Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Demolition of the Crawford Street Methodist Church Annex, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Crawford Street United Methodist Church (former Vicksburg Sanitarium?) Annex from South Street (50mm Summicron lens)
Vicksburg's Crawford Street United Methodist Church* extends over a large portion of the block between Crawford and South Streets in Vicksburg. A 3-story tall annex faced South Street. I think this annex was built in the early 20th century and was part of the Vicksburg Sanitarium (Street's Sanitarium, and later, the Sydney Building**. According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Historic Resources Inventory, in 1957 the "old building became Sydney House, a nursing home and apartments for the elderly. Sydney House closed in 1993. The general form and some exterior details of the original house were still visible on the facade of the building. The building burned in 1995 and was subsequently demolished. The Crawford Street UMC bought the property and the two buildings to the south (in the photograph above).

For many years, the lower floor of the annex housed a food bank, while the upper two floors were empty, as far as I know, through the early-2000s. A friend who volunteered at the food bank mentioned something about a kindergarten being in the upper floors at one time.
Sometime in 2018, the back wall of the annex building collapsed. While bicycling by in December, I saw a large backhoe and dumpsters. It was obvious that the old buildings were about to be demolished.
The workers started with the collapsed wall to the rear (the north side). Notice the interesting bridge between the two buildings.
Demolition, February 8, 2019
Once the tractor started working, the building came down quickly. I do not know if any of the old joists and timbers could be reused. I thought only the building to the left would be removed, but soon the second unit came down, as well. Now a field of gravel and bits of broken brick marks the footprint of the two buildings. I do not know if the area will be paved to expand the parking lot.
Former Carnegie Library, 819 South Street, Vicksburg
From the Cooper Postcard Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
The handsome Spanish Mission Revival building at 819 South Street, across the street from the annex parking lot, now houses the City of Vicksburg Planning Department. Built in 1916, this was the former Carnegie Library***. It is a handsome building that has been well-preserved by the City. Good job!


* The Crawford Street UMC has a distinguished history. According to the Millsaps College web page:
Organized in 1834, Crawford Street Methodist Church in Vicksburg, holds a unique position in the history of Methodism in Mississippi as well as the history of Vicksburg. On the church grounds is the burial site of Tobias Gibson (1776-1804) , first missionary circuit rider - The Father of Methodism in Mississippi - to the Mississippi Territory for the Methodist Church. Originally buried some few miles away, the monument and grave were moved to Crawford Street in 1935. Newitt Vick , on whose property Vicksburg was built, and his family were hosts to the First Methodist Conference in the Old Southwest in 1812. Openwood church where the Vicks worshipped, was to be the forerunner of the Methodist church in Vicksburg. In 1841 J. W. Vick sold the M.E.C. South the land where the present church stands. The building was dedicated in 1850, But a new structure was to be built in 1899. It burned on Palm Sunday, 1925. After temporary arrangements a new building was constructed in 1955.
Source: Jenkins, William L. Mississippi United Methodist Churches: Two Hundred Years of Heritage and Hope. Franklin, Tennessee: Providence House. 1998. This title is available in the J. B. Can Archives.

**  The Vicksburg Sanitarium, now gone, was built around 1910. From the National Register listing:
The Vicksburg Sanitarium. A four-story, stuccoed, flat-roofed building, facing north, which was built incorporating an 1830s residence. A modillioned metal cornice is between the thud and fourth floors, and a plain cornice is at the roof. There are five bays in the main part of the building: four, two-over-two double-hung sash with stone lintels and sills and a non-historic entry. There is a stuccoe done-story portico supported by square stuccoed columns with a heavy balustrade on its roof. The center bay on the second floor is slightly recessed and is a non-historic door with original sidelights and transom. The recess is flanked by Doric pilasters supporting a denticulated entablature. There are several additions to the building. Ca. 1830s, 1910.
*** The National Register of Historic Places Registration Form notes:
The Old Vicksburg Public Library is architecturally significant in the context of public/governmental architecture in Vicksburg, Mississippi. It exhibits an outstanding design that represents the highlight of development during Vicksburg!s boom period. It is significant as the only public/governmental building in Vicksburg constructed in the Mission Revival style. While many residential buildings in Vicksburg were influenced by this style, the library is the only non-residential Mission Revival and is the largest building constructed in the style. Please refer to the contextual statement for more information about the architecture of Vicksburg.

In 1910 the Vicksburg Library Association decided to contact Andrew Carnegie to ask if he would help the Association build a new library. A library of sorts had been established on the third floor of the new City Hall in 1903, but the Association needed a larger building.

The Carnegie Foundation agreed to build a library building if the community would provide the ground for the building and agree to support the library once .it was established. The Civic League raised $5,000, of which $4,000 was used to purchase the lot and the remainder was used to purchase books and supplies. The planswere designed by Edward L. Tilton, an architect commissioned by the Foundation in New York City. The Library was completed in February 1916 at a cost of $28,000, of which $25,000 was provided by the Carnegie Foundation.
The black and white photographs are from Leica cameras with Fuji Acros or Kodak BW400CN films.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Old Country Store of Lorman, Mississippi - in Business

Old Country store, April 29, 2019 (Moto G5 digital file)
In the previous article, I posted pictures from the 1980s and 1990s of the Old Country Store in Lorman, Mississippi. Fast forward many years to 2019, and the Old Country Store Restaurant serves southern cuisine. My friends and I ate there on a Thursday in May of 2019 and had an excellent luncheon (big BBQ ribs!!). I did not try the famous fried chicken, but my friends attested to its culinary qualities and kilocalories.
These black and white frames are from Kodak Panatomic-X film exposed with the 50mm Distagon lens on my Hasselblad 501CM camera. The 50mm lens on the square format gives a similar view as a 27mm lens on 35mm, so in effect a wide-angle view. Click any frame to expand the view. I braced the camera body on a ladder or shelves and took long exposures.

The old adding machines and cash registers are gone, but I was surprised to see the remnants of an IBM punch card machine in the room with the faded business cards stapled to the wall. Some of you old-timers may recall when 80-character punch cards were used to submit programs and data to mainframe computers. When I learned FORTRAN programming in the 1970s, I used punch cards.
Currently unused church, McDonald Road, Lorman, Mississippi
There is not much left to the community of Lorman, My friend, Martha, told me that early in the 20th century, there were stores, a post office, and a rail junction. Her uncle used oxen to bring timber to the junction. Now it is all gone. But the Old Country Store is the spot of good news. This is a success story, a part of our cultural heritage still in use. Try the lunch there! And take a camera.

Friday, October 18, 2019

From the Archives: the Lorman Country Store, Lorman, Mississippi

Lorman Country Store, Leica M3, 50mm ƒ/2.8 Elmar lens, Kodachrome film
Lorman is a small town - really just a hamlet - south of Port Gibson on US 61. Lorman was known for its old-fashioned country store, which had been in continuous operation from 1875 until 1996. In the past, US 61 passed directly in front of the store. Today, the new 4-lane road is a short distance to the east, and the old store is not subjected to heavy traffic right in front.
Waiting for a ride, 1990 (Olympus Zuiko 35mm shift lens)
In the past, the store housed a post office and sold all the necessities needed by a small farming community. By the mid-1980s, the store was still open, but most visitors may have come to see the museum of antiques, old adding machines, books, and stuff. It was pretty interesting. But finally it happened, bad news: in March of 1996, the Vicksburg Post announced that the store had been sold and that all the contents would be disposed at auction. My photographer friend and I drove to Lorman a day or two before the auction. The proprietor generously let us take pictures inside during its last day of operation.
The photographs are all from Kodachrome film exposed with a Nikon F3 camera with 50mm ƒ/1.8 Nikkor AiS lens. In the interior, I used a Vivitar flash with a cardboard diffuser.
The frames above are from Kodak Tri-X Professional film (the ISO 320 emulsion) taken with my Fuji GW690II camera with 90mm ƒ/3.5 lens (the "Texas Leica"). I used a tripod. A wider-angle lens would have been useful, but I did not have one at the time for 120-size film.

This has been a quick look at the Old Country Store. As of 2019, it houses a restaurant - photographs to follow.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Mississippi Delta 32: Satartia

Lift bridge, Yazoo River, Satartia Road (photograph taken from levee)
Satartia is a charming little town (village) on the east bank of the Yazoo City in Yazoo County, about 32 miles north of Vicksburg. According to Wikipedia, "It is Mississippi's smallest incorporated municipality by population. Located on the east bank of the Yazoo River, Satartia was once a thriving river port, and is one of the oldest non-Native settlements in Yazoo County." Although the 2017 population was only about 54, the village has a number of well-preserved historical cottages and homes.
Satartia Grocery, 304 Plum St., Satartia (Ektar 25 film, 35mm Super-Takumar lens)
Satartia Grocery (35mm Super-Takumar lens). The Fordice sticker on the door refers to the former governor, whose administration was marked by racial discord, scandal, corruption, and drinking.
Satartia Grocery photographed through glass (Fuji X-E1 digital file)
Shed behind Satartia Grocery
Not too hot - yet (digital file)
The Satartia Grocery must have once provided supplies and food staples to the town's residents. I could not tell how long it has been closed. I assume residents now must drive to Yazoo City or Vicksburg to buy groceries.
Some of the houses in town are occupied; others are empty but not abandoned. This part of the town is east of the Yazoo River levee and is therefore out of the flood zone.
On Old Hickory Street, not far from the junction with Rte 3, I saw this old Sears Roebuck trailer.
Former grist mill (Ektar 25 film, 35mm ƒ/3.5 Super-Takumar lens)
West of the levee, the land drops and was pretty wet as of May 27, 2019. This shed's contents (if any) likely stayed dry this year. A gent from a house nearby said this was once the grist mill.
I crossed the lift bridge and headed west on Satartia Road but could only drive a couple of miles before the road dropped under the water. If the road were open, it would take you to Holly Bluff, another small agricultural Mississippi Delta town which I photographed in 2016 (click the link).

This ends out short visit to Satartia. Most of the photographs are from long-expired Kodak Ektar 25 film, taken with a Pentax Spotmatic camera and various Pentax Takumar lenses. The Ektar 25 had odd color shifts, but I was able to partly correct them with the automatic color function in Photoshop CS3.

Update March 2021: A friend sent me some 120 size Ektar 25, which I used in and around Vicksburg (please click the link)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

From the Archives: Boston, Massachusetts, in 1944

My father spent part of the World War II working for the US Navy in Puerto Rico. He returned to Boston in 1944 when his contract was over. He had always been a keen photographer and took many pictures of relatives and their friends. I looked through his Kodachrome slides and found only four of Boston. He probably thought that everyone photographed Boston and that mundane city scenes were uninteresting. It is a pity, because mundane street scenes take on a documentary importance as the years and decades pass.

Charles River from Cambridge, Massachusetts
Boston and Charles River from Cambridge
Boston Garden and Swan Boat (pedaled by human power)
Boston harbor, Anscochrome transparency

These photographs look so innocent, so tourist-like. But consider the geopolitical conditions of 1944. The world was at war. In the Soviet Union, Soviet armies were painfully beating back the German army in immense battles during which tens of thousands on both side perished. Russian and Ukrainian peasants were starving in their destroyed villages, and German civilians in the homeland were also close to malnutrition. In the Pacific, American troops were slowly clearing islands of Japanese occupiers at horrifying cost. In China, millions were starving. But in Massachusetts, children sailed on the Charles River, and the Boston Garden was clean and blooming with flowers. A civilian could buy Kodachrome film and get it processed. (It is possibly that my dad bought the Kodachrome at the Navy base in Puerto Rico at his former job, but nevertheless, he felt secure enough in its availability to take casual pictures.) War must have felt far away, although Americans were unified in beating the Axis powers.

I believe these photographs were from his American-made Perfex 35mm camera. In the future, I need to scan many more of my dad's 1944 frames of family events and casual gatherings.

I have written about Boston before (click this link about Quincy Market). I wish I had taken far more pictures of ordinary scenes. You can also type "Boston" in the search box.