Looking Back: A continuation of 1302 Washington Street’s rich past

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

By Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation

This week’s column features more information about the building on the southwest corner of Washington and Clay streets.

Most likely constructed in the late 1860s, this three-story building was known as early as 1869 as the Vicksburg Bank Building. The building had three storefronts, 1300, 1302 and 1304, with the bank on the first floor of 1300.

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When Merchants Bank moved out of the building in 1899, O’Keefe Drug Company moved into 1302 Washington St. In March 1910, Jones Smoke House moved from across Washington Street into this building.  The front of the building was renovated to “one of the most attractive places in the city,” according to the Vicksburg Herald.

An advertisement in that paper stated that “March 17, 1910, was ‘Ladies Day’ at Jones Smoke House. The Ladies of Vicksburg are invited to call at Jones Smoke House on Washington Street where souvenirs will be given the Ladies of this City who desire to be shown through a beautiful new Pool and Billiard Hall will be extended this courtesy… everyone invited.”

It would be fun to know what the “souvenirs” were and how many ladies attended the event. A branch of Vicksburg Laundry and Cleaners occupied the building with Jones as late as 1924. In 1929, Bud’s café occupied a part of 1302 and then by 1935, it was Jones Smoke House Café.

Sometime between 1947 and 1950, Jones became Crowley’s Smoke House and it occupied the building into the 1970s. The interior photograph is captioned “Vicksburg Smoke House Cigar Shop, early 1940s.”

There were several smokehouses in Vicksburg then, but I couldn’t find a listing for “Vicksburg Smoke House,” so this photo could be any of the three along Washington Street at the time. In 1304, the last of the storefronts of the building built as 1300 Washington Street, housed L.M. Hall Liquor in 1869. He was still there in 1873 and advertised wholesale and retail foreign and domestic whiskies, wines and brandies. The second floor was the office of Cooley Mann, a justice of the peace and notary public.

By the early 1880s, Clarke and Co. Booksellers called 1302 home. In addition to books, paper and painting supplies, they sold croquet sets, hammocks, and “bycicles.” In 1892, the bookstore moved further down Washington Street and in 1893, Henry Yoste moved his jewelry store from across the street into 1302, where he remained until about 1935.

In 1937, the city directory lists Buck Theater, Motion Pictures, as the occupant, and then by 1939, it is vacant.  In 1941, Unglaub Studio is located here and a number of businesses later called the building home.