Old Depot Museum encompasses all forms of transportation

Published 6:27 pm Saturday, July 28, 2012

I regret that Mr. Furr was disappointed in the new museum. He misunderstood the purpose and mission of the new museum.

Our mission statement reads, “The museum will represent the history and the importance of transportation in the development of Vicksburg. Featuring steamboats, railroads, highways and the importance of Vicksburg with transportation in the War Between the States.”

Vicksburg has had a long association with river transportation which helped to build the town. With the decline of steamboats, the railroad became very important in the continuing development of Vicksburg. As the railroad declined, U.S. 61 and 80 began to become important. All forms of transportation have been involved in the growth of Vicksburg.

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Vicksburg also became a primary target in the War Between the States, again, because of transportation. The Union did not need the Mississippi as much to move men and supplies as it did to move the crops of the Midwest farmers to New Orleans for shipping overseas. As long as the South controlled any portion of the river the farmers had to ship over land by rail, which cost four times the rate of steamboats.

The fall of Vicksburg gave the Union control of the river and also cut the Confederate railroad coming from Louisiana and Texas.

The old railroad manual track-switcher donated by Mr. Furr was on display in a corner with the handle turned where children could not crush their fingers playing with it. If he had asked me, I would have shown him that his donation was on display. The switcher will be moved to a more visible location as we organize the railroad exhibit.

We have many railroad items, as well as items connected with river and highway transportation and the War Between the States that have been donated that are not on display at this time, but as the exhibits grow, more of the artifacts will be displayed. Every item donated to the museum will be displayed.

Vicksburg is a town with a multifaceted history and each facet deserves to be presented and preserved. The War Between the States, riverboats, railroads, highways, architecture and music contributed to what we call Vicksburg. Each deserves a place in telling the history of the city.

Lamar Roberts, director

The Old Depot Museum