Thursday, May 31, 2018

Footloose around Vicksburg, Mississippi, with Kodak Ektar 25 Color Film

Dear readers, I had one last roll of the long-discontinued Kodak Ektar 25 color negative film in 120 size. I loaded it in the Hasselblad and wandered around Vicksburg. The Ektar is quite contrasty, so I prefer to use it when the light is overcast, or, best of all, foggy or rainy. Vicksburg offers plenty of topography and interesting architecture, so we will take a semi-random tour around town. (Click any photograph to enlarge it).
Clay Street, Vicksburg, view east, 250mm Sonnar lens.
Let us start this short tour with Clay Street, a major east-west thoroughfare. This is the first view of Vicksburg that many tourists see when they exit I-20. A friend called this the ugliest street in America. That is a bit harsh, but much of it certainly qualifies as the typical ghastly American commercial strip with crummy fast food joints, steel buildings, car parts stores, and Dollar stores.
My friends at Warfield's Servicenter kindly let me take pictures. They have kept the family cars running for many years. Highly recommended.
Jackson Street, Vicksburg, view east, 250mm Sonnar lens.
Three blocks to the north is Jackson Street, which still retains its brick paving blocks. Many of the houses are a century old. The photograph shows how the street follows the hills and valleys of the local terrain.
Walnut Street is also in the oldest part of town. This is a 1992 photograph I found in my archives.
Veto Street runs from Monroe Street (behind me) west towards Mulberry Street. It is an odd curved road. Did a streetcar once run on it? This 1992 photograph shows the Warren County library in the distance. I took it from the roof of the former Vicksburg Hospital. The hospital was demolished two decades ago and the Vicksburg police station in now on this footpad.
Former "Colored Motel," US 80, east of Mount Albans Road, 50mm Distagon lens.
Before the interstate was built in the early 1970s, Highway US 80 was the main road between Vicksburg and Jackson. Just east of the intersection with Mount Albans road, a pink motel is almost covered with kudzu. In the early 1980s, you could still see a big sign stating "Colored Motel." Somewhere in my negatives I may have a photograph, but that is a project for another day.
East of town on Culkin Road is the former Culkin Academy. It has been empty for at least two decades. A worm farmer rented the premises for a few years.
In downtown Vicksburg, the neighborhood near the junction of Marcus Street and Halls Ferry Road is known as Marcus Bottom. Many of the cottages here have been demolished over the years.  This photograph is from the Halls Ferry Road bridge where it crosses Stouts Bayou.
These shotgun houses are on East Avenue. The slope in the foreground drops down into Stouts Bayou.
Grammar Street once had 10 or 12 of these little shotgun houses. Only two remain now. Even a decade ago, they were pretty nasty.
Union Avenue descends from Sherman Avenue south towards the Vicksburg Military Park. This is not the Union Avenue within the park, but possibly it once connected in the era when there were multiple park entrances. And this outside Union Avenue is a bit odd. The west side is City of Vicksburg, while the east side is Warren County. Residents on the west get their water from the City, while residents on the east get it from Culkin Water District. The old Chevrolet and the house with blue tarp roof in the photographs above are in Warren County.
I found a 2010 photograph of this same Bellaire. Since then it moved across the street to the Warren County side.
Ford Road, Vicksburg, March 16, 2018
Near the flood crest, March 16, 2018.
Young Alley (off Ford Road), March 16, 2018.
Finally, here are some scenes from the spring flood, when high water forced some of the residents in the Ford subdivision to evacuate. The crest on the Vicksburg Gage was 49.90 ft on 03/16/2018 (from the National Weather Service). This area west of North Washington Street and just north of the Anderson Tully wood mill has always been vulnerable to flooding. Over the years, many houses have been bought via a FEMA program and demolished.

These photographs were taken on Kodak Ektar 25 film with a Hasselblad 501CM camera, with 50mm, 80mm, and 250mm Zeiss lenses. All pictures were tripod-mounted. The film was expired and the colors are off. My scanner software does not have a profile for Ektar 25, so I use the Ektar 100 one instead. Is it "accurate?" Who knows? Can you really remember how the scene looked weeks after you were on the site? If you want boring perfection and "accuracy," use digital.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As an architect (now retired),I am greatly intrigued by the term "shotgun house".

This sort of photography is history and more of it should be encouraged. It will be valuable for future architectural historians.

Maybe a future post with a detailed explanation and of course more photos?