Downtown Vicksburg Mississippi Walking Tour
This walking tour is a work in progress with more entries coming soon.
Located in Vicksburg's historic district, Duff Green Mansion was built in 1856 by a prominent businessman named Duff Green. During the Civil War, the house served as a hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers. During the the early 1900s, the mansion was used as a boy's orphanage and later, a retirement home for the elderly. In 1931, the Salvation Army bought the house and used it to minister to the needy. After the Salvation Army relocated to a larger headquarters, Mr. & Mrs. Harry Carter Sharp purchased the home and restored it to its original splendor. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion operates as a bed & breakfast.
Anchuca, which means "happy home" in the Choctaw Indian language, is one of the more striking historic homes in Vicksburg. Originally constructed around 1830 by local politician A.J. Mauldin, Anchuca is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture and was, in fact, the first mansion in the city to feature columns. It was also one of the first historic homes in the state to be converted into a bread and breakfast inn. Additionally, Joseph Emory Davis, the eldest brother of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, lived in the house between 1868 and 1870. Anchuca was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
This historic home was constructed in 1822 and named after George Washington Ball, a distant relative of the first president of the United States. It is the oldest antebellum homes in the area and is located in the oldest neighborhood in Vicksburg. The house was in a dilapidated state until a local restored it in the early 2000s.
One of the city's leading attractions, this museum combines the beauty of Vicksburg's historic court house with exhibits related to the antebellum period, the Civil War, the Reconstruction era, and the early 20th century. The museum's collection includes a number of Confederate artifacts, such as the tie worn by Jefferson Davis during his inauguration. The museum also offers several collections of historic photographs from the Civil War and beyond, antique furniture, artifacts that belonged to Robert E. Lee, and historic clothing. The museum also includes exhibits related to Native Americans and the frontier period. The Old Court House itself was constructed in 1858. Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and William McKinley are just some of the past visitors here.
Mississippi Highway 61, which is often referred to as "61 Highway," is one of the most historic highways in the state. Its significance stems from its long association with blues music, especially in the early years of the genre's development. The highway, which extends from New Orleans to Wyoming, Minnesota (originally, it was planned to reach the Canadian border), was a major transportation corridor used by many blues musicians to head northward out of Mississippi. Highways and other modes of transportation were popular topics in blues songs, as they symbolized travel and the ability to start a new life elsewhere. Since it was a major thoroughfare, Highway 61 became synonymous with with this sentiment and many blues artists have written songs about it. This historical marker is part of the Mississippi Blues Trail.
One may be surprised to find a Coca-Cola museum in Vicksburg but one resident, Joseph Biedenharn, played a crucial role in revolutionizing the soft drink industry and propelling the Coca-Cola company into the global business it is today. In this building on March 12th, 1894 Biedenharn was the first to bottle Coca-Cola. This pioneering step allowed the drink to be distributed anywhere. Before bottling, Coca-Cola was only available in soda fountains. The building, which was built in 1890 and housed the Biedenharn Candy Company, is now the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum. Inside, visitors will see exhibits describing the early history of the Coca-Cola company, how the drink was first bottled (replica bottling equipment is also displayed), past and present Coca-Cola memorabilia, and the history of the Biedenharn family. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
The Church of the Holy Trinity is one of the finest examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in Mississippi. Built between 1870 and 1894, it is home to an Episcopal congregation which was founded in 1869. The church was built with red brick and features a large tower that reaches a height of 125 feet, arched and circular windows, buttresses, and elaborate brickwork, especially on the tower and east facade. It also features six Tiffany stained glass windows. Holy Trinity is also known for a notable event in its history called the "Estornelle affair" (see below). The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Balfour House is historically significant for its association with one of its residents, Emma Balfour, who kept a diary during the Siege of Vicksburg (May 8-July 4, 1863). Her diary is considered to be one of the most accurate accounts of the siege. She describes the daily struggles residents faced and how they were forced to live in hand-dug caves to escape the constant shelling from Union artillery. In terms of design, the house combines the Greek Revival and Federal architectural styles. The house, which appears to be a private residence today, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
A National Historic Landmark, this historic home is named after Confederate Lt. General John C. Pemberton, who used the house as his headquarters during the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. It was here that he decided to surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant, the Union general in command of the forces besieging the city. The house is also known as the Willis-Cowan House. It was likely built around 1835 by a man named William Bobb but was soon purchased by plantation owner John Willis. A later owner and the wife of a Confederate veteran, Mary Frances Cowan, acquired the house in 1890. Today, the house is part of the Vicksburg National Military Park and appears to be closed for renovation as of early 2021.
Now home to the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, the former St. Francis Xavier Convent is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Vicksburg. Erected in 1868 for the Sisters of Mercy, notable features of the building include lancet windows, a double-leaf front door, and a three-bay porch. The Sisters have had a significant impact on Vicksburg in the areas of education and healthcare. Given its architectural significance and association with the Sisters of Mercy, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places 1977. It is part of a larger complex the Sisters owned that occupies the entire block and is located across the street from the historic Pemberton's Headquarter's house.
Often referred to as "time capsule of the Old South,"Vicksburg's McRaven House is the best-preserved antebellum home in Vicksburg. The estate was built in three phases, the first dating back to 1797, the second in 1836, and the final phase occurring in 1849. The home is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture and also includes elements of the Federal and Italianate styles. Notable features include porches on both floors with paired columns and decorative millwork, and decorative interior Grecian plasterwork and woodwork. The house is open to the public for tours that emphasize the architectural history of the lives of the families that owned the home. Inside, visitors will see antique period furnishings, some of which belonged to the home's former residents. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and has been featured in LIFE Magazine, National Geographic, and on The Travel Channel.
This historic house was once the residence of Martha Vick, the daughter of Vicksburg's founder, Newit Vick. It was built around 1830 and was designed in the Greek Revival style. It is the only original Vick family home still standing in the city. Today the house is used for receptions and other events, and is open for tours by appointment.