The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot is reflected in Thursday's raindrops.
The grand opening is today at 2:00 p.m. in the former depot of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad, 1010 Levee Street. Admission is free. For more information, call 601-638-6500. Regular admission hours and fees are: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; adults, $5.50, seniors 55 and older; $4.50 and students to grade 12, $3.25. To join the Friends of the Old Depot Museum, donations may be mailed or hand-delivered: Individuals, $25; family, $50; patron, $100-249; sustaining, $250-$499; benefactor, $500-$999; sponsor, $1,000-plus; and corporate, $500-plus.
When Sue Roberts gave her husband, Lamar, an ultimatum in 1993 to get a home for his Civil War ship models and paintings or get a new one for her, she probably didn't envision his collection would end up in one of Vicksburg's signature historic buildings - The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot.
Today, Lamar Roberts will celebrate the grand opening of his Old Depot Museum, the happy culmination of many years of effort by him, his family and city officials.
"It feels so good to finally be at this point," Roberts said, "I feel a sense of accomplishment that we made it this far and couldn't be more thankful to my wife and family who have been really supportive."
Roberts had called his collection "a hobby that got out of hand."
Over the years his treasures have been moved from his living room to a number of other sites, while he's worked to build support for turning the old railroad depot on Levee Street into a tourist-attracting downtown museum.
The Old Depot Museum opened to visitors June 15 but its official celebration gets under way today at 2 p.m.
In time for the grand opening, recent problems with the three-story building's elevator have been fixed and work to repair a couple of air conditioning issues is under way, said Victor Gray-Lewis, director of the city's Buildings and Inspection Department.
The festivities will include a welcome by Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield and remarks by officials with the MS Department of Transportation and Department of Archives and History.
The MS Sons of Confederate Veterans color guard also will be there in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Confederate ironclad Arkansas steaming down the Yazoo River into Vicksburg July 15, 1862.
The CSS Arkansas was built in Yazoo City, Roberts' hometown, and learning about it inspired him to begin collecting ship models and river battle paintings as he studied the war.
The museum houses models of 250 ships and boats, 175 cars dating to the early 1900s and six airplanes, plus model trains in N, O and HO scales and original oil paintings of Civil War ships and river battles. Many of the items displayed are on loan from Roberts' personal collection - models crafted by friend Dave Benway and Louisianan Bill Atteridge and paintings by artist herb Mott.
The Civil War Room features a diorama of the Vicksburg battle and siege, with 2,300 tiny soldiers in blue and gray, plus horses, cannon and fortifications placed to depict Union and Confederate positions.
Upstairs, glass cases display seagoing vessels named for Mississippian, model cars depicting the history of the automobile and a research library available for use by appointment.
"We welcome the addition of the Old Depot Museum to our collection of historic attractions," said Bill Seratt, executive director of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, who will also attend Sunday's opening.
The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot was built in 1907 and renovated in 1977 and 2010-11. The museum comprises the first flood and about half the second, which it shares with the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Vicksburg Main Street Program offices are on the the floor.
The city purchased the depot and surrounding property in 2001 for about $295,000. Renovations, funded through grants, pledged city monies and federal stimulus funds, totaled about $2 million until the 2011 Mississippi River Flood deposited 4 feet of water into the building, which became a centerpiece for national news coverage as the water rose to more than 14 feet over flood stage and nearly a foot higher than the flood of 1927.
Last year's water cost the city an additional $56,000 to repair the depot, and pushed the opening of the museum back about nine months. (Pamela Hitchins - email@example.com)
A Dixie Lady Deer Hunter
Article by Fred Messina, editor of "On Target Outdoors" from The Vicksburg Evening Post on Friday, January 19, 1990. Photo by Bob Phillips.
Bob Phillips came up the other day with a photo of his wife Marian and a deer she got on Brown's Point New Years Eve. The deer was an 8-point with 16 inches of inside spread that weighed in at 190 pounds. A nice trophy in anyone's book. However, the tale Bob told is that this was Marian's fourth deer this year and he claimed that he would have done better than he did if he had not spent so much time hauling Marian's deer out of the woods. Come off it, Bob. We all know who the hunter was.