Nancy Bell, Foundation Executive Director
In any city, there are landmark
buildings that contribute to the city’s history, both through the
function that they perform and their architecture. Examples include
the downtown YMCA, the Hotel Vicksburg, the Aeolian Apartments, Trustmark National Bank (First National Bank), old Merchant’s
National Bank (Piazza-Botto Building), National Park Hotel (Piazza
Hotel), Carroll Hotel, Washington Hotel, City Hall, Mississippi
River Commission Building (old post office), Warren County Court House, The
Old Court House, Joy Theater, Craig-Flowers Home, Jewish Synagogue,
and many, many more.
As we live, we interact daily
with these buildings, they become part of us and once gone, there is
a little of us that is also gone. What is important is that a
building is gone forever and no one in the future will be able to
enjoy or interact with it. In many ways we have become a throw-away
society. It costs more to fix a VCR than to get a new one.
Unfortunately to some, buildings are often thought of that way as
Oftentimes, rather than put
money into a building and adapt it for a new use, we think that new
is better and we tear down. Many times, the lot remains vacant or a
new building is built in a design and materials that will not
survive the test of time.
Over the years, there have been
a number of catalysts for demolition. Probably the most significant
in terms of number is the Urban Renewal program in the 1970s, when
literally hundreds of buildings were demolished in and around the
downtown area. Buildings including the National Park Hotel, Carroll
Hotel, Washington Hotel, Masonic Lodge (corner of Washington and
Grove), Piazza-Botto Building, and buildings in the entire 1000
block of North Washington Street.
Another was the tornado of 1953
which completely destroyed some commercial and residential
buildings, damaged or destroyed upper stories of commercial
buildings, and damaged some buildings to a point that they were
structurally unstable, necessitating their demolition.
Most important now is demolition
for redevelopment instead of adaptive use of the building.
Unfortunately once the building is in disrepair, a simple solution
In our “Vicksburg in Peril”
section, we will highlight significant buildings which we believe
are threatened with demolition, demolition by neglect or the owner
is seeking the opportunity to develop the site. When you look at
the photographs on our site you will get an idea of the wealth of
our city in terms of the significant number of buildings that
You will also note from the
photos of buildings that are gone, that our community has lost and
continues to lose a significant portion of this collection. That
which has always made Vicksburg unique is its connection with the
past, whether it is the National Military Park, the Old Mississippi
River Bridge, the Mississippi River, antebellum homes, tree-shaded
streets such as Chambers and Drummond lined with historic
residences, National and Polk streets with their wealth of 1930s
bungalow homes or Farmer and Locust streets with their rich mix of
turn-of-the-century architectural styles.
To us, Vicksburg is a national
treasure and we want to do what it takes to keep our remaining
historic buildings. We hope that you will join us in this mission
and will become a member, restore a building, encourage your
children to appreciate the tangible history that surrounds them, and
voice your support for the preservation of our community’s
architectural heritage when it is needed.
Should you have any questions
regarding historic preservation or the Foundation, please do not
hesitate to call me at 601-636-5010 or email us at