Rev. H.D. Dennis (1916-2012)

Rev. H.D. Dennis, who created a “visionary art environment” or “Bible Castle” around his wife’s rural store Margaret’s Grocery north of Vicksburg, died September 5, 2012. Margaret herself died in 2010, and the Grocery has been decaying ever since. Our friend kodachromeguy has been documenting the evolution of the world of Margaret’s Grocery since the 1980s, and he’s posted more recent pictures in March 2011. The Detour Art blog has more pictures and stories from Rev. Dennis. Haley Barbour declared March 20 to 26, 2011, the “Rev. Herman D. Dennis and Margaret’s Grocery Awareness and Preservation Week” but so far no one has come up with a plan to save even pieces of this special place.

Categories: Historic Preservation, Vicksburg

7 replies

  1. Surely someone will save something from this interesting place. You’re the greatest for letting us all know about the passing of this soul. May they both rest in peace.


    • People are working to “save” this cultural folk art takes more than wanting and wishing and complaining that “no one is doing anything” …because behind the scenes LOTS has been and IS being done to preserve this treasure. It takes money not just words, it takes action not just complaints and it takes community involvement and State help to make this happen. Preachers hand crafted works have been lovingly catalogued, cleaned, photographed and stored….and more is being done…if you would like to help we can use all we can get…for more info contact Suzi Altman at
      Thank you


      • I think you will find the Preservation in Mississippi readership ready to help with time and money in this effort if they are presented with an organization to donate to or a plan to help with. Just let us know how we can help.


  2. The plan should start with a little less conversation and a little more action. One Saturday’s worth of general cleanup, paint scraping and structural assessment will go far. So instead of saying “someone should,” let’s just do it – who’s with me and when do you want to go?


  3. I’m with you, with qualifications: I’m not sure of the ownership of the property, and actually vandalism and deterioration of admittedly cheap materials are the primary problems, and neither one of those can be solved with repair in place. I know that an art group in Vicksburg had met a couple years ago after Margaret’s death to talk about trying to move the major pieces into a warehouse or something, but obviously nothing came of that. A while back I was in Washington DC and saw an exhibition of visionary art by James Hampton, a black artist in DC, who had created altars and other temple art from aluminum foil:

    Rev. Dennis’ spirit would be missing from whatever is done, but it would be a travesty to just let it fade away or be vandalized away. Let’s see who else we can drum up.


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