LOOKING BACK: More on 1216 and 1218 Washington’s history

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

By Nancy Bell | Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation

This is the continuation of the history of 1216 and 1218 Washington Street which was started a couple of weeks ago.

After the fire in 1910, Metzger and Company moved into 1216. Marion Metzger and Henry Levy owned this “fine footwear” store. They were in this building until about 1929 when The Emporium Department Store operated here and were still in operation in 1935. In 1951, Koury’s Children’s Shop opened its doors at 1216 and remained there for decades. Chris Porter’s art gallery is now in the building.

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The south half of the building which was most likely built in 1867 following a fire, housed Herman and Moss Fashionable and Staple Dry Goods on the first floor. An advertisement in the Vicksburg Herald in 1873 listed that Moss had “just received from the East his new spring stock of Dress Goods, such as Mozambique, Grenadines, Japanese Cloths, Cyrilla Cloths, Piques, French and English Percales, Organdies, Etc., in all the latest and most fashionable colors and stripes.”

An announcement in the Vicksburg Daily Times on July 9, 1870, stated that the Young Men’s Christian and Library Association met upstairs with G.P. Theobald as president and O.V. Shearer, Jr. as secretary. Also located on the upper floors in the early days of this building was Madame Zurcher, “ladies’ fashionable hairdresser and manufacturer of human hair goods, of every description. The only hair manufactory in the State of Mississippi.”

By 1874, I. Reinhardt Dry Goods is listed here and he advertised a massive sale on July 6, promising that “every purchaser of $25 worth of goods, or over, will receive a present of $2 worth of goods, in any article they may choose out of our extensive stock, or a discount in so much money after their purchases are made and their best bargains completed. This is none of the abominable Trade dodges and Humbugs, but the Public and my numerous patrons can rest fully assured that whatever I advertise and announce to do will be faithfully and honorable carried out.”

Others who inhabited the upper floors over the next ten years were Charles E. Mount, an attorney (1875); S.L. George and Charles H. Fontaine, justices of the peace and notary publics (1877); and Madame M.J. Ferguson, milliner and dressmaker where cloaks were made in the latest styles (1883).

Located in Madame Ferguson’s store was Mr. C. Edwards who sold Wheeler and Wilson sewing machines. He advertised the “greatest invention of the nineteenth century, at any rate, the most useful, is that of the sewing machine. It is found in every household, and lightens the toil of countless thousands of females all over the world.”

He sold the “Silent No. 8” as he said that it “is the most popular family machine, and is said to be the lightest-running, most durable and best-made sewing machine in the world.”

By 1881, Jacob Shlenker was carrying out his clothing business in both 1216 and 1218.  In March 1886, W.B. Swords, son of the founder of the Vicksburg Herald, announced that he had rented 1218 and would open his confectionery in 30 days. He also stated that he had “ordered an electric light to be placed in the store.” He also added a soda fountain from Lippincott and Company of Philadelphia. The fountain was said to be of “Holstein marble, ornamented with colored marble and silver tippings, hinges, etc., which is surmounted with a handsome glass fountain, in the center of which is a beautiful bisque figure of a young girl, under an umbrella.

“The fountain has eight syrup faucets, and one soda, one mead and a mineral water faucet, all of which are silver mounted, making in all one of the most handsome fountains ever brought to this city.”

The confectionery did not last even a year. In February 1887, Swords was advertising for sale “The business house known as the Mikado Confectionery and Restaurant, is for sale cheap for cash. A rare chance for a live man.”

Thereafter, the building housed Lewis Shoes and then in 1891, Adler and Leyens Shoes. In April 1901, Metzger Co. bought the stock and fixtures and “good will” of Adler’s Shoe Store. In 1907, “The Hub Johnston Shoe Company” opened in the building, remaining until 1911 when Gotthelf Jewelry was located here after the fire.

By 1929, Stern’s Ladies’ Shop was selling “ready-to-wear” ladies’ clothes here, and then by 1935, it is Koury’s Shoe Store, later becoming Frederick’s Shoe Store.

It remains in the same family as Frederick’s today.