Since yesterday’s first post was about the Vicksburg Poll Results and since the next two days’ posts are about concrete block in Vicksburg, I figured why not just make a week of Vicksburg? Back in the Spring when it was relatively cool and I was over in Vicksburg to tour a few of the houses on pilgrimages, I wandered down to Washington Street, once the commercial hub of Vicksburg and, given Vicksburg’s status as largest city in Mississippi from 1870 until the early 1900s, the commercial hub of the state.
Poor Washington Street bears the marks of several programs of rebuilding and rebranding, most especially the attempt of the late 1970s or early 1980s to turn the street into a more pedestrian-friendly environment by making it one-way (it’s now back to two-way). At the same time, some amount of effort was made to turn the street into “ye olde Vicksburg” by bricking up storefronts, adding balconies where there hadn’t been any, and generally trying to make the street look more like someone’s interpretation of the French Quarter than the bustling modern place it had been in its heyday.
Neverthless, I was pleasantly surprised to see not just a few glimpses of Modernism, very much in line with the storefronts we saw in the “Beauty of Modern Storefronts” post a while back. One of the buildings even has a rare stand-alone showcase that stretches across the wide recessed storefront (unfortunately this is hard to see in the pictures because they leave their security grate down during the day with just a small opening to get in).
Some of these storefronts look like they date to the 1940s or maybe even 1930s, but I suspect at least a few date to just after the devastating 1953 tornado that ripped through downtown, collapsed the Saenger Theater, damaged scores of major landmarks, and killed 38 people, including a number of children in the theater.