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Vicksburg History

From the Archives: Holly Street Railroad Depot



Holly Street Railroad Depot

When the Alabama and Vicksburg Railroad started construction in 1890 on their new passenger depot to be located on Holly Street instead of near their existing depot on Veto Street, Vicksburg business leaders were very upset. The heart of commerce, they said, was on Washington Street and they argued that “the old location is more convenient in every respect. Travelers who wish to connect with the L.N.O.T, as well as those who wish to take a steamboat, are not far from the elevator, wharf boat and L.N.O. and T. depot, when they get off the A and V train at Veto Street.”

Holly Street Railroad Depot

Holly Street Railroad Depot

Earlier in the year, A and V had requested permission to close South Madison Street and to build a frame depot. The mayor and aldermen denied the request and unbeknownst to them, the railroad then moved on to the Holly Street location. These businessmen requested that the mayor and aldermen hold a special meeting to address the issue. The board agreed and at the meeting it was decided that they would ask the Mississippi Railroad Commission for help.

On July 9, 1890, Mayor R. F. Beck and Alderman Pat Henry met with the Commission in Jackson to determine what could be done. The commission said that they had approved the plans for the depot, but not the Holy Street location. They agreed to hear the city’s case and on July 16 ruled that the A and V Railroad “shall build its new depot on the site of the old one.” Despite this proclamation, however, the Vicksburg Evening Post reported that “work is proceeding daily, as if no such things as railroad commissioners existed.” The city then requested that the Commission ask for an injunction from the state’s attorney general. Who stated that he would not issue an injunction for work to cease, but would fine them $50 a day for every day after December 1 that the new depot “fails to be completed at the old site ordered.”

Holly Street Railroad Depot

Holly Street Railroad Depot during demo

Despite all of the legal maneuvering, construction on the depot continued. A pond was filled in, dirt was moved, a brick sewer was built, and a lumber yard that was located on a portion of the property was relocated. The 60′ x 120′ frame building soon took shape with the Cherry Street façade faced in oiled and polished native oak clapboard and there was a large verandah, tower, and slate roof. The building rested on a foundation of 50,000 bricks which formed piers 3 ½ feet square.

Offices from the old station moved to the Cherry Street Depot in January 1891. On January 8, the Vicksburg Evening Post reported that “in accordance with instructions from the Railroad Commission, District Attorney J. M. Gibson today filed suit to collect $1950, being the statutory penalty for noncompliance.”

When the case was heard in court, the chancellor dismissed the case as an abuse of authority on the part of the commission. He said that “the new depot was accessible and convenient, and that it was to the interest of the public and the railroad to located the site at Cherry Street.” The building was used as a depot until 1968. It was demolished in 1972 and eventually the current building was constructed.

-Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.

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