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



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.






BREAKING: Another shooting at Azalea Trace Apartments in Warren County



Update 8:50:

The stabbing is not related to the shooting. It apparently occurred in the city of Vicksburg.

Original story:

Another shooting occurred Tuesday around 8 p.m. at the Azalea Trace Apartments on Fisher Ferry Road in Warren County.

The information we have is that a 17-year-old male has been shot once in the ribs and has been transported to Merit Health River Region. Another male has been hospitalized with multiple lacerations in what appears to be the same incident. Apparently, the second man was not transported to the hospital by ambulance.

The incident happened in the same building as the shooting Saturday. It’s not known if the two incidents are connected.

This is a breaking story. The Vicksburg Daily News will provide more details as we get them.

Check our Facebook page for live updates.

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Vicksburg Gap to close its doors after Christmas



Michael Woodrick captured this image of the Gap at the Outlet Mall

Vicksburg photographer Michael Woodrick captured the image of signs in the window of the Gap at the Outlet Mall that say “Store Closing.”

The nationwide chain has been experiencing the same troubles as most brick and mortar stores nationwide: Everyone is buying online and retail stores are closing in record numbers.

In March, the chain announced it would be closing 230 of its under-performing stores within two years and increasing its internet presence. Worldwide at the end of 2018, Gap Inc. had more than 3,000 stores which included brands such as Banana Republic and Old Navy.

Michael Woodrick’s photo of the “Store Closing” sign at the Gap.

The Vicksburg location should close after Christmas according to media reports.

The Outlets at Vicksburg have been in receivership with an uncertain future.

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Food & Drink

When stocking your bar, is it worth it to go across the river?



Toney's 61 North Liquor & Wine(photo from their social media)

A post on Facebook yesterday brought up an interesting question. Is it cheaper to go across the river to buy your liquor?

The Vicksburg Daily News investigated this question by going across the river and getting the price on seven big sellers in the world of liquor at Delta Discount Wine and Spirits.

We then went to three Warren County liquor stores—Toney’s on U.S. Highway 61 North, The Liquor Store on the South Frontage road and Far East Liquors on Halls Ferry Road—to check the prices. At each store, we checked the price on the seven items, surveyed the wine selection, and, finally, we spoke with the staff (all of whom had already asked if they could help us at every single location) about wine.

Melissa Mullen stocks up at The Liquor Store on South Frontage Road.

We should clarify there are some differences in state law from across the river and here. In Mississippi, Alcoholic Beverage Control dictates what liquors and wines they allow in the state. If you want a rare wine in Mississippi that is not in stock, you are at the whim of the ABC on whether you can get it. In Louisiana, retailers buy from the wholesalers with no state middle man.

Every one of the stores we visited had very friendly staff who were eager to show us their wares and show off their selection. Every one of the stores also said they would order whatever wine or liquor we wanted if they could get it.

The well stocked aisles of Far East Liquors on Halls Ferry Road.

For the purposes of comparison, all prices listed include sales tax, as the tax across the river is 9 percent, and in Warren County it is 7 percent.

In the 750 ml, “Fifth” size (prices include tax):

Crown Royal in Delta is $26.51. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $24.98. Far East was $25.95 and Toney’s $26.74.

Hennessy in Delta is $38.14. In WC the best price was at Far East, $34.95. Toney’s was $35.30 and The Liquor Store was $36.37.

Taaka Vodka in Delta is $8.16. In WC the best price was The Liquor Store at $6. Far East was $6.95 and Toney’s was $7.39.

Tito’s Vodka in Delta is $19.61. In WC the best price was Far East at $18.95. The Liquor Store was $19.25 and Toney’s, $19.77.

Burnett’s Vodka in Delta is $7.07. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $7.26. Toney’s was $7.48 and Far East, $8.95.

Seagrams Gin in Delta is $11.98. In WC the best price was at Toney’s, $9.73. Far East was $9.75 and The Liquor Store, $10.

Jack Daniels in Delta is $21.79. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $20.00. Toney’s was $21.34 and Far East, $21.50

In the 375 ml, “Pint” size (prices include tax):

Crown Royal in Delta was $16.34. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $11.99. Far East was $12.50 and Toney’s $13.90.

Hennessy in Delta was $22.24. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $16.25. Toney’s was $18.18 and Far East $18.50.

Taaka Vodka in Delta was $5.44. In WC the best prices was at Far East, $3.95. The Liquor Store was $4 and Toney’s $4.27.

Tito’s Vodka in Delta was $11.98. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $9.62. Far East was $9.95 and Toney’s $10.69.

Burnetts Vodka in Delta was $4.35. In WC the best price was at Far East, $3.95. The Liquor Store was $4 and Toney’s $4.27.

Seagrams Gin in Delta was $6.53. Both Far East and the Liquor Store was $5.50 while Toney’s was $6.41.

Jack Daniels in Delta was $16.08. In WC the best price was at The Liquor Store, $10.69. Far East was $11.75 and Toney’s $13.90.


Allen Kitchens Sr. of The Delta Wine and Spirits gave The Vicksburg Daily News a grand tour including  four fully stocked trailers out back.

The wine selection was huge in Delta but so was the selection at The Liquor Store on Frontage. We couldn’t tell from a visual comparison which store stocked the largest inventory. Far East and Toney’s both had a large wine selection as well, but their buildings are not as large as the other two.

So, in conclusion, Delta is worth the trip if you want a frozen daiquiri or a special wine not available in Mississippi.

For liquor, Warren County prices are just as good, if not better, on the seven items we compared.



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