New plaques recognize older buildings|[1/18/06]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 18, 2006

As Jimmy Gouras placed a new centennial plaque on his office at 1100 Cherry St., he took a few minutes to recall a little about the building’s 140-year history.

According to Gouras, the structure that houses his urban planning business was the first building to open after the Siege of Vicksburg. &#8220I love it,” Gouras said.

The 8-by-8-inch plaque that now hangs on Gouras’ property was designed by Betty Bullard, owner of the George Washington Ball house. The markers are exclusively for structures – residential and commercial – in Vicksburg that are at least 100 years old. Their purpose is to call attention to Vicksburg’s inventory of historic structures.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The gold and black plaques are $25. Part of the money will go to the local Bed & Breakfast Association’s marketing fund.

Bullard hopes the plaques will increase appreciation of the many century-old structures in the city.

&#8220It will lead people to be more curious about these structures and more protective of them,” she said. &#8220I think we need to be gentle with these old structures.”

Bullard said if there is any question as to whether a structure is 100 years old, the owner can contact her and she will try to date the construction.

Bullard said many people are not aware that many of the homes on Chambers Street, for example, are 100 years old.

She said she came up with the idea to design the plaque about a year ago and mentioned it to her daughter, Emy Bullard Wilkinson, who was the executive director of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

&#8220I mentioned it to Emy and she loved it. And then I mentioned it to the B&B owners and they were really excited about it,” Bullard said.

Carolyn Stephenson, owner of Annabelle Bed and Breakfast, said the plaques are a great way to recognize the buildings that have survived tornadoes, hurricanes and wrecking balls.

&#8220I think it’s a mark of distinction,” said Stephenson, president of the Bed & Breakfast Association.

The association recently created a commercial highlighting the B&Bs in Vicksburg. Stephenson said some of the proceeds will go to funding spots to advertise in regional markets.

Stephenson said a test of the advertising was done between Christmas and New Year’s in Jackson; Little Rock, Ark.; and Monroe and Lafayette, La.

&#8220We’re hoping to be able to buy some more time at the end of this month,” Stephenson said.

Bullard said she’s sold about 12 plaques and has more ordered.