Old Court House Museum - Eva W. Davis Memorial, Vicksburg

4.4
#5 of 8 in Museums in Vicksburg
Construction began in the summer of 1858 on what was then to be a new Court House for Warren County. The building is perched on one of the highest hills in Vicksburg on land given by the family of the city’s founder, Newitt Vick. Contractors were the Weldon Brothers of Rodney, Mississippi, who used 100 highly skilled slave artisans to make the brick and erect the building, which was completed in 1860 for a cost of $100,000. The building stands as an architectural gem and was named one of the 20 most outstanding courthouses in America by the American Institute of Architects. Four porticos, supported by 30 foot Ionic columns flank the entrances. The courtroom on the second floor features a cast iron judge’s dias and railings, and an intricate iron stairway connects the first and second floors.

Original iron doors and shutters remain on the building.

On the grounds a local planter, Jefferson Davis, launched his political career. Several years later, during the War Between the States, Confederate Generals Stephen D. Lee, John C. Breckinridge, and Earl Van Dorn watched from the cupola as the Confederate ironclad Arkansas battled its way through the federal fleet to safety at Vicksburg. During the War, the building was the target of much union shelling but suffered only one major hit. It was here on July 4, 1863 that the Stars and Bars were lowered and the Stars and Stripes were raised as General U S Grant reviewed his victorious army.

After surviving Union shelling, a direct hit by a tornado in 1953, and years of neglect, the building was again in danger. With the construction of a new Warren County Court House in 1939, the building stood practically vacant and there was talk of its demolition.

The museums founder, Mrs. Eva Whitaker Davis, realized the significance of the building and establish the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society for the purpose of preserving the structure. In 1947 she was elected president of the society and with the help of a few volunteers began cleaning the building and collecting artifacts. On June 3, 1948 the museum opened its doors, where she continued to work on a volunteer basis for many years.

A grateful public added the name Eva W Davis memorial to that of the building several years before her death in 1974. The building was named a national historic landmark in 1968. The museum is still operated and maintained by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society.
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Old Court House Museum - Eva W. Davis Memorial Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
101 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This old courthouse now converted to a museum is a treat. It holds a very wide variety of interesting exhibits from the area and beyond. The upstairs courthouse is the icing on the cake of a very wort...  more »
  • The history of the grand building being saved by a tenacious woman is inspiring and the collection here is extensive. The museum staff is friendly and knowledgeable, but lucky you if your visit is on ...  more »
Google
  • Pretty neat museum. The architecture and the history is definitely worth the time. It cost me $5 admission.
  • The Old Warren County Court House, built in 1858, stands today as Vicksburg’s most historic structure and has hosted such guests and speakers as Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and William McKinley. During the Civil War, the building was one of the main targets in Vicksburg. As hard as the Union tried, the building suffered only one major hit. After a 47-day siege, on July 4, 1863, the Stars and Bars were lowered and the Stars and Stripes were raised.

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