A bluff with a view|Warrenton home opens giant vista

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 23, 2009

Many Vicksburg homes sit on lots bigger than the three that accountant Ken Hicks recently purchased on Warrenton Road.  Few in America, however, boast larger backyard attractions.

Hicks and his wife, Margaret, are building a two-story “guest home” at 640 Warrenton Road, which commands an Olympian perspective of the Mississippi River’s lazy path south of the Vicksburg bridges.  He’s also working with a local contractor to renovate and sell two adjacent homes.

A partner at May and Company, Hicks said he’s been “fascinated” by the river since growing up blocks away from it in Natchez. His wife, Margaret, has also long coveted a home with a view of the Big Muddy.

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And so, about a year ago, the Hickses bought a then-vacant lot at 640 Warrenton and began making plans to construct a house there.  The couple plans to keep the Dana Road residence where they’ve lived for 39 years, but the Warrenton Road structure — now months from completion — will be a regular getaway, Hicks said.

“We plan to spend some time there every day,” he said. 

Confident that there are others who love the river enough to live by it, Hicks earlier this year partnered with Johnny Sanders — a principal in the firm building the Hickses’ home — to buy the houses immediately adjacent to the 640 Warrenton property.

Hicks declined to say how much he and Sanders paid for the structures, which shared the same owner.  “It was a very good deal for both of us,” he said.  “We got a reasonable price, and she got to move two houses at the same time in a tough market.”

Now, in addition to completing work on the Hickses’ property, Sanders and his partner, Clint Hollingsworth, are overseeing conversion of the other structures from post-World War II bungalows to traditional Vicksburg-style homes.

In addition to columned exteriors planned by architect Doug Lum of Port Gibson, the homes will incorporate lumber from a tenant home that Hicks helped salvage in northeastern Warren County, as well as bricks from Clay Street buildings that collapsed in 2006.

Each of the three houses sits on a lot of identical size, 75 feet wide and 440 feet deep.   

“If you want a big yard for a bunch of kids and bikes, this probably isn’t that,” Hicks said.

In Hicks’ view, the properties offset spatial constraints with unmatched aesthetics. Sunsets are spectacular. By day, back-porch visitors can espy riverboats, barges and the occasional deer down the bluff.  By night, the lights of Louisiana twinkle in the distance.

Hicks credits the Rainbow and Riverwalk casinos, both of which are located near his property on Warrenton, with helping provide the view.

“Until the casinos came in and cleared off the bluffs, all you could see were cypress trees and bushes,” Hicks said.

Clint Hollingsworth agreed.

“The casinos opened up the view of the river,” Hollingsworth said.  “As development moves south, I’m sure property owners will follow.”


Contact Ben Bryant at bbryant@vicksburgpost.com