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The Junius Ward Johnson YMCA on Clay Street today: a photo tour

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In the early 1920s, Mrs. Fannie Vick Willis Johnson donated funds to the Young Men’s Christian Association to build a new YMCA facility in Vicksburg to be called the Junius Ward Johnson YMCA in honor of her recently deceased husband.

The building, located at 821 Clay St., was originally dedicated in 1923. The then-new brick structure featured a red clay roof in a central location in the bustling river town. The original building was constructed with three floors but early on, in 1925, another floor was added with 33 more residence rooms.

The building had bathrooms on each of the residence floors, a gymnasium with a stage and a swimming pool. Later, a racquetball court was added.

The entrance to the Racquetball Court, which was added many years after the original construction in 1923.

Since about 2006 the building has been empty. Several investors have looked at the facility with a dream to restore it. One such investor gave the Vicksburg Daily News a tour of the challenge before them.

The stairs to the rooftop are in danger of falling in.

We hope you’ll have pleasant memories revived from this pictorial journey through this 96-year-old local bit of urban history and decay.

The Main Floor

The view as you enter the building from Clay Street.

These slotted mail boxes were kept full back in the times everyone wrote letters and sent postcards. A long distance phone call was expensive and only used in the most extreme of circumstances by most people.

The beautiful old fireplace on the main floor says, written in stone “Go put your deed into your creed nor speak with double tongue” – Emerson

This archaic electrical panel is worthy of being placed into a museum for it’s functional beauty.

The lights for the common areas throughout the building could be controlled from a central location. This was high tech at the time.

The Swimming Pool

The pool tile remains in incredibly good condition considering its age and wear. This pool was heated and considered therapeutic in its time.

The tiled steps into the shallow end of the pool.

A sign cautioning swimmers to not swim alone.

The deep end of the pool.

This balcony overlooking the pool. One can only guess at the number of people who were reprimanded for jumping from the balcony to the pool.

The Sauna Room

The Sauna Room.

The Basketball Court and Stage

The basketball Court and Stage need just a little work before the game can begin.

The detail of the decorative plaster trim surrounding the stage.

An alcove in the wall with water supplied.

The architectural details of a simple exit from the basketball court from 1923.

The Rest of the Building

Sliding wooden doors in this room created different areas for activities.

This area under that staircase looks oddly familiar.

A child’s artwork is still attached to a mirror in the basement.

The view from a room with a balcony. These rooms went for $30 a month in 1968.

The Playground

This view of the Old Courthouse from the south part of the playground.

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A happier ending

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You may recall the incident we reported on September 26 where a younger lady drove her car into the back of a house on Chambers Street.

 

It was one of the more bizarre stories we’ve covered. To hit that porch the car had to travel down a dead end street, turn into a private drive and swerve around a parked car to hit that porch. The homeowner, Taylor Ransone summed it up when he said “she appeared to be confused.” The vehicle left the scene and was not found.

A bewildered Taylor Ransone surveys the damage from the car that struck the back porch of his house.

On Friday Mr. Ransone made contact with the Vicksburg Daily News to give us an update on the story. He announced “Sgt. Bobby Jones with the Vicksburg Police Department told him the driver of the vehicle had contacted the police to confess to the accident.” She had a “medical event and had no memory of crashing into the back of his house” reported Ransone. But after being released from the hospital last week she started to piece it together and called Sgt. Jones.

The car came down the side street, where people are standing, swerved left, missed the grey car parked behind the home and impacted the back porch with enough force to dislodge the pillar.

The lady has insurance and is recovering from her medical event.

Homeowner Taylor Ransone was pleased to say “You never know what people are going through. I am glad she got help and, of course, that she wasn’t seriously injured.”

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Announcing – Q&A with the Mayor

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Ask the Mayor anything.

 

Mayor George Flaggs has agreed to allow the Vicksburg Daily News to host a Question and Answer session – live and online – with you to answer all your questions.

 

The recent meeting with the Police Department has enraged a lot of locals and they are crying for transparency. Mayor Flaggs contacted the Vicksburg Daily News to create and host this event. We decided to waste no time and get it done tomorrow, Tuesday the 15th, at 3:30 p.m.

 

Just post your question here in the comments, message them to the Vicksburg Daily News Facebook page or post them during the live stream tomorrow. The Mayor will not have any of the questions ahead of time and has promised to do his best to answer any and everything.

 

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Police still searching for 3-year-old missing since Oct. 12

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Kamille Cupcake McKinney

The Birmingham Police Department and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency asks for your assistance in locating Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, who is believed to be in extreme danger.

She is a black female, 3 years old, 3 feet tall, weighing 60 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

Kamille was last seen wearing a pink T-shirt with Minnie Mouse leopard print design, leopard print shorts, and yellow, white, and blue hair bows at a birthday party at the Tom Brown Village housing community around 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2019.

Kamille may have been abducted by a man and woman traveling in a dark-colored black or blue SUV, possibly an older model Toyota 4 Runner with rims and a tan protruding bumper.

Reportedly, the vehicle has been found, and WAPT has reported that one person of interest is in custody, but police are still searching for Kamille.

If you have any information regarding this missing child, please contact the Birmingham Police Department at 205-254-0841  or call 911.

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