Spring Pilgrimage Returns to Vicksburg
The Vicksburg Bed and Breakfast Association has been busy making plans to present the Vicksburg Spring Pilgrimage 2017. Eight of Vicksburg’s most elegant and historic homes will be on tour Thursdays – Sundays, March 23rd through April 9th. The presenting homes are: McRaven Tour Home, the Baer-Williams House, the Duff Green Mansion, the Governor McNutt House, the George Washington Ball House, the Mary Harwood House, Steele Cottage and the Lofts at the Keystone Building.
National Geographic Magazine called McRaven “the time capsule of the south.” It has also been called Mississippi’s most haunted house and one of the most haunted houses in America. Every room is lavishly furnished with museum quality antiques. The house also features the authentic pioneer kitchen which dates to the 1790s. You can stroll through the 3-acre gardens and see where Confederate troops used the grounds as a field camp site and ultimately a field hospital.
The Baer-Williams House is one of Mississippi’s few homes designed in the East Lake Victorian style. The house is built on a site with an abandoned brick structure dating prior to 1850. In 1870, Leona and Lazarus Baer began construction with Leona monitoring every stage of the process. She insisted on the kitchen being inside the house with privies on the first floor for guests and on the second floor for family. The result is a two-story his-and-hers outhouse.
The three-story Duff Green Mansion is considered to be Mississippi’s finest example of raised basement Italianate Palladian style architecture. The home was built by Duff Green for his young wife, Mary Lake. During the Siege of Vicksburg the Greens retreated to a large communal cave beneath the house where Mary Lake Green gave birth to her only son. Duff and Mary named their son William Siege Green. The home served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
One the city’s oldest residential structures, the Governor McNutt House was built in 1836 in the Virginia Farm style. The home was purchased in 1829 by Alexander Gallatin McNutt, a young lawyer who established a lucrative practice in Vicksburg. McNutt’s renovations included marbleizing the downstairs coal burning fire places and enlargement of the windows. In 1832 he added the north wing to accommodate his two younger brothers who were moving to the city to establish their own law practices. McNutt was Mississippi’s twelfth governor serving from 1838 – 1842.
Located in the city’s oldest residential neighborhood, the George Washington Ball house was built in the Federal style. According to land records, George Washington Ball, a well-to-do distant cousin of our nation’s first president, built the house in 1822. In 2004, after decades of neglect, the house was meticulously restored. The house is located at the corner of Main and Cherry Streets, the only remaining intersection in the city where all four corners are occupied by antebellum structures.
The Mary Harwood House was built circa 1825 on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, making it strategic during the Siege of Vicksburg. In 1862 an ammunitions magazine was built in front of the house by Confederate soldiers for their cannons in defense of Vicksburg. Damage from intensive shelling by Union gunboats during the Siege is still visible inside the house.
Although local oral history states that the Steele Cottage was standing in 1829, tax assessor’s records state it was built in 1833. Either date makes it one of the oldest homes in the city. The house was built as the city was emerging as a major cotton market. The cotton rush attracted entrepreneurs and businessmen from around the world in search of the riches to be found in cotton.
In the past decade Vicksburg has welcomed the development of many, many downtown living quarters. One such residence, the Lofts at the Keystone Building, is located in an 1840’s building that was home to one of Vicksburg’s first furniture stores. With shipments of furniture arriving from New Orleans and St. Louis, the building’s location allowed prime access to the waterfront for receiving goods from around the country.
For a complete listing of tour packages and ticket information please visit www.vicksburgpilgrimage.com. For a complete listing of all of Vicksburg’s events and attractions just go to www.visitvicksburg.com. Vicksburg – The Key to the South!