Marshall Park is a cute little park located right off of Washington Avenue, across from the L & N Depot, in Historic Ocean Springs. This park is well manicured and has great southern charm and appeal. The Gazebo is the center piece of the park. Benches are arranged around the park and can be great spot to get off your feet for a few minutes in Downtown Ocean Springs.
Marshall Park has not changed that much since it was established 100 years ago as a project of the Ocean Springs Civic Federation. Charles Marshall, superintendent of the New Orleans and Mobile Division of the L&N Railroad, authorized the federation’s stewardship of land west of the L&N Depot for a public park. The group paid rent of $1 per year to create the park. To honor Charles Marshall’s contribution, the park was named after him. Public use began in August 1911 with walking paths, seating, a fish pond, and water faucets. The Ocean Springs Brass Band would play each week during the summer months in the bandstand.
The bandstand was moved in the late 1920s to an area near Aunt Jenny’s Restaurant. In the early 1970s, there was a movement in the city to preserve Marshall Park. The property was purchased by Eleanor Bradford Lemon in 1974 and the old bandstand was moved back to Marshall Park in 1989. In 1998, Lemon donated the park to the city of Ocean Springs and gave HOSA a 40-year lease for stewardship.
Marshall Park celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. Members of the Historic Ocean Springs Association, more commonly known as HOSA, hosted a Centennial Celebration of Marshall Park on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. They wore replicas of ribbon decorated straw hats to give an authentic feel to an era when a brass band performed weekly during the summer season. The Walter Anderson Players presented vignettes portraying historic figures from the city’s last 100 years. Margaret Reynolds took photos of people posing in the antique car on the grounds. Children made chalk drawings on the sidewalks and color drawings of the park will help from the Ocean Springs Art Association. The world-traveled Ocean Springs Chorale presented songs from the past 100 years. Sonia Cowart and Ray Bellande displayed old postcards of the area.
Fun Fact: Sonia Cowart, a member of HOSA and collector of old postcards of Ocean Springs, has this postcard of Marshall Park, taken around 1919. It shows an iron fence made of railroad boiler tube sections that was erected to keep free range livestock from damaging the grounds. (Contributing information from Susan Ruddiman, The Mississippi Press)
Address: on the corner of Washington Avenue, on your left as you go over railroad tracks.
City: Ocean Springs
Accessibility: accessible sidewalk to the gazebo for viewing; the gazebo has no accessible ramp