Walt's Look Around: Old Vicksburg Building - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Old Vicksburg Building

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Another piece of history is being brought back to life in Vicksburg. It’s an old building north of downtown out on Martin Luther King Drive. And being that far out back in ‘the day’ put it in the perfect place to be the FIRST witness to an important piece of American history.

"I like old buildings. I like history. I came by here regularly on the way to the hospital. I was a physician at the hospital," said Dr. Lamar McMillan. "Suddenly there was a for sale sign on like December the 23. So on January the 8th I bought it. Of course, I’ve been sunk into it for about two years.

That’s Vicksburg Physician Dr. Lamar McMillan. And he’s talking about an old building that was built in the 1830s.

"This is 20 years older than the Old Courthouse Museum," added Dr. McMillan.

Dr. McMillan has several options for what to do with the building once he finishes restoring it. It may be apartments or offices or even a bed and breakfast. But of primary importance to him right now, it will be saved.

He had a marble marker erected at the building that gives some of its history; Who built it and when and subsequent owners. And what happened in front of it in 1863, particularly after the surrender of Vicksburg to the Union Army on July 4th of that year.

With its location sort of outside the city back in those days, this would have been the first building Union General U.S. Grant’s army passed in their way into the city.

"To bring an army in you don’t bring them in through creeks," said Dr. McMillian. "You try to bring them in through roads where you have food and ammunition on a wagon. So general Grant came right by here and this painting exhibits that."

The painting was a commission by Dr. McMillan to noted historian and painter Jerry McWilliams. Jerry says he tried to present the mood of the moment.

The Park Service has another painting of Grant marching around the Court House and all the citizens of the city are hoop hurraying, waving their hats in the air, whiskey bottles," said McWilliams. "Well, this painting is showing the people weren’t that happy when Grant came marching in."

Happy or not, this is the first Vicksburg building Grant saw and the people here were the first to see him. And thanks to the preservation efforts of Dr. McMillan, we can still see the building for many more years. 

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