PASCAGOULA, Miss. – The City of Pascagoula has been designated an American World War II Heritage City by the National Park Service. The American World War II Heritage Cities Program honors the contributions of local towns, cities, counties, and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America’s war effort during World War II. Only one American World War II Heritage City can be designated in each state. Pascagoula is one of just 19 communities in the country who have received the designation.
“This is such a tremendous honor to recognize the important role Pascagoula played in American history,” said Mayor Jay Willis. “From the very start, Pascagoula embraced the war effort. We went into debt to build a shipyard when America was not yet at war. We opened our homes to the strangers flooding into town. We built streets, schools, utilities, and recreation facilities to handle the explosion in population.”
World War II transformed Pascagoula from a depression era fishing village into the industrial powerhouse it is today. The shipyard built in 1938 by Robert Ingalls under Mississippi’s Balance Agriculture with Industry Plan gave thousands of Mississippians their first real chance to move into the manufacturing sector of our economy, get a steady, good-paying job, and provide a good life for their families.
“In four years, our little shrimping and boatbuilding town had become a major industrial power and today we are the nation’s premier military shipbuilding center,” said Mayor Willis. “World War II transformed Pascagoula on a fundamental level and that is our true World War II heritage. We appreciate the National Park Service for recognizing and honoring the important impact Pascagoula made and continues to make on our national security.”
The World War II Heritage Cities program was established by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 to recognize the historic importance of the United States domestic involvement in World War II and ensure the continued preservation of a defining period in American history.