Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Margaret's Grocery, Vicksburg, Mississippi: the Early Days
Margaret's Grocery at 4535 North Washington Street is an amazing piece of folk art crafted by the Reverend H.D."Preacher" Dennis. Many people have photographed the site, including the talented local photographer Marty Kittrell (see his blog), but I would like to add some photographs from my 1980s and 1990s archives. This first photograph is from December 1985, soon after H.D. married Margaret Rogers. At that time, it really was a local grocery store catering to nearby residents from the Kings neighborhood. There were just a few of the hand-crafted decorations that later transformed the humble shop.
Here is a 1990 detail of one of the towers.
Here is an April 1996 photograph, with a yellow motif along the roof line. The Coca Cola signs along the awning have been painted over.
Along with the exterior, Rev. Dennis was working on the inside. He eventually covered almost the entire ceiling and most of the walls with flowers, clocks, paintings, crosses, and things I can't name. This was a badly underexposed Kodachrome slide from 2002 that took some effort to scan and bring out details from the darkest areas.
I am not sure when the famous bus appeared on the property, but it was there in 2002, already decorated. This was another difficult Kodachrome to scan because the windows were overexposed while the ceiling was dark. Nowadays, digital imaging handles the exposure range much more gracefully.
Margaret passed away in 2010 and the Rev. Dennis had to move to a nursing home. Since then, vandals have stolen art and architectural features, and rain and weathering are taking their toll. In a later blog I will show readers what the Gro looks like today. The Vicksburg Post has featured Margaret's Grocery several times over the years, with the most recent article on 15 August, 2010.
Back in the 1980s, North Washington Street had a number of odd places to see. Here is a former Corvair junk yard. I wonder where they all went? People restore Corvairs now.