by Dan Ellis
The Pass Christian Tarpon Beacon newspaper announced in September 1937 that a camp for girls was to be constructed at Pass Christian’s East Beach in the East 1400 block. It was comprised of a Gulf shore frontage of 337 feet, and the camp grounds extended northward to the L&N railroad tracks. Miss Lillian Van Tucker had acquired the 12-acre site with plans to have five log-house cabins built in order to accommodate about 100 girls. Once ground clearing and construction was completed, the Camp was made ready for the Spring of 1938.
Eventually, there were 8 spacious log cabins that were equipped with showers and bathroom facilities, – and three-quarter width beds. The buildings were screened and well-lighted. At the center of camp life, was a beautiful Lodge facing the Gulf that was complete with screened porches both at the front and the back. The interior had a large recreation room with a raised stage for camp dramatics and other programs. Also, there was a library corner and a huge open stone fire-place for campfires. The Lodge also accommodated a dining room with an open fireplace.
In addition, dietary menus were selected for diet control and healthfulness. A special table was provided for over-weight girls and another diet plan established for under-weight girls that included an extra treat of a special food plate before bedding down.
Co-owner management was administered by Miss Lillian Van Tucker and Mr. and Mrs. Vassar Anderson. They staffed the Summer Camp with experienced counselors who headed programs such as: Tennis, Golf, Archery, Fencing, Swimming, Sailing, Horse-back riding, Recreational dancing, and Arts and Crafts.
Besides a fresh artesian water pool on the front lawn, there was a long pier that extended into the Gulf with a “U” shaped dock at its end. The girls could swim and dive off two different level boards into a salty deep hole that was dredged out of the Mississippi Sound. There were sailing crafts, row boats and canoes for other water sports. From the pier they could also bait crab traps to catch fresh seafood. At evening campfires there was group singing, skits, and barbeque cook-outs.
During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Camp Kittiwake offered Boys’ Camp as well as Girls’ Camp with different schedules during the year. In 1955, the Kittiwake campsite was taken over by the Baptist Assembly Center and continued the campsite for several years.
Kittiwake Baptist Church was established on January 4, 1981, and built its church on Second Street in 1984 situated on three acres of the former Kittiwake Baptist Assembly grounds. It was during these years that the remaining site became a residential area comprised of approximately 14 homes that carry the subdivision name of Kittiwake.
KITTIWAKE SONG: Where the sea winds are blowing… That’s Kittiwake, Where pine trees are singing… That’s Kittiwake, Where the moon shines down on silver sands, And the sea gulls’ cry is heard; Where the beams of our cabins inspired our hearts To be strong and reflect our lives, We will ‘er be true to Kittiwake. True to you. From 1939 Catalog