Friday, February 6, 2009
Vidalia is a city in and the parish seat of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 4,543 at the 2000 census.
Vidalia was founded by Don Jose Vidal. The great Sandbar duel featuring Jim Bowie is one of the great stories told by the locals. Vidalia is a bustling town with the addition of the new Vidalia Riverwalk. It features a new hotel, medical center, restaurant, and more additions coming soon. Vidalia also loves its sports. Vidalia High School, home of the Mighty Vikings, enjoys great athletic teams year after year. Baseball and Softball teams have won state championships. Vidalia is the sister city to Natchez, Mississippi.
Don José Vidal (March 12, 1763 in A Coruña, Spain – August 22, 1823 in New Orleans, Louisiana) was the Spanish grandee who held many official titles during Spanish rule of the Mississippi Territory. One of the titles he held was secretary to Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, the Spanish Governor of the Natchez District from 1792-1797.
"Vidalia onions" are not named for Vidalia, Louisiana, but for Vidalia, Georgia.
Vidalia City Hall is located at the corner of North Spruce and Carter Streets. Historic photographs are on display and available for viewing between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some of the historic photographs feature the moving of the town from the original site in 1938-1939.
Vidalia serves as the parish seat for Concordia Parish and offers availability and affordability of labor; established transportation network; state incentive program; excellent quality of life; outstanding school system; low crime rate; low property taxes; active chamber and civic organizations; many churches of all denominations and is a suburban community to historic Natchez, MS.
The Old River Control Structure complex, showing the three dams at the outlet to the Atchafalaya River. View is to the east-southeast. Louisiana is on the right and the state of Mississippi on the left
Vidalia is home to Louisiana’s first hydroelectric power plant and the largest prefabricated power plant in the world. A total of 41 countries and 21 states joined forces for this historic endeavor, the Sidney A. Murray, Jr. Hydroelectric Station, which is located in the southern portion of Concordia Parish. The Hydro office is located in Vidalia on Texas Street.
The Sidney A. Murray, Jr. Hydroelectric Station, also known as Louisiana Hydroelectric, opened in response to a need for a non-polluting, less-costly power source for Vidalia, Louisiana. A site approximately 40 miles south of the town was selected for the new facility. The plant started full-scale operations in 1990. It was designed to rely on the Mississippi River's natural flow and elevation drop at the Old River Control Structure, therefore not needing a large impoundment dam. It was also built in accordance with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers existing water management objective with minimal impacts on the surrounding environment. The station operates more continuously than most run-of-the-river hydro plants, with a capacity factor of approximately 55% and an estimated availability in excess of 99%. It is currently under an approved 42-year power purchase contract with Louisiana Power & Light. Vidalia purchases 6% of the power with an option to purchase up to 15%of the generated power.
The LA Hydro is the largest prefabricated power plant in the world. Its main business office is located in [[Vidalia, Louisiana]. The current station manager is David Harris.
Tacony Plantation, a National Register property, is significant in Concordia Parish history as the home of planter Alfred Vidal Davis and is the only remaining brick antebellum house in the Vidalia area. Tacony is an Indian word meaning "Big Man" referring to Alfred Vidal Davis, Sr.
The original portion of Tacony built around 1845 was probably used as an overseer’s house or a "camp house" because Davis, like many other wealthy landowners, lived in a luxurious mansion on the Natchez bluff. In 1860, Alfred Vidal Davis was among the richest cotton planters in the state. His land produced 3,387 cotton bales and 17,000 bushels of corn. Hal Garner, a restoration expert from Natchez, recently restored the home.
Tacony Plantation is also significant in African-American history. John R. Lynch, Mississippi’s first black U.S. Representative and Speaker of the House, was born a slave on Tacony Plantation in 1847.
Tacony Plantation is located one-half mile west of Vidalia on Highway 84/65 and is open by appointment to individuals and groups. Call the Louisiana Welcome Center to arrange a tour at (318) 336-7008.
Vidalia also offers its newest feature – The Vidalia Riverwalk. The Riverwalk consists of restaurants, a hotel, specialty shops, amphitheater, public boat ramp and brings back the "rivertown" charm that Vidalia once had. We invite you to visit Vidalia – A City On The Move.
Concordia Parish is the northern gateway to the Atchafalaya Trace Heritage Area, a culturally rich natural wonder encompassing 13 parishes in and around the Atchafalaya Basin. Here, the basin becomes the natural setting to experience the lives and traditions of the people of the region. The State of Louisiana and representatives from each of the 13 parishes are working to bring this project to its full potential over the next few years. A scenic byway will be part of the Atchafalaya Trace Heritage Area.
Time lapsed animation of basin from 1956 to 1993.
The Delta Museum, which is now housed in the former post office building in downtown Ferriday, LA honors Mickey Gilley, Jerry Lee Lewis, journalist Howard K. Smith, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Hollywood socialite Ann Boyar Warner and jazz musician Pee Wee Whittaker. The museum, featuring six life-sized exhibits, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free with donations accepted. For more information, call (318) 757-4297.
Mickey Gilley (b. Mickey Leroy Gilley March 9, 1936) is an American country music singer and musician. Although he started out singing straight-up country and western material in the 1970s, he moved towards a more pop-friendly sound in the 1980s, bringing him further success on not just the country charts, but the pop charts as well. Among his biggest hits are "Room Full of Roses," "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time," and the remake of the Soul Music hit "Stand by Me". He is also the cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl McVoy, and Jimmy Swaggart.
Early life and the rise to fame
By the end of the 70s, Mickey Gilley was already a chart-topping country music singer and musician, having a string of #1s and Top Tens. However, when the movie Urban Cowboy came out in 1980, Gilley was put on the map in country music, moving towards a more pop direction, which proved successful for Gilley that same year.
He was born to Mr. and Mrs. A.S. Gilley in Natchez, the seat of Adams County in western Mississippi. For many years, Gilley lived in the shadow of his cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock and roll singer and musician in the 1950s. The two as children grew up close by each other; Gilley lived just across the Mississippi River from Louisiana where Lewis grew up. Gilley, Lewis, and another cousin Jimmy Swaggart played piano together as children. This is when Gilley first learned to play the piano. Together, they all sang boogie-woogie and Gospel music, however, Gilley didn't consider himself a professional singer until Jerry Lee hit the top of the charts in the 1950s. Mickey cut a few singles on his own in late 1950s and played sessions in New Orleans with producer Huey Meaux. In 1958, he had a record "Call Me Shorty" on the Dot label and it sold well. In the 1960s, he played at many clubs and bars, getting a following at the Nesadel Club in Houston, Texas. In 1967, Paula Records released Gilley's first album called Down the Line and the following, he had a minor hit from the album called "Now I Can Live Again".
In 1970, Gilley opened up his first club in Pasadena, Texas, called Gilley's Club, replacing the club that was there called Shelley's Club. The club later became known as the "world's biggest honky tonk." He owned "Gilley's Club" with former owner of Shelley's Club named Sherwood Cryer, who asked Gilley to re-open the bar with him. The club portion of Gilley's burned in 1990, while the rodeo arena portion was razed in 2005 to make way for a school.
Recording career in the 70s before Urban Cowboy
In 1974, Gilley recorded a song that originally was only supposed to be recorded for fun entitled "Room Full of Roses", written by Tim Spencer of the Sons of the Pioneers, which was a one-time hit for George Morgan. The song was released by Astro Records that year, and then Playboy Records got a hold of the single, and got national distribution for "Room Full of Roses". From then on, Gilley was signed to Playboy Records. "Room Full of Roses" became the song that put Gilley on national radar, hitting the very top of the Country charts that year, as well as making it to #100 on the pop music charts. "Room Full of Roses" today remains as one of his signature songs.
He had a string of top tens and #1s throughout the 70s. Some of these hits were cover versions of songs, including the Bill Anderson song "City Lights", George Jones' "Window Up Above", and Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home". He remained a popular Country act for the rest of the 70s. Other hits in the 70s include "Chains of Love" (1977), "Honky Tonk Memories" (1977), "She's Pulling Me Back Again" (1977), and "Here Comes the Hurt Again" (1978). These songs were a mix of honky tonk and countrypolitan that brought Gilley to the top of the charts in the 70s.
However, a new breed of singers were entering Country Music. These singers were Country-crossover artists that brought Country success with them onto the pop charts. These singers include Glen Campbell, Crystal Gayle, Olivia Newton-John, and Kenny Rogers. In order to compete with these new breed of Country singers, Gilley had to sound like them and have that kind of country-pop success that these singers were having.
In 1978, Gilley signed on with Epic Records, when Playboy Records was bought by Epic. By 1979, his success was fading slightly. Songs like "The Power of Positive Drinkin'", "Just Long Enough to Say Goodbye", and "My Silver Lining" just made the Top Ten.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American rock and roll and country music singer, songwriter and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2003, they listed his box set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology #242 on their list of "500 greatest albums of all time".
Lewis was born to the poor family of Elmo and Mamie Lewis in Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, and began playing piano in his youth with his two cousins, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart. His parents mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano. Influenced by a piano-playing older cousin Carl McVoy, the radio, and the sounds from the black juke joint across the tracks, Haney's Big House, Lewis developed his own style mixing rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie, gospel, and country music, as well as ideas from established "country boogie" pianists like recording artists Moon Mullican and Merrill Moore. Soon he was playing professionally.
His mother enrolled him in Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, secure in the knowledge that her son would now be exclusively singing his songs to the Lord. But Lewis daringly played a boogie woogie rendition of "My God Is Real" at a church assembly that sent him packing the same night. Pearry Green, then president of the student body, related how during a talent show Jerry played some "worldly" music. The next morning, the dean of the school called both Jerry and Pearry into his office to expel them both. Jerry then said that Pearry shouldn't be expelled because "he didn't know what I was going to do." Years later Pearry asked Jerry "Are you still playing the devil's music?" Jerry replied "Yes, I am. But you know it's strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I am playing for the devil and they don't."
Leaving religious music behind so far as performing, he paid dues at clubs in and around Ferriday and Natchez, Mississippi. He became a part of the burgeoning new rock and roll sound, cutting his first demo recording in 1954. He made a trip to Nashville around 1955 where he played clubs and attempted to drum up interest, but was turned down by the Grand Ole Opry as he had been at the Louisiana Hayride country stage and radio show in Shreveport. Recording executives in Nashville suggested he switch to playing a guitar.
Lewis travelled to Memphis, Tennessee in November 1956, to audition for Sun Records. Label owner Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida, but producer and engineer Jack Clement recorded Lewis' rendition of Ray Price's "Crazy Arms" and his own composition "End of The Road". During December 1956, Lewis began recording prolifically, both as a solo artist and as a session musician for other Sun artists, such as Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. His distinctive piano playing can be heard on many tracks recorded at Sun during late 1956 and early 1957, including Carl Perkins' "Matchbox", "Your True Love", "You Can Do No Wrong", and "Put Your Cat Clothes On", and Billy Lee Riley's "Flyin' Saucers Rock'n'Roll". Until this time, rockabilly had rarely featured piano, but it proved a highly influential addition and rockabilly artists on other labels soon also started working with pianists.
The Jerry Lee Lewis Drive in Ferriday
On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips to pay a social visit while Perkins was in the studio cutting new tracks with Lewis backing him on piano. The three started an impromptu jam session, and Phillips left the tape running. He later telephoned Johnny Cash and brought him in to join the others. These recordings, almost half of which were gospel songs, survived, and have been released on CD under the title Million Dollar Quartet. Tracks also include Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and "Paralyzed", Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", Pat Boone's "Don't Forbid Me" and Presley doing an impersonation of Jackie Wilson (who was then with Billy Ward and the Dominoes) impersonating him on "Don't Be Cruel".
Lewis's own singles (on which he was billed as Jerry Lee Lewis and his Pumping Piano) advanced his career as a soloist during 1957, with hits such as "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire", his biggest hit, bringing him to national and international fame, despite criticism for the songs' overtly sexual undertones which prompted some radio stations to boycott them. In 2005, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.
According to several first hand sources, including Johnny Cash, Lewis himself, who was devoutly Christian, was also troubled by the sinful nature of his own material, which he firmly believed was leading himself and his audience to hell. This aspect of Lewis' character was depicted in Waylon Payne's portrayal of Lewis in the 2005 film Walk the Line, based on Cash's autobiographies.
Lewis would often kick the piano bench out of the way to play standing, rake his hands up and down the keyboard for dramatic accent, sit down on the keyboard and even stand on top of the instrument. His first TV appearance, in which he demonstrated some of these moves, was on The Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957, where he played the song "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On". He is also reputed to have set a piano on fire at the end of a live performance, in protest at being billed below Chuck Berry.
His dynamic performance style can be seen in films such as High School Confidential (he sang the title song from the back of a flatbed truck), and Jamboree. He has been called "rock & roll's first great wild man" and also "rock & roll's first great eclectic." Classical composer Michael Nyman has also cited Lewis's style as the progenitor of his own aesthetic.
Howard K. Smith as he appears at the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, Louisiana
Howard Kingsbury Smith (May 12, 1914 – February 15, 2002) was an American journalist, radio reporter, television anchorman, political commentator, and film star. He was one of the original Edward R. Murrow boys.
Smith was born in Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana near Natchez, Mississippi, to Howard K. Smith, a nightwatchman descended from a poor but "gentleman-farming" family in Lettsworth in Pointe Coupee Parish north of Baton Rouge, and the former Minnie Gates, the daughter of a Cajun riverboat pilot.
ABC News commentator Howard K. Smith with Richard Nixon in 1971.
Smith worked his way through Tulane University in New Orleans, having studies German and journalism. After his graduation in 1936, with both bachelor of arts and L.L.B. degrees, he signed on as a deckhand with a ship bound for Germany, where he briefly studied at Heidelberg University. In 1936, he spent a year as a reporter in New Orleans before securing a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University's Merton College, from which he graduated in 1939. Smith became active in student politics, mostly protesting Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's seemingly soft attitude toward Nazism. While at Oxford, he was the first American ever to chair the university Labour Club.
Jimmy Lee Swaggart
Jimmy Lee Swaggart (born March 15, 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana) is a Pentecostal preacher and pioneer of televangelism. In the 1980's Jimmy Swaggart's television programing was nothing short of a phenomena. Transmitted to over 3,000 stations and innumerable cable systems each week, Swaggart's telecasts were seen by more than 8 million people in the United States and by more than 500 million people world wide, making it the most widespread mass communication of the Gospel in history. Today, the Jimmy Swaggart weekly telecast, and "A Study in the Word" is seen nationwide and abroad on 78 channels in 104 countries, and live over the internet.
Rev. Swaggart began full time evangelistic work in 1955 in Ferriday, LA and eventually preached stadium crusades all over the world.
Jimmy Swaggart is married to Frances Swaggart and has one son Donnie, three grandchildren, Jennifer, Gabriel and Mathew, and two Great Grandchildren, Samantha and Ryder. Rev. Swaggart is the Pastor of Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge Louisiana, and also the President of the SonLife Radio Network with 78 stations scattered across America. Swaggart has recorded over 50 Gospel albums, with approximately 15 million recordings sold around the world. He is the author of the "Expositor's Study Bible and has also authored 30 Bible Commentaries and over 10 Study Guides. Rev. Swaggart first started his television ministry in 1975 and it continues today 33 years later, airing nationally and internationally to a potential viewing audience of over 80 million.
Rev Swaggart is cousins of recording artists Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley.
Frogmore Plantation, an 1,800-acre working cotton plantation with gins, slave row and 18 dependencies, contrasts a working plantation of the early 1800s with a modern cotton plantation and their slaves through an evolution from the wilderness to a thriving 1850s cotton plantation, then beyond. Frogmore Plantation is only 20 minutes west of Natchez, MS. It is the only tour of its kind in the south and received a Rural Tourism Award in the State of Louisiana for 1999. Call (318) 757-2453 for more information.
The RiverView RV Park is a full-service resort, one mile from historic Natchez, and centrally located to all of the area lakes and waterways. The RiverView RV Park also offers a primitive camping area at their facility.
Five camping areas are available and are maintained by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. One of these areas provides comfort stations and potable water while the others are primitive. All camping areas have all-weather access.
The longest-serving sheriff of Concordia Parish was Eugene T. Campbell, who served from 1908 until his death in February 1940. Another long-serving sheriff was Noah W. Cross of Ferriday, who served from 1944-1948 and 1952-1973. Fred L. Schiele, a Vidalia native, also was sheriff, having served from Cross' resignation until 1980.
Delta Music Museum Ferriday, LA
Previously known as the Ferriday Museum and housed in the old post office, the Delta Music Museum is located in Concordia Parish just minutes away from historic Natchez, Miss. Ferriday is the birthplace of entertainers Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, blues trombonist Peewee Whittaker and newscaster Howard K. Smith. See exhibits focusing on the history and culture of Louisiana's and Mississippi's Delta region music and visit the museum’s hall of fame
Welcome to Frogmore Plantation
Contrast a working cotton plantation of the early 1800's with a modern cotton plantation and gin of today. Follow the early Natchez planters and their slaves through an evolution from the wilderness to a thriving 1850's cotton plantation, and then beyond the War Between the States to a struggling new way of life.
Listen to the slave customs, secret music, and their surprising relationships with the master, mistress, and overseer. Walk through authentically furnished slave quarters, rare steam gin, and other plantation dependencies.
Then journey forward to the present as you tour an 1800 acre cotton plantation with a computerized 900 bales-per-day cotton gin. Frogmore is the only tour of its kind in the South and receives rave reviews by all attendees. We have received the Louisiana Tourism award in 1999 and have been featured in Country Discoveries magazine along with AAA Southern Traveler, La. Cultural Vistas, as well as many other magazines and PBS documentaries.
We are handicapped accessible and have a golf cart for the disabled.
Translations for French and German visitors include professional videos filmed on site of both historical and modern details.
Located in Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River at Natchez.
11054 Hwy 84
Frogmore, LA 71334
318-757-2453 or 757-3333
COTTON, THEN & NOW is the story told at Frogmore Plantation, and there is cotton in the fields to pick from mid-July through April; then planting begins anew. An 1800-acre working cotton plantation, Frogmore has 18 restored antebellum structures that date from the early 1800's. Along with the history of the early Natchez planters and their slaves, the tour includes a rare Smithsonian quality steam cotton gin. Optionally, the tour continues through modern day plantation life, including the planting, harvesting, and computerized ginning of cotton.
Tourist In Cotton
The tour begins in a quaint log cabin of hand-hewn cypress timbers with a history of the area Indians and early settlers. The floods of the Mississippi, Tensas, Ouachita, and Black Rivers continually replenished the topsoil at Frogmore, making it a lucrative venture for the Natchez planters. The guide tells of the evolution of change, decade by decade, beginning in the 1790's and beyond the War Between the States that created a new lifestyle called sharecropping. The work habits and slave customs are a main focus throughout the tour. A video depicting living history re-enactments and the first Eli Whitney gin is part of the orientation before the tour begins.
Old Cotton Gin Stands
The Smithsonian quality 1884 Munger steam gin is the next stop. Listed on the National Register, this pre-civil war building houses rare Munger equipment. Robert Samuel Munger was the first person to invent suction in the gins, and also he created the continuous ginning system with the double-box press, all patented in 1884.
Next stop is the sugarcane mill and barn filled with early hand-held tools and mule-drawn implements. The nearby commissary is filled with supplies, cotton sacks, baskets, scales & other utilitarian needs of the 1800's.
Adjacent to the commissary is the overseer's cottage, an 1810 hand-pegged, cypress dogtrot furnished authentically. Benches on the porches beckon visitors to relax momentarily overlooking the cotton fields and sugar cane patch. Tourists can pick cotton all months except May and June when the plants are still immature.
Cook In Cabin
Also overlooking the cotton fields is the cooking cabin, the kitchen for the slave quarters. During group tours, Dorothy (Frogmore descendant) fires the outdoor oven for breads and demonstrates a hoecake. She relates meals in the quarters.
The living quarters next door has the original shingle roof and ceiling rafters with the bark still on much of the wood. The 1840 cabin is both an authentic slave cabin, and later a sharecropper cabin, and each room is furnished respectively. The guide tells of the progression of change in the architecture and décor. She then describes all chronological chores that were secondary to cotton. Surprising facts are revealed about the plantation mistress, the owner's wife. Her handwork is evident in the washhouse & sewing cabin which houses a spinning wheel, loom, quilting rack, ironing supplies, and rare 1800's washing machine. A short stroll back to the plantation store (also gift shop) passes the smokehouse, 3-hole privy, and pigeonnier.
Frogmore is also a modern, working plantation with a 900 bales-per-day computerized cotton gin. Cotton and cottonseed products, world production and statistics, and unusual cotton facts are included in the modern-day tour.
Aerial Photo of Cotton Gin Today
Journey forward to the present as you tour an 1800 acre modern day working cotton plantation with computerized 900 bales-per-day cotton gin. Ten months of the year, visitors can pick cotton and weigh it in. Spring or fall, rain or shine, visitors experience ginning first hand via video. Mid-September through the end of October, visitors can also view the gin in operation along with the video to explain the process.
New Gin Stands
George "Buddy" Tanner was selected the most outstanding ginner in the U. S. by the National Ginner's Association and currently serves as a delegate to the National Cotton Council. He personally relates unusual products, cotton techniques, and world facts to group tours, and he is almost always available to answer questions for individuals as well. The Tanners offer not only a comprehensive historical tour, but also pride themselves on the agricultural, botanical, and industrial aspects of the tour.
Concordia Parish Courthouse
The Concordia Parish Courthouse was built in 1939 to replace an earlier parish courthouse which was demolished when the entire town of Vidalia, the parish seat, was relocated six blocks inland from the Mississippi River as a result of a federal flood control project. The four story brick and stone building is a restrained example of the Art Deco style. It stands facing four-lane U.S. Highway 65/84 in roughly the middle of a large grassy square. The courthouse retains its National Register eligibility because its exterior remains largely intact.
Both the façade and the rear elevation exhibit a three-part design consisting of a wide, four-story, seven bay central pavilion flanked by small, very slightly recessed, three-story wings. A fairly recent, compatible, small one-story wing projects from the center pavilion's rear elevation. The height difference between the
pavilion and side wings creates the setbacks which are characteristic of the Art Deco style.
The majority of the building is sheathed in brick. However, its decorative elements, many of which are located on the pavilion's façade, are articulated in stone. For example, the pavilion's first story is entirely covered by stone, and its second and third stories have stone on the five middle bays. An Art Deco belt course between the first and second floors features a Greek key design. This belt course extends beyond the pavilion to encircle the building. Fluted pilasters separate the five stone-covered bays. The pilasters rise to a large stone panel bearing the building's name. On the side wings, a parapet located at the same height as the panel is
outlined by a smooth belt course and coping. The entrance surround features a fluted area above the double door and a scalloped Art Deco motif bisecting the flutes.
Alterations to the exterior include the previously mentioned rear wing, the replacement of the original windows and doors and the construction of covered walkways which attach to the sides of the building.
Newspapers from the period indicate that the first floor originally held parish and school board offices and the second floor held a courtroom and its supporting spaces. The fourth floor contained the jail, and its windows still display the bars used to prevent prisoner escapes. The use of the third floor was not recorded, but
it surely must have held additional offices. Unfortunately, no record survives of any interior decorative motifs, and it has been subdivided and modernized to the extent that very little historic fabric remains.
Despite the loss of the interior and the exterior changes, the building clearly maintains enough integrity to qualify for National Register listing. In fact, there is no doubt that anyone from the historic period would recognize the courthouse should he or she return to Vidalia today. As the most important public building in
“New Vidalia,” the Concordia Parish Courthouse clearly symbolizes the most important event in the town’s history -- its relocation in 1939.
SIGNIFICANT DATES: 1939
ARCHITECT/BUILDER: J. W. Smith and Associates, Architects
M. T. Reed Construction Company, Builder
Sheriff Campbell Home
The Sheriff Campbell house is set near the corner of a one-acre lot in a low density
residential area immediately behind the Mississippi River levee. Although the Mississippi River bridge is screened off by trees, it passes within 100 feet of the rear of the house, thereby creating a major auditory and visual intrusion. But the presence of the bridge is mitigated somewhat by the spacious immediate setting provided by the large lot.
The house has a large, boxey, and essentially symmetrical form. But the interiors exhibit a strong sense of space. Over a third of the ground floor is taken up by a large, Queen Anne living hall-dining room combination. This long room contains two fireplaces, an octagonal alcove set in the corner of the building, and an "L" dining extension at the far end. The heavily paneled and newel~posted staircase has two turns which give it a somewhat sculptural appearance. Its strong visual presence is owing to its massiveness, and to its central position between the living hall and dining area. There are two smaller parlors which communicate with the adjacent living hall-dining room by means of a combination of immense paneled, sliding doors. Though they are somewhat diminished by alteration, they still spread to an opening of over fifteen feet. When they are in their fully open position the three main rooms are visually united.
To the rear of these public rooms is a kitchen, a back stair, and a service area. The upstairs bedrooms are set along a hallway which runs from front to rear of the house. The only change in plan has been the enclosure of the upstairs porch which occurs in the center of the main facade.
The house features standard turn-of-the-century wood frame construction.
The square, boxey, hip roofed exterior features colonial revival details. The main facade features a central gabled pavilion which encompasses a two-story porch. The upper story has been enclosed, but the columns (which are now in the attic) could be put back and the enclosure removed. The fenestration on the ground floor does not harmonize well with the column spacing in the front and side galleries. The columns are of the stubby, catalogue ordered variety with Ionic capitals. Most of the windows have large, plain plate glass sashes, with the exception of the front
door transom which is leaded.
Tacony Plantation House
Tacony plantation house is set to the rear of the Old River levee, amid open flat farmland, several miles east of the town of Vidalia. Although the house enjoys the privacy of its own setting thanks to several well placed trees, there is an almost adjacent and relatively modern farm complex.
There are no remaining outbuildings.
The plantation house, which appears to date from the mid-nineteenth century, has an
irregular cross-shaped plan. The main floor, which is raised a full story above the ground, consists of two large, high ceiling parlors, front and rear, and a third high ceiling room off to the side. This part of the house is constructed of brick.
Appended to the other side is a wooden wing consisting of two smaller, low ceiling rooms with a chimney between. One would think the wooden wing, and the more pretentious brick part of the house, were built at different times. But the beam structure, the beaded door and window frames, the floor boards, the chimneys, and the brickwork are very similar in both parts of the house. The similarity of these features suggests that the two parts of the house are at least roughly contemporary.
The house has undergone numerous changes since its construction. Most of the galleries have been replaced. These include the gallery which encompasses the wooden wing on three sides, and the rear screened porch on the brick portion. The four-column, pent-roof front porch on the brick portion is original, but it has lost its flight of approach steps. Although these new galleries are built of modern materials, they echo the form of the original galleries as shown in old photographs.
There is also a small filled-in gallery on the front of the brick portion which contains a bathroom. Most of the lower story of the brick portion was always enclosed, though not finished. Part of this area contains a cistern, and part has been finished off with modern materials. At one time there was an interior staircase leading to the large back parlor. This has been removed. The lower story of the wooden wing appears to have been open at one time, though it was enclosed with board and batten siding which matched the upper story by the late nineteenth century. This siding has since been replaced with clapboard. All but four of the windows have been replaced, but most of the doors (the Victorian, four panel type) are original. The two main upstairs rooms in the wooden wing have been paneled over in knotty pine, the fireplaces have been covered up, and the floorboards have been covered.
However the more pretentious rooms in the brick portion are largely intact. Each of these three rooms has a fireplace with its own chimney. The three Victorian, cast iron mantels constitute the only high style feature of the house. Two of them are Rococo Revival and the third is a rather plain example of the Renaissance Revival influence.
The joists are spaced approximately two feet apart, and all of the bricks are of the old soft type, laid up in common bond.
From a design standpoint, Tacony Plantation house must be viewed as an awkward,
rambling assemblage of rooms, porches, galleries, hip roofs, pitched roofs, and chimneys, with no consistency, either of style or overall form. Although the house is large and comfortable with a few high style elements, there is no pretension. Nonetheless, the house conveys a strong sense of its antiquity, and of its historic importance as a plantation house.
SPECIFIC DATES ca. 1850
Posted by Palmer at 4:53 PM