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Vicksburg History

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The George Reeve house

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By Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.

This Queen Anne style house was built at 1709 Cherry Street in about 1891 by George Pynchon and Mamie Bowen Reeve.  Reeve was the vice president and secretary of the George S. Irving Company, cotton factors and wholesale/retail dealers in grocery provisions, in 1890.  In 1893, he established a new cotton factor business with H. T. Lamkin- Lamkin, Reeve and Company, which only lasted for a year and then Reeve continued on his own.  He increased his holdings in the cotton market buying out the Vicksburg Cotton Company in 1895 and by purchasing a cotton plantation in 1902. 

George Reeve house, 1709 Cherry Street (Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation)

He built a new building for his office and warehouse on the southeast corner of Mulberry and South streets in 1898 which was showcased in photographs in 1901 making the news in the Vicksburg Herald. “Mr. George P. Reeve has in his possession some fine photographic work done by the Vicksburg Art Studio of Mr. A. L. Blanks.  These are views of the interior of his well-known and handsome new cotton office, which are really very artistic and correct, showing the advance made in interior photography.  One of these views represents the head of the firm with his staff at work sampling out cotton, which is piled up around them in every direction.  There are other scenes equally as good, and these Mr. Reeve will have framed up and prepared for mailing to the several brokers with whom he is connected.  It is a most effective way of showing to those at a distance what a first class cotton buyer’s establishment is like.”  The office was again the object of an article in 1902 headlined “A Dainty Cotton Office.”  “Mr. George P. Reeve and his staff are in fine feather over their newly decorated and highly embellished ‘cozy corner’ office, which has been recently touched up by Creed Davis in his best style.  Mr. Reeve himself is a man of artistic tastes and instincts, and likes to have things about him to correspond with his ideas, and in evolving office quarters to suit that taste he has been eminently successful.” 

In addition to his cotton business, Reeve was a vice president of the Belmont Club, a charter member of the People’s Compress and Warehouse Company, and a board member of the Cotton Exchange.  In March 1906, he was a member of the group that organized the Long Lake Fishing and Hunting Club and was its first president.  An article in the Vicksburg Evening Post reported that “The Club has leased several hundred acres of land and has ordered the building of ten fishing bateaux.”  By August of the same year, the club had 100 members. 

In 1908, Reeve petitioned the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to pave Cherry Street and the petition was approved.  Reeve went to Chicago to study street paving in order to help decide what material to use for the paving.  The Post reported that the property owners dictated that they wanted “a pretty pavement and a noiseless pavement if that is possible in this climate.”  Reeve investigated granitoid, asphalt and bithulithic street paving and decided that granitoid was the best solution until he visited Boston where the city was taking up its asphalt and laying creosoted wooden blocks.  The debate continued for over a year and then the discussion was over how the street should be graded. 

In 1910, the Reeves moved to New Orleans to establish a cotton business there.  George was hit by a car in January 1914 and gravely injured.  The car was driven by a chauffeur, so Reeve sued the passenger of the car, but lost in court.  Ironically, the chauffeur was later killed in an automobile accident.  Reeve was brought back to his home on Cherry Street to convalesce with the attendance of Vicksburg doctors and the loving care of his wife, Mamie.  George Reeve died on August 25, 1919 from his injuries.  The obituary in the Vicksburg Herald reported that “he was a native of New Orleans, son of the lamented Joseph Mason Reeve, who went to New Orleans from London, England, and who was known as the ‘Salt King.’  It is related of the elder Mr. Reeve that he imported salt from Turkey, and he was well known for his philanthropy and liberal views on all questions.”  George and Mamie had two sons, George P. Reeve, Jr. and Henry W. Reeve.    

In 1922, Mamie built the Lorraine Apartments which still stand today on the northwest corner of Adams and Clay streets in part to “help solve the housing problem in the city,” according to the Vicksburg Herald.  The family continued to live in the house on Cherry Street and later they converted part of it into apartments. It was torn down in 1970 and a parking lot occupies its lot today. 

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