In 2013 I photographed the former Victoria Hotel in downtown Magnolia, but was able to learn very little about it. A member of the family who owned it in the early 2000s contacted me recently after finding my blog post on the old Suzassippi’s Lottabusha County Chronicles. Turns out the reason I could not find out anything about it was the address is different now, and I did not have the historical name of the building. The Victoria Hotel (aka Magnolia Terrace Bed & Breakfast) is located on the corner of Railroad Avenue across from the depot.
First off, finding it in the MDAH historic resources inventory database answered one of my unanswered questions: Why was there an exposed brick wall on one side of the building?
The one-story building may have been present in 1981 in Chadwick’s painting–it is hard to tell because of the design of the panel, but was visible in the c. 1990 photograph, and in a real estate ad in 1998.
According to her obituary in 1918, Mrs. Victoria Webb moved from Liberty to Magnolia and built the Victoria Hotel after the death of her husband, Dr. John Webb. Dr. Webb was apparently in ill health from 1890 through 1896, when the family made trips to Cooper’s Well for his health. Mrs. Webb was living in Magnolia by 1900. She retired from business several years later after marrying David Currie.
Newspaper ads began appearing in 1908 for the hotel, but by 1909, Mrs. Slocum advertised the hotel “for rent.” She continued to run ads in 1910 as the proprietress. From 1910-1911, Miss Mary Brooke was in charge of the Victoria, but announced she would “take charge of the Excelsior Hotel, on the west side of Railroad avenue” (Jackson Daily News, Jun 27, 1911, p. 3).
Mrs. R. L. Weathersby of Liberty, MS moved to begin managing the Victoria in 1912 (The Southern Herald, Feb 9, 1912, p. 5) and her husband sold his stock of goods and “expects to move to Magnolia.” Mrs. Weathersby was still the proprietor in 1919.
Now at this point, the story of who owned what and when gets murky. According to the 1936 article, the building was owned by Mayor X. A. Kramer of McComb, and managed by Mrs. J. P. McGraw, formerly of Massachusetts.
South since 1925, Mrs. McGraw has come to know and like the south and at the same time likes to call herself a “Yankee.” However, her “Yankee” acumen for business accounts for her managerial capacity. (Enterprise Journal, Mar 26, 1936, p. 15)
A 1979 article, however, reported the following series of events about the Victoria:
- In 1934, George Kounovsky purchased the old Victoria Hotel that had been owned by Bob Weathersby, across from the Illinois Central Depot.
- Kounovsky expanded the business of the antiques by buying the Magnolia Furniture shop from R. L. Fuller.
- In 1979, Thad Leggett III purchased the Magnolia Antique and Furniture Shop from Mrs. Kounovsky following the death of her husband. (Enterprise-Journal, Jul 9, 1979, p. 4)
In 1991, the Magnolia Antique shop was owned by Thomas and Shirley Hasselle, who purchased and restored Tanglewood in Pike County. In 2004, Ruby Pounds was the proprietress of the Magnolia Terrace Bed and Breakfast, a
…10-bedroom inn that includes a kitchenette and bath in each room. Suites have a dining table and chairs. There is also a formal parlor and a less formal room for watching big screen TV. (Enterprise-Journal, Jan 25, 2004, p. 19)
But those tracks that run along side the Victoria? The historic railroad maps do not show any lines other than the ICRR south to Osyka and and north to McComb. In the Streetcars series, mention is made of a proposed streetcar line from McComb to Magnolia, but it was never completed due to the advent of World War I. Given that it is highly unlikely that the tracks were laid after the one-story building was demolished sometime after 1998, one could assume the one-story building was added on top of the old tracks, which were likely a spur leading to some type of loading warehouse. The building at the far rear of the hotel appears a likely warehouse, and the word “warehouse” appeared in ads for the Magnolia Antiques after 1991. In the realm of possibility, the tracks could have been laid if the proprietors were utilizing the train to ship antiques to and from Magnolia.
Leave a comment if you have additional information about the Victoria, the Magnolia Antique business, or that little bit of track.