Military park picked as a ‘favorite spot’|[4/20/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Vicksburg National Military Park is a “favorite spot” according to Southern Living magazine’s issue that went on sale Monday.

As the lead article in its new issue, the magazine listed 205 venues in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

The federal park is among five Mississippi places listed in the “Only in Mississippi” section.

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Superintendent Monika Mayr said the park was notified in a letter that it would be named to the list. “It gets information about our existence out to a wider audience of people,” she said. “Probably what Southern Living is trying to do is to help people plan their summer vacations.”

The magazine’s recommendation to drive through the park comes while the park is in less than peak form. A short segment of the 16-mile tour road is closed for repairs due to a slide and visitors are being routed through the north end of the downtown Vicksburg area.

Work continues to meet environmental and design requirements to begin the reconstruction of Connecting Avenue, below Fort Hill. Work is expected to begin in late summer and take about six months from then to complete.

“The detour is working very well,” Mayr said, adding that the park’s visitation numbers have not dropped.

The park is visited by about 800,000 to 1 million people a year.

“Established in 1899 to commemorate the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg, which is considered the most decisive campaign of the Civil War, the park encompasses 1,800 acres and includes the grounds of Vicksburg National Cemetery,” says a press release from the park announcing the Southern Living listing.

“The park boasts of 1,330 monuments, markers, tablets and plaques that collectively make Vicksburg one of the more densely monumented battlefields in the world. The magnificent sculptures of bronze and stone that dot the park landscape were executed by the foremost American and European sculptors of the late 19th to early 20th centuries and have made Vicksburg, in the words of one Civil War veteran, ‘the art park of the world.'”

The other Mississippi places that made Southern Living’s “Only in Mississippi” list are: