O CHRISTMAS TREE: Vicksburg Main Street Program, Heritage Guild hosting holiday house tours

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Mahala Roach, the wife of a prominent banker, James P. Roach, the quintessential Southern lady had a live tree placed in her parlor on Depot Street.

The tree was adorned with cornucopias, toys, candles, cookies, ribbons, fans and handmade baskets filled with sugar plums. In one of her prolific diaries about homes and social life in Vicksburg, Mahala told of her children and young servants awaking on Christmas mornings with piercing shouts of “Christmas gift, Christmas gift,” the equivalent of today’s “Trick or Treat.”

The presents included dolls, doll furniture and bejeweled trinkets for the girls. The boys found boots, knives, jumping jacks and horns. As the day progressed, all were treated to fireworks and candy.

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Each year, Mrs. Roach ended her Christmas Day with the same prayer: “Thanks be to God. Merry Christmas to us all.”

During this holiday season, Vicksburg Main Street in partnership with the Vicksburg Heritage Guild will honor Mrs. Roach and the tradition she gave us with tours of some of the city’s most beautiful homes. These homes are rarely open to the public.

In each home, guests will see a beautifully decorated and themed Christmas tree. The owners also will offer first-floor tours of their homes.

To participate in these rare and grand tours on the weekends of Dec. 2 and 3 and Dec. 9 and 10, please purchase tickets online at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/ochristmastree/998356.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $25 including a Vicksburg Trolley pass. The proceeds from this event will be given to the Vicksburg Main Street Façade Grant Program.

“We are excited for the opportunity to showcase some of Vicksburg’s rich history,” said Kim Hopkins, Vicksburg Main Street Executive Director. “Our hope is to get everyone into the Christmas spirit as well as raise money to support our historic downtown district. We are so thankful to the owners of these homes for opening their doors to the public for this special tour of homes. In addition, we are also looking forward to including festive trees all over downtown.”

Tours will begin at the first home at 1 p.m. Then, the second and third homes will be opened at the top of the hour at 2 and 3 p.m., respectively. Tour homes are not ADA-accessible.

The tour schedule is as follows:

Saturday. Dec. 2:

2011 Cherry St.

1 Cowan Place

2312 Cherry St.

Sunday. Dec. 3:

1325 Chambers St.

1419 Chambers St.

1414 Chambers St.

Saturday, Dec. 9:

1403 Chambers St.

1420 Chambers St.

1338 Chambers St.

Sunday, Dec. 10:

2501 Cherry St.

2308 Drummond St.

2506 Cherry St.