Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cottages on Farmer Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Farmer Street is one of Vicksburg's historic streets, lined with late-1800s and early 20th century cottages. Some are nicely restored, but some are dilapidated. But at least it is vibrant - people live here, and only a few properties are abandoned.  Let's take a tour, starting at the corner of Farmer and 1st East Streets, and proceed north.
735 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
No. 735 is a substantial house with long porch facing Farmer Street.  Although the address is Farmer Street, the main entrance is unused and a sign directs visitors to the side entrance on 1st East.
728 Farmer Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Interior of 728 Farmer Street
Parlor of 728 Farmer Street
The old house at 728 is abandoned.  This house resembles many others in hilly Vicksburg: the main door faces the street on the upper level, while the rear of the house is way up off the ground.  In some cases, the main floor was elevated on posts, while others, like this one, had a partial basement.  In this house, the walls were brick with a facing of plaster, and the original small fireplace is still present.  This would have been for a coal insert.  Vicksburg, being a railroad town, had coal available for winter heating. (This led to burning embers in the air, which led to roof fires, which led to the widespread adoption of  asbestos roof shingles in the 1920s and 1930s.)
726 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
726 Farmer Street is a duplex, now rather rough. The roof eave is faced with asbestos shingles, probably installed in the 1920s or 1930s at the same time that the roof was covered with similar shingles. Asbestos shingles (really a concrete matrix strengthened with asbestos fibers) were popular because they were fireproof, held paint well, and needed little maintenance. The siding is newer aluminum, now peeling off.
725 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
The cottage at 725 has a screened porch, and you can't see details of the house.
507 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
507 is a handsome Victorian-era cottage with nicely-done paint.  The shingles in the eaves may be original. Hmmm, will a contemporary McMansion still have its original siding in 120 years? Will it even be standing?
618 Farmer Street, Vicksburg - possible haunted house?
Around the time when I took the photographs of 618 (on Kodachrome film with a Nikon camera), an article in the Vicksburg Post said the house was reputed to be haunted.  I think someone planned to give tours, but I am not sure if they ever happened. Regardless, it was a substantial Victorian-era house in need of restoration.  Note this is another example of a house built on a steep hill where the front door is on the upper level.
506 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
One block north is the 500 block. 506 is a nice little cottage behind a huge cedar tree.
504 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
504 is a well-used, with cars parked on the yard.
502 Farmer Street, Vicksburg.
502 was occupied by one or more families with energetic basketball players. The  kids asked me to take their portraits.
My friends from Farmer Street.
This fellow wanted his portrait, too.
I made prints for the kids and took them to their house.
417 Farmer Street, Vicksburg in 2013.
417 Farmer Street in 2003 (Kodachrome film).
417 Farmer Street is an immaculate little cottage. Now it is yellow, but in 2003, it was a cheerful green.
415 Farmer Street, Vicksburg
413 Farmer Street
413 and 415 are on the east side of the street.  The land rises on this side, so the houses have steep yards.
1207a Randolph Street
On Randolph Street, a couple of shotgun shacks have been restored and are available for rent. This neighborhood proves that older houses can be restored and used. Isn't this better than tearing them down?

All 2013 photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera with Fuji 27mm lens or a manual-focus Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/3.5 Auto-Macro lens (amazingly sharp).  Some frames processed with PhotoNinja software.  The 2003 photographs were Kodachrome 25 taken with a Nikon F3 camera and a 35mm PC-Nikkor lens.

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