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Gulf Hills, Mississippi, Photograph Album

Identifier: M558

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of one album and twenty-four images, most of which were taken by Alfred A. Heldt. Photographs portray the golf course, clubhouse, scenic views of the property, and the workers who helped develop the site. There is also a photograph of the train depot in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Many of these images were likely taken for the purpose of property development and advertising.


  • circa 1925-1930s
  • 1994


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Albert A. Heldt (1882-1927+) was born in Indiana, and in 1918 he was residing at the Shelby Hotel in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. According to his WWI Draft Registration form from Forrest County, Mississippi, Heldt was a self-employed photographer. In 1926-1927, Heldt made large photographic images of the Gulf Hills property north of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, working with Branigar Brothers of Chicago.

Developed by the Branigar Brothers in 1927, the Gulf Hills Golf Club was originally meant to be a winter retreat and/or retirement destination for wealthy northerners. The club has reputedly attracted people like Al Capone, and the community contains the remnants of a speak-easy and casino. A lounge called “The Pink Pony” existed in the clubhouse, frequented by singer Elvis Presley and other celebrities. During the mid-twentieth century, the club was popularized as a Dude Ranch. The residents of Gulf Hills purchased the golf club in 1998.


.45 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The Gulf Hills, Mississippi, Photograph Album Collection consists of an album of photographs taken by Alfred A. Heldt, who was employed by Branigar Brothers of Chicago during the development of the Gulf Hills Golf Club in Jackson County, Mississippi. This collection is of particular interest to researchers studying twentieth-century leisure and Mississippi history.


The materials in this collection have been kept in the original order in which they were received, though captions on the reverse side of many photographs indicate that the photographs have been moved out of order.


Ray Bellande.


Gulf Hills, Mississippi, Photograph Album, M558, Historical Manuscripts, Special Collections, The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.

"United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918", database with images, FamilySearch ( 23 August 2019), Albert Alfred Heldt, 1917-1918.

For additional sources, see External Documents below.

Photograph Log

M558-001 Ocean Springs Train Depot 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-002 Plot Plan, Floor Plan, and Front Elevation, Shourds and Bean Architects, Branigar Bros. Company (fabric blueprint) 16 x 18 Color ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-003 Gulf Hills, Development Map of Gulf of Mexico; Has quotation from golf course architect, Jack Daray Panorama B&W ca. 1926

M558-004 “Gulf Hills, truly one of the most beautiful…” 4 x 5 Newspaper ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-005 House and driveway, man standing in front of porch 11 x 16 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-006 Home shaded by trees 11 x 15 B&W ca.1920s-1930s

M558-007 Home and surrounding land, including golf course; see M558-006 Panorama B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-008 Sunset over water (Biloxi Bay?), trees in foreground 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-009 Shaded area in front of water (Biloxi Bay?) 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-010 Two men (possibly land developers) standing in grassy area 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s M558-011 Car between two live oak trees; man standing in front of Biloxi Bay 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-012 Clubhouse and surrounding area Panorama B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-013 View of Gulf Hills from clubhouse plaza, looking down to Biloxi Bay Panorama B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-014 Sand traps on golf course 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-015 Man standing in hilly terrain of golf course 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-016 Car on road 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-017 Workers on side of path; man / employer looking on 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-018 Back of car on road; see M558-016 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-019 Water spigot / faucet in ground 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-020 Water in foreground; crane in back 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-021 African American workers and horses digging / developing land 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-022 Workers, Segregated Photograph Panorama B&W ca. 1920s-1930s

M558-023 Pier over Biloxi Bay(?) 11 x 15 B&W ca. 1920s-1930s M558-024 Pier over water; H. Carl Byrd (b. 1922), whose father Hessie C. Byrd worked at Gulf Hills gave photograph to Ray Bellande, 1996 7 x 12.5 B&W March 23, 1926
Gulf Hills, Mississippi, Photograph Album
Collection processed and finding aid written by Jonathan Puckett
29 August 2019
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001