Looking back: Grayson and Jennie Dyer House

Published 4:10 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

This Craftsman style house at 1642 Chambers Street was built for William Grayson and Jennie Lane Dyer in 1927 and cost $7,000.

Dyer and three other men in Vicksburg owned the Chambers Street Extension Improvement Company in 1925. At this time Chambers Street started at Cherry Street and ended at the bayou. The goal of the Improvement Company was to build a bridge over the bayou and develop a neighborhood similar to that which had already been established on Chambers and Baum streets.

The group announced in January 1925 that they had acquired the Lane’s Hill property and that “the hillside will be graded and made level with Chambers Street. The hill will be taken off, the dirt used in filling the hollows, after which streets will be laid off. This work will require the moving of about 100,000 yards of dirt and it was stated the cost of the grading work, etc., will be between 50 and 75,000 dollars.”

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The company’s advertisement in The Vicksburg Post on February 10, 1926, announced an auction of lots in the Chambers Street Addition to be held on February 16. The ad stated, “Absolutely nothing has ever been placed on the market to equal them. Never in the history of Vicksburg has such a valuable residential property been placed under the hammer. Never before have (sic) the public had an opportunity of buying at their own price building lots in the most exclusive residential sections of Vicksburg. Lots that will have all modern improvements, hard surfaced street, curving, sidewalks, water, sewerage, electric lights and telephones at no cost to the purchaser. Never was the future so bright for a real estate investment. Reasonable building restrictions – no shacks – no stores – no filling stations – strictly a high class residential section.”

It further encouraged people to attend the auction by stating, “every person attending this sale will participate free whether you bid, buy or not in a $500.00 in gold give away!”

The owners, Richard Jones, K. D. Wells, Maurice Feld and W. G. Dyer also offered “free auto” rides from First National Bank to the site. It is not clear how many lots were sold during this auction.

Jennie Lane Dyer was a great granddaughter of Newit Vick and granddaughter of the Rev. John Lane, who married Sarah Vick. The Dyers had three children — Jennie, W. Grayson Jr., and Vick Lane. They moved out of the house in about 1931 and Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Schwartz from Canton, Miss. moved in.

Mr. Schwartz was a manager of agents for the Stone- wall Life Insurance Company. Other inhabitants of the home were Mrs. G. B. Bebout (1934), Mrs. Seybold (1937), Mrs. Charles Willis Wilkerson (1941) and then Judge J. D. and Susan Thames, Jr. from about1944. Susan continued to live in the house after her husband died in 1987.

Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation