History on display: Spring Pilgrimage welcomes visitors to Vicksburg’s history

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The door swung open to the McRaven House and the tourists on Vicksburg’s Spring Pilgrimage were immediately transported back in time.

From the McRaven House with its tales of ghosts and highwaymen and ties to the Trail of Tears, the tour moved onto the George Washington Ball House, which was fully restored by its owner Betty Bullard.

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The guests had traveled from Missouri and Arkansas to see the beautiful historic homes and learn the history that their walls had experienced.

Leon and Patricia Book said they actively seek out cities with “museum homes” when planning trips. Leon said they enjoyed the “delightful stories and wonderful restoration” of the George Washington Ball house and the ghost stories they heard in the McRaven House. They also got the chance to experience a possible encounter with the ghost of McRaven House when a light “winked” at Leon.

For Patty Pence and her son Dallas, the tour was a chance to learn a little history during spring break. 

“I liked getting to see the antique furniture,” 11-year-old Dallas said. “I was really excited because we don’t have anything like this where we live. It is really cool to get to see these old houses.”

Patty added, “I love the architecture, the Antebellum Victorian architecture that we have seen. They don’t make homes with this much character anymore. I think they are beautiful.”

Presented by the Vicksburg Bed and Breakfast Association, the Spring Pilgrimage offers the unique chance to see some of the most historic homes in Vicksburg. It also serves as a fundraiser to support these irreplaceable time vaults.  There are eight houses taking part in the pilgrimage and each tour includes a collection of three of them.

“It is definitely reaching out to people that are not from Mississippi and not from the south and it is showing what Vicksburg has to offer,” Amanda Guizerix, the general manager of the McRaven House said. “Vicksburg has a lot to offer as far as history, culture, art. It is a really beautiful and diverse community and we are just trying to put it out there as much as possible.”

Bullard, who helped start the original pilgrimage in the 70s, said she hopes that by giving people the chance to see the beauty and potential of these home, it will encourage more people to restore them.

“Seeing that young man that is one spring break and realizing that he doesn’t understand how old, old is, I think it is important to see hands on what a really old place looks like,” Bullard said.

The pilgrimage includes five different tour options and has available dates through April 9.