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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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MDOT announces I-20 lane closures near Clinton

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If your commute regularly takes you to and from Clinton, Miss., be advised that you will likely be dealing with slow traffic for a couple of months starting next week.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation announced today that it would be closing the inside lanes of both eastbound and westbound Interstate 20 at Norrell Road (exit 31) starting Monday, Jan. 27, at 7 a.m.

The work, which will make repairs to bridges over Norrell Road in Hinds County, is expected to take about 60 days.

Please use caution in the area and expect delays.

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Corps’ mat sinking unit suspended revetment season due to flooding

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit suspended its 2019 revetment season Jan. 21. The season was suspended due to adverse river conditions caused by flooded riverbanks and high velocity flows. The unit will remain on standby for approximately one month as district engineers and technical experts monitor river conditions for the opportunity to complete scheduled work. If conditions are favorable, the unit will potentially resume work in late February. (photo courtesy USACE)

From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit suspended its 2019 revetment season Jan. 21.

The season was suspended due to adverse river conditions caused by flooded riverbanks and high-velocity flows. The unit will remain on standby for approximately one month as district engineers and technical experts monitor river conditions for the opportunity to complete scheduled work. If conditions are favorable, the unit will potentially resume work in late February.

During the 2019 season, the unit has placed approximately 170,000 squares of articulated concrete mattress along the banks of the Mississippi River to prevent erosion, protect key areas of the riverbank and flood control works and provide a safe, reliable channel for navigation.

“For more than 70 years, the Mat Sinking Unit has taken on the unique and important task of preventing erosion and maintaining navigation up and down the Mississippi River,” said Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard in a statement. “The Mississippi River serves as a vital commercial waterway and drainage system for the nation, and the hard work of the unit allows it to perform those crucial functions.”

Unparalleled across the world, the Mat Sinking Unit is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation. Each season, approximately 50 full-time and 220 seasonal or temporary employees live on quarter boats and work 10-hour shifts and 12-consecutive-day work periods to execute the mission. The unit typically operates when river stages are at their lowest and conducts work that spans the jurisdictions of the Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts.

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Warrenton Road blocked due to accidents

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Warrenton Road is blocked from U.S. Highway 61 South to near Lady Luck Casino due to two accidents reportedly caused by a vehicle pulled over due to a medical incident.

Plan on taking another route until about 4:30 p.m.

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