Hidden Vicksburg Opens Up Mysteries of the Past

main street
Downtown Vicksburg before 1900. Note the hitching posts and the dirt road.

By Sue Moore

Rumor has it that parties above what is now Hill’s Pharmacy during the 1930s and ‘40s were great entertainment for members of the Town Club that met there often.

Shades of this revelry might be visible for those purchasing tickets for Hidden Vicksburg Secrets of the Past, hosted by the Downtown Development Authority in collaboration with the Vicksburg Historical Society. A glimpse of the past is being offered on Saturday, August 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are 10 locations above the stores in downtown Vicksburg that will be open to the curious with guided tours offered by the community volunteers and the business owners’ representatives.

Loft 120 is a good example of what can be accomplished with renovations of the upstairs apartments, according to Kathleen Hoyle, who has planned the event as a fundraiser for the DDA Facade program and the Historical Society’s operations. The downstairs was once a funeral parlor, according to Dr. Arle Schneider’s definitive history of the village. It was equipped with an elevator between the basement and first floor that handled caskets, likely with bodies in them, she pointed out.

None of the other buildings on the tour have received the neat treatment that Loft 120 has, but they all have fascinating background stories that Maggie Snyder, retired curator of the Historical Society’s Depot Museum, will bring to light at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Community Center.

Each $10 ticket includes a souvenir booklet with a map, a listing of the sites, and historic photos of each building. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at VicksburgDDA.com/hidden-vicksburg. Children under five are free. Tickets are also available at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center, 200 S. Main and will be available at the Community Center the day of the event while they last. The event is still looking for volunteers to help at the sites. Volunteers will receive a free ticket to tour the other buildings. Contact 296-649-1919 if you wish to volunteer.

Other tour destinations include: Home Again Consignments, Tanya’s Girl Garage, Rawlinson’s Appliances, Pet Emporium, Distant Whistle Brewhouse, Vicksburg Community Schools (Old E), Hill’s Pharmacy, and Vicksburg Community Center.

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