by Meshea Crysup, Blogger, Author, Speaker
Founder of RHV, RHV Books, Civil War Bloggers...& More Network, & MesheaCrysup.com and Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable VP
Rediscover Historic Vicksburg
Night at the Museum
September is upon us and one of the things that means is “Night at the Museum” is near! In fact, Night at the Museum III will be Saturday evening, Sept. 23rd from 6-8 PM, at Vicksburg’s Old Courthouse Museum. ( https://oldcourthouse.org/ ) The first year’s theme was basically a walk through the history represented at the Old Courthouse Museum. The second year’s theme was the Civil War. This year, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood, the theme is “Mississippi Before Statehood”.
Great theme, but what exactly is “Night at the Museum”?
Night at the Museum is a fundraiser for Vicksburg’s Old Courthouse Museum, which is privately funded. Remarkably, it is also open frequently and very reasonably priced! For more information, go to https://oldcourthouse.org/
This year, the event will be held inside to avoid issues with Vicksburg’s unpredictable weather. Priced at only $10 a person, over a period of about forty-five minutes, participants will take a walk through the history of pre-statehood Mississippi via the stories of five historic figures and facts about their particular contributions, location, etc. In character, event presenters will represent:
-Davion a Jesuit priest – St Pierre Mission 1698
-Monsieur de la Tour – overseer of French plantation at Fort St. Pierre 1721
-William Selkrig – small farmer at 3 islands 1778
-Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos – military governor of
West Florida (fort Nogales) 1790’s
-Tobias Gibson – founder of modern Methodism in this
Night at the Museum is a great event for everyone! Whether you are young or old, by yourself, in a group, on a date, or a night out as a family. Whether you are mildly interested in history or a serious history buff, a tourist visiting the area or were born-and-raised right here in Vicksburg, this is a great way to spend a Saturday evening Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg and you can feel even better about it knowing you are helping to support the privately funded Vicksburg Old Courthouse Museum!
Vicksburg Featured on the September 12th Episode!
Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage
by Meshea Crysup, RHV
It is almost that time of year again folks and I can think of no better way to share the info than "directly from the horse's mouth"! So, today's blog is taken directly from the Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage website! www.VicksburgPilgrimage.com
I am very excited about seeing the new homes that have been added! Maybe I will run into YOU along the way!
~Meshea Crysup, RHV
Dog Days of Summer—Rediscover Historic Vicksburg Anyway!
According to “The Google”, we are still in the Dog Days of Summer—July 22nd.-Aug 22nd. 2017. Yes, it is still a bit warm and muggy here, but, as Corey Rickrode of Baer House Inn says, “It’s hot in Florida too, but people are still going to Disney World!” My point? In spite of the heat, there is still plenty to do in Vicksburg, as we finish up August, and move into September, and Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage time! This is the first in a series of blogs that will be covering exactly that: Ways you can Rediscover Historic Vicksburg now through Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage!
–Meshea Crysup, Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg
Rediscovering Historic Vicksburg
Now Through Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage!
by Meshea Crysup, RHV
Yes, things are heating up here in Vicksburg as we enter the final part of the Dog Days of Summer—and I am not just talking about the weather! Leading up to the Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage, and all during Pilgrimage time, there are a variety of ways to have a good time, eat a great meal, have a refreshing drink, hear some fantastic music, take an entertaining and educational—maybe even haunted—tour, and more!
What is going on at
The Baer House Inn?
Detective Dinner Theatre: August 18th! Always a great choice because ONE fee covers food, drink, and entertainment—an entire evening of fun!
Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable: August 21st. at 6 PM! A bit different this month. We are not having a speaker. Instead we are getting together to grill, eat, and discuss the next year of our Roundtable! Whether you have been attending or not, now is a great time to come join us and see what we are all about! www.VicksburgCivilWarRoundtable.com
What is going on at
McRaven Tour Home?
Date to be announced in September at McRaven Tour Home, "Confederate Camp and Living History"
What is going on at
The Old Courthouse Museum?
Night at the Museum will be Saturday, Sept. 23rd!
This year's theme is
Mississippi Before Statehood
An entire blog dedicated to this is coming soon!
What is going on with
Vicksburg Blues Society?
Vicksburg Fall Pilgrimage
is Almost Here!
An entire blog will soon be dedicated to this!
Mainstreet Market Café!
Need a place to stay or hold an event?
McNutt House & Duff Green Mansion
Vicksburg Preservation Celebration
Sept. 30- Oct. 1, 2017
Event co-hosted by
Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Presevation
Heritage Guild of Vicksburg and Warren County
Saturday, September 30, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.:
Tour Catherine’s Palace at 1501 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Artist Jerry McWilliams will have his Vicksburg Campaign painting “A Crushing Blow” featuring General Grant and the 1839 building as it appeared on July 4, 1863. General Grant, Mr. Christian Fleckenstein and Mrs. Catherine Coccaro will visit with you.
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.:
A Ballet of Vicksburg: “The History of Vicksburg and her River” by River Pointe Dance Academy at the Vicksburg Convention Center. No Charge
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.:
Social Reception for ballerinas, their families and Y’all, Vicksburg Convention Center
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.:
Preservation Banquet dinner with guest speakers Mr. Walt Grayson of Mississippi and Dr. George McDaniel, retired director of 1738 Drayton Hall near Charleston, South Carolina at the Vicksburg Convention Center.
$15.00 dinner ticket required prior purchase by September 27, 2017 (Wednesday)
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.:
Concert-Dance by Vicksburg Band, The Chill at the Vicksburg Convention Center.
No charge with cash bar, wine and beer complimentary.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.:
Ecumenical church service by Reverend Beth Palmer, Rector, Church of the Holy Trinity, using historic church liturgy.
900 South Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.:
Celebration concert by the Vicksburg Chamber Choir and the Vicksburg Orchestral Society at the Vicksburg Convention Center. In 1982 Church of the Holy Trinity organist and choir master, Mr. David Stokes composed “The God of History” for orchestra and choir at the request of Carol and Lamar McMillin, Jr. Maestro Crafton Beck, composer and conductor of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra has enlarged the composition for full orchestra and chorus for our Preservation Celebration Concert.
5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.:
House Blessing and tour at “Catherine’s Palace” for the Fleckenstein-Cocaro Grocery building and home, 1501 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard with Reverend Beth Palmer and THE VICKSBURG BRASS BAND. No Charge
7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.:
The Vicksburg Convention Center: The Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation and the Vicksburg and Warren County Heritage Guild Preservation Celebration Dinner with concert and dance by Vicksburg’s Nicholas and Julia Blake (violin and key board). Featured speaker is Dr. George McDaniel of Atlanta, Georgia, Memphis, Tennessee and Charleston, South Carolina. Cash bar with wine and beer complimentary
$15.00 dinner ticket required prior purchase by September 27, 2017 (Wednesday),
Tickets ordered via U.S. Mail should be purchased by September 16, 2017
through mail order with a check payable to:
Gilbraltar Vicksburg, LLC
Vicksburg, MS 39182
or at the below locations:
The Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation
1107 Washington Street, Vicksburg, MS 39180
River Pointe Dance Academy
3429 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180
The Heritage Guild of Vicksburg and Warren County
Walnut Hills Restaurants
1214 Adams Street, Vicksburg, MS 39183
Vicksburg has multiple hotels and Bed and Breakfast accommodations.
Baer-Williams House Inn, an Eastlake Victorian B&B providing full breakfast and an evening social hour
1117 Grove Street, Vicksburg, MS 39183;
20% room discount for anyone who books a room for this event
Duff Green Mansion, a Greek Revival Antebellum B&B providing breakfast for two and a tour of the mansion
1114 First East Street, Vicksburg, MS 39180
Courtyard by Marriott
1 Underwood Drive, Vicksburg, MS 39180
group rate $104.00 plus tax
100 Berryman Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180
group rate $96.00 plus tax which includes a complimentary hot deluxe breakfast buffet.
Guests should call the two hotels directly and request the Preservation Celebration Weekend group rate by August 30, 2017.
Certainly, over the next few weeks, it is obvious, EVERYONE can find SOMETHING they enjoy to Rediscover Historic Vicksburg!
A Castle on a Hill
by Morgan Gates
Let’s take an imaginary drive through Vicksburg, shall we? We’ll start at the Old Courthouse Museum. This iconic landmark is one of the most familiar in Vicksburg. In fact I like to call it Vicksburg’s “Eiffel Tower”. Let’s drive south two blocks on Cherry Street (named for the tree) until it intersects with Clay Street (named for Henry Clay). Here we will turn right and descend the hill two blocks until we reach the intersection of Clay and Walnut Streets (the tree again). To our right is the Old Hotel Vicksburg, completed July 4th 1929, sixty-six years after the end of the Siege and approximately three months before the beginning of the Great Depression. It was the tallest building between Memphis and New Orleans at the time; however, this is not our destination today. Turn left and drive up the hill, and in one block, you will pass between the 1903 Beaux Arts City Hall and the 1894 Romanesque Mississippi River Commission building. Keep going. Oh, we seem to be running out of beautiful buildings--a parking garage, the public library (built in the 1970’s, need I say more), and Central Fire Station. Walnut Street ends at its intersection with Madison Street (named for the president). Stop, we have arrived! What, you say! There is nothing here! Yes there is! Its right in front of you--the big hill!
Rising up over your head is a large hill, covered in Kudzu, topped with a few shabby houses and a very large radio tower. What’s so special about this hill you ask? Ok, here is a clue. Turn right and, about half way down the block, there is a small side street that runs up the hill. You see it, right behind the liquor store? Notice the street sign--it says “Castle Alley”!
There is something undeniably romantic about a castle on a hill. So many beloved tales, both old and new, contain a castle. Castles summon images King Arthur and Knights of old slaying dragons and rescuing princesses. Disney has made untold fortunes in an empire built around a “Magic Castle”. Many epic adventures like “Lord of the Rings” feature castles. Yes, there is something about the castle that captures the imagination and that fascination is not particularly new.
In our recent series on Fortress Vicksburg, we discussed how the City of Vicksburg has been called a fortress, but it was not a castle! The rich planters of the Antebellum south knew well the romance of the age of chivalry and in many cases identified with the “Cavalier” attitude of these days gone by. They even built houses that they felt were modernized (in there day) versions of palaces. Sturdy brick homes were given the even more permanent look of stone masonry by skilled artisans who applied coats of stucco for a “faux” stone appearance.
There was however one actual castle in Vicksburg. Sometime about 1840, banker Thomas E. Robins built a replica of a medieval castle on a high hill, just south of what would have been the southern city limits (mid-town today). He imported hexagonal bricks from England especially for this purpose. It had four towers and was even surrounded by a moat. It changed hands in 1852, and again in 1859, and was owned by a lawyer named Burwell, who had recently moved to Vicksburg from Virginia.
The Castle survived the siege, but not the occupation. After the city fell, it became a Union stronghold on the river. Grant’s battle-hardened troops were too valuable to be left sitting in garrison duty, so they were peeled off and sent on to other hotspots. A much smaller garrison of less experienced soldiers were left to guard the city. The old siege trenches were filled in and the defensive line around the city was shortened to only five miles. To strengthen the line, several batteries of “heavy artillery” were emplaced on the landward approaches to the city. The castle occupied a high hill in an ideal position to anchor this southern approach to Vicksburg. Though the home resembled a military fortress, it was in fact, not a suitable military strong point in 1863-4. It was torn down and replaced by earthen revetments mounting heavy siege guns.
The hill on which the castle set has undergone many transformations in the over 150 years that have passed since its demise. It is still known locally as “Castle Hill” but the only real reminder that Vicksburg’s most unique home once topped this promontory is that little green street sign behind the liquor store!