge is of further consequence to its residents as having numerous canals and natural bayous that flow throughout, with direct access to St. Louis Bay, a number of tributary rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico.
It is further distinguished by an all-volunteer Board of Directors who act for the residents and lot owners through its Property Owners Association. These volunteers, through the years, have manifested a tradition of keeping the standards for communal living high while regarding the privacy and security for all its members. Almost a gated community, the assets are protected — the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the picnic grounds, and Treasure Point exists in a quiet cove with boat launches and additional picnic grounds and pier-fishing.
With the formation of the Mexican Gulf Land Development Corporation by Elliot and Leland Henderson in 1904, began a cycle of sales promotions of the areas now known as Henderson Point and Pass Christian Isles. However, due to a hurricane in 1906, followed by the onset of World War I, the project was slowed.
In July 1926, the Pass Christian Isles Company was formed which began dredging activity beginning at a few hundred feet north of the L&N Railroad tracks at Henderson Point and extended to Bayou Portage. The dredged soil and the excavated soil from the canals that were created, was used to build up the low spots that were lower than 12-feet above sea-level. The planned 1400-acre development was unique for the Mississippi Coast by creating a series of inland lagoons and waterways that made Pass Christian Isles.
In 1946, Wallace Walker of New Orleans bought the defunct Pass Christian Isles Company. Walker had the land re-surveyed, modified the plats, and subdivided Henderson Point into two legal subdivisions called Henderson Point Heights and Pass Christian Isles. Historic Henderson Point maintained its original area, developing as a residential and commercial area with gambling and entertainment establishments.
Walker later sold off the Timber Ridge property to a development combine named New South Corporation.
The Pass Christian Isles Golf Club was incorporated in 1952 and completed in 1953, the same year that the Henderson Point – Pass Christian Isles Civic Association was organized. Timber Ridge was developed slowly with vigorous land sales, but with scant residential construction during the early 1960s. After Hurricane Camille, sales promotion resulted in Pete Fountain cutting T.V. commercials, a grand celebration at Treasure Cove marina for the driving of pilings for an anticipated yacht club, and a parachutist jumping from a plane to land at the point of Bayou Boisdoré (Malini).
Due to the results of the storm in 1972, the City of Pass Christian rebuilt 61⁄2 miles of roads that Timber Ridge was dependent upon. Eventually, the transfer of assets was bestowed upon the Property Owners Association, being served up with a Silver Tray that was presented to then POA president, Dan D’Antoni.
During the mid-70s and early 80s, weekend evenings at the PCI Golf Club were hopping for the in-crowd from the surrounding area. Every month, a 19th-Hole party was organized and hosted by one or two of the local resident families. These gala affairs were festive and went on for hours on end, nurtured by food, drink, music, and dance.
In 1985, Timber Ridge was annexed by the City of Pass Christian. In 1995, the annual Timber Ridge Mardi Gras parade heralded its first “floats.” Also, in 1995, the very merry Christmas boat parade was started by the Pass Christian Isles folks — resulting in a stream of lighted boats that continues to create a fairyland on water.
In 1999, the “Italian Open” was inaugurated and has grown into an exciting weekend for all. As of 2013, there are 550 homes spread throughout the area.