Seafood Museum to explore Isle of Caprice

Longtime Biloxian Susan Hunt, whose family owned and operated the fabled Isle of Caprice casino resort, will be one of the featured speakers Thursday when the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum unveils an exhibit focusing on the island that was 12 miles off the Coast of Biloxi.

The free reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Point Cadet museum on Thursday.

Also speaking will be Louis Skrmetta. His family operates Ship Island Excursions, a ferry service that got its start transporting passengers to and from the Isle of Caprice.

The island was a popular tourist attraction in the mid- to late 1920s before a fire destroyed the buildings and the island disappeared below the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Seafood Museum’s Isle of Caprice exhibit will run through Nov. 15.

Walter Henry ‚ÄúSkeet‚ÄĚ Hunt, Susan Hunt’s grandfather, and two other men pooled their resources to open a resort called the Isle of Caprice 12 miles from the mainland. The island was about three miles long and a quarter-mile wide, with large sand dunes, sea oats and sea turtle nesting.

The businessmen constructed a raised pavilion that housed a casino, dance hall, restaurant and bath houses.  Flanking the pavilion and connected by boardwalks were cabanas to accommodate guests staying overnight or longer.  Electrical power for the entire complex was provided by a gasoline generator.

Ninety years ago, the formal opening was set for May 30, 1926, according to the seafood museum.  Transportation was provided by the Pan American, owned by Pete Skrmetta.  It would leave Baltar’s Pier in Biloxi daily at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and had return trips at 6:30 p.m. and midnight.  Round trip fare was $1 with music on board.

The seafood museum exhibit is made possible by sponsors Susan D. Hunt and Martha Hunt Tripp, granddaughters of Skeet Hunt; the Skrmetta Family; Ship Island Excursions; and a Tidelands Grant from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.
Visit the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum website
See a photo of the Isle of Caprice on city Facebook page


News and notes

A night of memories: Nearly 500 people were in the Slavonian Lodge on Friday night to see the multi-media presentation that chronicled the life and times of F. “Yankie” Barhanovich and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Biloxi Municipal Stadium concerts, which featured James Brown and others. To see photos from the Slavonian Lodge affair, click here.

Dance #1: The Parks and Recreation Department will hold its free annual Special Needs Back to School Hoorah Dance on Friday, Aug. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center.  To see the flyer, click here.

Dance #2:¬†Looking for some of that oldtime rock ‘n’ roll, Biloxi-style? Nick Mattina and The Checkmates, once a fixture at the old Upstairs-Downstairs in the Vieux Marche, will headline the Slavonian Lodge Summer Dance on Saturday beginning at 8 p.m.¬† Tickets are $25 per couple and $15 per person.¬† For more information, contact Gwyn Diaz at 228-861-5618.

The week that was, Part 1: To find detailed reports from the Fire, Police and Community Development departments, covering the week of Aug. 1-7, click here.

The week that was, Part 2: ¬†The city’s Public Affairs manager discussed many of the big issues in Biloxi at the moment in an appearance on “WLOX News This Week” on Sunday morning. To see the nine-minute segment, click here.