Looking Back: 1319 Baum Street has rich history

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2024

1319 Baum Street- This Queen Anne house was built in 1895- 1896 by Curphey and Mundy for Albert and Alline Arnold. Albert was an embalmer in his father’s (John Quincy Arnold) mortuary business. When his father retired, Arnold became associated with Fisher Funeral home. The Baum Street house was completed in the spring of 1896 and on July 3, the family gave a party that was reported in the Daily Commercial Herald. “A hay ride, followed by a delightful little dance, was given last night, by Messrs. Otto Voellinger and Joseph Coody, at the residence of their friends, Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Arnold, in Baum’s Addition, in compliment to Misses Lizzie Lowry and Pearl Clark, who arrived yesterday, on a visit to Mrs. Arnold. Refreshments were served during the evening by the kind hostess and were delicious. The music was supplied by the Fourth Mandolin Band, fine performers. Those who were in attendance called the affair one of the happiest events they ever participated in.”

Albert Arnold died in the house on June 3, 1910, at the age of 51, just four months after his father died at the age of 81, and the funeral took place from the home. Alline continued to live in the house with her five children- Clarence (a cashier with Standard Oil Co.), Deliah, Natalie, Robert (a salesman with Swift and Co.), and William (a teller with American Bank and Trust). By 1921, George and Alma Semple called 1319, home. George was the proprietor of Semple Pharmacy, located at 1503 Washington Street. The Semples lived in a part of the house and rented out rooms in the rest of the house. George died in 1943 and thereafter Marion Semple lived there and rented the rooms, most often to Corps of Engineers staff.

These included in 1935- Isabel Coughlan, a stenographer with the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) and Margaret Coughlan, a clerk with the MRC; in 1944-Bruce and Elizabeth Marshall, he with the MRC; in 1946- Arthur (civil engineer MRC) and Jane (clerk with the MRC); and in 1948- Murphy and Shirley King and Thomas and Thomas and Norma Murphey, both men were engineers at Waterways Experiment Station.

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In 1953, Marion’s cousin, Esther Leppich moved into the house with her. Neither is listed in the house after 1970, presumably because Marion married Charles Robinson and they lived elsewhere. The house continued to be apartments until it became the home of Jeff and Lori West about 2003. The house continues to be a beautiful and significant part of the architectural heritage of Vicksburg and the streetscape of Baum Street.

Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation