Thursday, June 16, 2016

Condemned in Vicksburg, Mississippi

On May 28, a short article in the Vicksburg Post listed six houses that would be razed. The article (quoted below) said these would be the first houses demolished since 2014. I took a quick trip around town to check on the properties and record them before they were gone and forgotten. I have also included photographs of other houses torn down recently.
No. 2511 Cedar Street is a cottage at the corner of Military Ave. and Cedar Street. Part of the building suffered a fire.
The inside was a mess with papers strewn about and an abandoned mattress.
Bridge Street is one of Vicksburg's oldest neighborhoods. It is on a hill just north of the Kansas City Southern railroad cut and south of the hill that one held a water tank, now replaced with a cell tower. Most of the cottages appear to be late-1800s. No. 809 was a cottage made of concrete blocks cast in the form of limestone blocks. The vines were taking over. I spoke to the lady who lived to the left, and she complained about the jungle infringing on her lot.
The inside was a mess, there had been a fire, and some of the roof collapsed. Note the beautiful fireplace tiles. These should be recycled. And notice the lath under the plaster walls. As of June 14, the house is gone.
This is an example of the concrete blocks with a rough texture pattern like limestone. Note that this was hand-mixed concrete that used rounded river rock in the aggregate.
On the lot to the right (east), the cheerful yellow wood house at 815 Bridge burned in 2013 and was torn down.
Heading northeast, 605 Howard Street is a bit hard to find, at the junction of Howard and East Main Streets. This is another example of a condemned house where the former inhabitants may have left in a hurry, leaving possessions behind.
The inside looked reasonably intact.
No. 1633 Jackson Street was a trailer. These are common in the county but rare within the city limits.
Next door, 1617 Jackson Street was almost covered with vines but was not on the demolish list in the Vicksburg Post article.
This is a 2012 photograph of Jackson Street looking west with the cottage at 1617 on the right, not yet engulfed by vines.
Stouts Bayou crosses under Jackson Street here, passing through a 1920-vintage brick arch. Much of the riverbed in the bayou needs cleaning and re-concreting, but the City has been unable (or unwilling) to obtain right-of-way for access.
Jumping back to 2014, this was a derelict store at 2728 Drummond, also right next to Stouts Bayou.
In 2015, an old house at 1520 Marcus Street burned. It is another historic Vicksburg neighborhood that has lost numerous houses in the last 15 years.
This church has been at 906 Yazoo Street for many years.
This is the same church in 1996 (from an Agfa Scala slide taken with a Leica M3 camera). This neighborhood is south of Army-Navy Drive, beyond the City of Vicksburg's shops and garages. Many of the houses have been demolished and there simply are fewer residents in this area than there were decades ago.
No. 840 Buck Street is also gone. This is a 2010 photograph taken on Kodak Panatomic-X film with a Fuji GW690II camera.
As I wrote in a previous article, all these cottages on Marys Alley have been demolished. They were in a flood zone and were inundated whenever the Mississippi River rose above approx. 47 ft on the Vicksburg gauge. This is also Panatomic-X film.
No. 1412 Jackson Street was a nice Victorian cottage in another one of Vicksburg's historical neighborhoods.
Finally, I did find one 2015 demolition in my photographs. This was a brick-fronted cottage at 816 Walnut Street. My friends and I saw the tractor at work on a Sunday when we rode by on bicycles.

Among the recent group of demolitions listed in the Post, I missed the house at 1216 Fayette Street before it was razed.

The 2012 and 2016 photographs were taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera; the older black and white photographs on film. A few others were from a Nexus 4 phone.

Board votes to raze six buildings
Published 10:27 pm Friday, May 27, 2016

Six vacant and derelict buildings in the city will soon be going down.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Wednesday approved contracts with two construction companies totaling $23,150 to raze the houses, which city officials have said are a threat to the health and safety of their neighborhoods.

“All of these houses have been approved by the board for demolition,” said Community Development Director Victor Gray-Lewis.

The six buildings, at 605 Howard St., 1633 Jackson St., 809 Bridge Street, 2511 Cedar St., 906 Yazoo St. and 1216 Fayette Street, are the first to be taken down since 2014.

The board has been hiring private contractors for several years to raze houses targeted by the city for demolition. The companies submit bids on the projects and the lowest bids for each project are selected.

The city at one time used public works employees to take the structures down, and charged property owners a fee based on a combination of the employees’ hourly rate and the cost of using the equipment. The equipment charge was based on a fee scale used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse local governments for using equipment to clean up after disasters.

The practice stopped because of an increase of project involving city infrastructure.


  1. All of these break my heart but especially the rock faced concrete block structure. The shell looks to be in such great shape.

  2. Sad, very sad. Renee Cariglia