The Vicksburg Foundation for Historic
Preservation was founded in 1958 by Eva Davis. Ms. Davis had
founded the Warren County Historical Society and had helped to save
the Old Court House from demolition.
The Old Court House
In the 1950s, historic
buildings were seriously threatened with extinction and Ms. Davis
believed that an organization dedicated to preservation, such as the
National Trust for Historic Preservation, needed to be formed in
Vicksburg. A group of like-minded people established the
organization and, in 1959, the Foundation was chartered.
Since its inception, the VFHP has
worked tirelessly to identify, preserve, protect, and interpret
Vicksburg's built environment. Though a series of Certified
Local Government Grants, the Foundation staff and volunteers have
inventoried over 2800 historic resources within the City limits.
Typical Vicksburg Historic
VFHP completed forms, photographed these buildings and maintains
files on each. In addition, we have completed four National
Register District nominations resulting in the listing of the
following in the National Register of Historic Places.
South Cherry Street National
Uptown Vicksburg National
Main Street National Register
Grove-Jackson Street National
Circle-Vicklan Street National Register District
These districts include
approximately 500 resources which, if contributing to the district,
qualify the structure for certain federal and state tax credits.
The Foundation staff has also completed individual nominations for
the National Register for many historically and architecturally
significant buildings in Vicksburg.
buildings can be accomplished through a variety of means, namely
purchasing or optioning a building that is in danger of being
demolished or being renovated for a purpose that would damage the
historic fabric of the building.
has purchased a number of buildings including the Governor McNutt
House, the Lorraine Apartments, the Bazsinsky Stables, and the old
Western Auto buildings, and have stabilized each and sold them to
individuals who would rehabilitate them.
worked with the City of Vicksburg in the 1980s to purchase three
buildings along north Cherry Street that were slated for demolition
by the City. We sold the buildings to an investor who
rehabilitated the houses and they remain residences today.
In the 1990s,
when St. Francis School moved to Clay Street and the Sisters of
Mercy moved out of their complex of buildings on Crawford Street, the
Foundation purchased an option from the Sisters. The property
had been the focus of a group of investors who wished to develop the
buildings for a purpose that would have damaged its integrity. The Foundation believed that the highest and best
use for the property was not low income housing, but something that
took advantage of the unique spaces available in each of the five
City of Vicksburg purchased the property at the end of the option
and, with the help of a committee of like-minded individuals, the
Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation was organized to rehabilitate
the buildings into a cultural center.
In order to protect buildings,
the Foundation helped to established the Historic Vicksburg District
under a historic preservation ordinance of the City of Vicksburg.
Since 1973, the Vicksburg Board of Architectural Review has approved
Certificates of Appropriateness for exterior work proposed in the
District. The purpose of the preservation ordinance is to
ensure that the character of the District is not destroyed.
The Foundation continues to provide support to the Board on
technical issues, updates the ordinance as required, and has written
the design review guidelines.
The Foundation interprets the
built environment through a variety of programs. These include
architectural walking tours, lectures, printed materials, and Fall
Tour of Homes, and other events and programs to encourage the
recognition of the importance of historic preservation and need to
preserve and protect Vicksburg's architectural heritage.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum
In 1979, the Biedenharn family
restored the building at 1107 Washington Street which housed the
Biedenharn Candy Company where Coca-Cola was bottled for the first
time in the world in 1894. The family and the Foundation
worked with Coca-Cola Enterprises to install exhibits interpreting
the history of the Biedenharns and Coca-Cola and the family gave the
building to the Foundation to operate as a lasting memorial to the
family and as a fundraising tool for the support of historic
preservation in our community.
www.biedenharncoca-colamuseum.com to learn more about the
family, Coca-Cola and the museum.
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