New mayor, construction highlight 1968

Published 9:05 pm Saturday, June 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the third part in a series highlighting the year 1968 in Vicksburg and how the town has changed over the last 50 years.

By most accounts, the turmoil that gripped America in 1968 did not have a major impact or influence events in Vicksburg.

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

While the nation was dealing with the deaths of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, as well as a growing conflict in Vietnam and a society that was turning towards “free love” and psychedelic drugs, Vicksburg was looking forward to a new hospital being constructed and four-laning of Highway 61.

That’s not to say world events weren’t impacting Vicksburg. Several young men went off to war in Vietnam when called to duty and some of them did not return. Headlines in The Vicksburg Evening Post depicted the war throughout the year and Maj. Gen. Robert R. Pliger told the Warren County Chamber of Commerce members that the war in Vietnam was being won.

But here are five major of events from 50 years ago, in no particular order that helped shaped Vicksburg and Warren County:

1) Plans were revealed for the new Vicksburg Hospital to be built on land between Confederate Avenue and the Interstate 20 bypass. The construction was part of a proposed $4 million project of other developments in Vicksburg. The hospital cost more than $3 million. The new facility had the capacity for 150 beds and was an alternative to the hospital’s location at Monroe and Veto Streets. Hospital Administrator Dean Andrews told city officials it would be a reality in “three to five years” and be complete at about the same time as the four-lane project of the interstate.

2) Plans were also announced for a new country club, Warren Hells Country Club, to be built off Fisher Ferry Road.

3) Work began on four-lane U.S. 61 from the Sportsman’s Inn to Yokena. Cook Construction out of Jackson won the bid of $861,132.

Other road projects ongoing in 1968 included the construction of a connector road with the interstate bypass near Iowa Avenue. Work also continued for the widening of Clay Street and the construction of piers for the new I-20 bridge across the Mississippi River.

4) The Board of Mayor and Aldermen hired the Jackson firm of High and Mitchell to design a new wastewater treatment plant estimated to cost $3 million ($21.5 million by today’s standards).

5) Mayor John Holland resigned his seat to take a job with Mississippi Power & Light (now known as Entergy), resulting in a special election won by former police chief Murray Sills who defeated Alderman Travis Vance in a runoff. Holland was mayor of Vicksburg for ten years.