Looking back: West side of the 1000 block of Washington Street

Published 9:26 am Monday, February 19, 2024

The west side of the 1000 block of Washington Street is devoid of buildings today and the hill that slopes to the depot is known to many as the seating area for the Fourth of July concert every year. But prior to the 1940s and urban renewal in the 1970s,
the block was the home of ten buildings housing businesses and residences on the second floors of those buildings that had second floors.

The first building in the forefront, 1022 Washington Street, was highlighted in an earlier article and was the home of Melsheimer’s Fruit Stand as early as 1885. The Vicksburg Herald reported that the “well-known fruiterer” carried “all the varieties of fruits, native and foreign, and are sold at such prices as would make the impression that it is Mr. Melsheimer’s special business to remember the poor.” Melsheimer and his family lived on the second floor of the building.

The second building, 1020, was built in about 1886 after the building on the lot was destroyed by fire. In 1892, it was a saloon, but by 1895 had a new life as A. Marcus’s Shoe Dealer and Manufacturer. Ben Holland sold secondhand clothing in a portion of the building. By 1906, Yuen Quong and Co. Grocery occupied the building, as did Harrison and Moore Barbers Johnson and Loving. Barbers practiced their craft in the building from about 1914 through the early 1920s, when E. C. Clay, also a barber,
was listed as the occupant along with David Feder, a shoemaker. By 1935, Rufus Winston was the barber there and Feder continued to make shoes. In the 1940s, there was a restaurant in the building and then in the 1950s, a barber shop. In 1960, the Ladies of Warren Rebekah Lodge held a rummage sale in the building. In the 1970s, the building was demolished.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The third building in the block, 1018, was built in 1907. The two-story building replaced an early one-story frame building. It was occupied by the business of Victor Bernero Soft Drinks by 1911 and then Abe Wilson operated a lunch counter here and lived with his family on the second floor in 1914 until about 1918.

In that year, Charles Christian had located his barbershop here. Christian remained until about 1924, then Mrs. Sarah Lustberg Grocery Store opened and operated until about 1929, when the building is listed as vacant. In 1935, Harry Speyerer Meats was located there. In January 1961, the trust department of Merchants National Bank advertised the building for rent, finally leasing it to the French Market, which advertised oysters, live crabs, fruit, and pecans for sale. The building was demolished during urban renewal.

The history of this block will be continued next week.

Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation