Looking Back: 1314 Grove St. gives glimpse at 1880s rentals in River City

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2022

By Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation

This two-story three-bay galleried townhouse was most likely built by Samuel Feld in 1886 for rental property.

William Stanton, an architect, designed a number of the houses on this block for Feld. The Vicksburg Herald reported that it cost about $3,000 and was constructed by Curphey and Mundy.

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On Dec. 13, 1885, the Herald reported that “Mr. S. Feld rented his new house (yet to be built) yesterday upon the plans as submitted by Mr. Stanton. This indicates a demand for residences.”

Isaac Hirsch moved into the house with his family upon completion. Hirsch was a cotton factor and prominent in the Jewish community. He and his wife, Bettie Bazsinsky, had six children, two of whom died of yellow fever and one from meningitis. In 1898, Mrs. Joseph Bazsinsky, Bettie’s mother, built a home for them next to her house on Monroe Street and the Grove Street house was listed for rent in the Herald. The 1904 city directory lists Mrs. Julia Cahn, widow of Sam, living in the house and apparently, her white poodle was “lost or stolen” and she placed an ad in the paper with a reward for its return.

By January 1907, Mrs. Phil Greenwald lived there and also had lost a dog. “Bulger the bulldog” was missing and she had also offered a reward, according to an ad in the Vicksburg Post.

The Post reported on April 8, 1913, that Mr. and Mrs. John Piazza would reside at 1314 Grove St. They stayed until 1915, and an ad in the Herald stated that the house was for rent. Mrs. E.G. Phillips lived there in 1920, with the Post reporting that she had won a ticket to see “Miss Blue Eyes,” but it doesn’t say at what theater.

Mrs. Ava B. Adams, the widow of Dempsey, lived there in 1921, Mrs. Bithia Compton, the widow of John, lived there in 1924 and Marye E. Resor in 1929. By 1935, Frank and Leila Penley had moved in and she was listed there as late as 1962.

In the 1980s, Bill Longfellow purchased the house and it is now owned by his daughters, who will begin an extensive rehabilitation this year.