Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lost architecture: Pearl Street, Vicksburg

Pearl Street is one of Vicksburg's older streets and one of its more interesting. It parallels the railroad line, which has run along here since before the Civil War. The architecture ranges from beautiful bed-and-breakfast homes to shotgun shacks. In the photograph above, the brick building to the left once housed Tuminello's Restaurant. It has been closed since the 1990s and the building stands empty. Visitors who have not been here recently occasionally ask me about it.
The land drops off quite steeply to the west, as you can see in this view of no. 1806. Like many early 20th century Vicksburg houses, the builders placed the front at ground level and had no qualms about supporting the rear on stilts, often 10 or 12 ft above the ground. This building has been razed. Houses can no longer be built on these steep lots anywhere in town.
Number 1804 was its neighbor, seen here in a 2002 photograph. It, too, has been razed.
At one time, there must have been tens of shotgun houses facing the tracks, but most have been torn down. The two above are at 2302 and 2304 (all square photographs are from a Rolleiflex camera using Kodak Ektar 25 film).
No. 2330 is a classic neighborhood store. In an era before people had private cars, the city had dozens of stores like this serving neighborhoods, but most have closed now.
Many of the houses on the 2400 and 2500 block dated from the late 1800s or early 20th century. One by one they have been torn down. The one above is no. 2414.
1997 photograph of 2521 Pearl Street, taken on Agfa Scala film.

The two houses above are 2515 and 2521. They had a view over the tracks and the railroad yard further down the hill along Levee Street. During the steam era, coal smoke must have deposited grime whenever a locomotive puffed by. Now the residents have to listen to the deafening horns of the diesel locomotives.
These two cottages above (nos 2529 and 2531) were identical architecture and are now gone. They were near the corner of Pearl and Fairground Street. Fairground will be the subject of a future essay.
No. 2607 was a handsome duplex.
Further north, near the former Vicksburg Lumber Co., was a trio of shotguns, nos. 2004, 2006, and 2008. As of 2016, the one on the right has been razed, and the two others are empty.

The photographs above are from a variety of early-vintage digital cameras and from film. The square frames are scans of Kodak Ektar 25 film shot through a Rolleiflex medium-format camera.

 UPDATE JULY 2021:  For a more complete inventory of Pearl Street houses, please click the links below

South of Fairground Street

Central section

North of Klein Street