Thursday, December 31, 2009

Save the Sprague

Some of the remains of the Sprague looks like heaps of rusting iron pieces. I am not asking that we save every piece of the grand old boat. But at least the sternwheel, which was pictured on Monday and Tuesday, plus the two smokestacks, which I pictured yesterday, can be cleaned up and moved for display. They are easily identifiable pieces which can be seen in every photo of the steamboat.
You can barely see some of the iron pieces for vines and brush have overtaken them, looking like they are trying to pull them back into the earth.

Here's the crow's nest of the boat. If that thing could only talk! Think how it would look if it was sandblasted, repainted and mounted near the transportation museum or the MV Mississippi exhibit, with that big red sternwheel next to her and the two smokestacks erect. I can see it in my head....and it's great!

Save the Sprague. I am lifting my voice. Will you?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pieces of Vicksburg's history....rusting away

Here are the smokestacks of the sternwheeler Sprague, one of the most awe-inspiring vessels to ever ply the waters of the Mighty Mississippi. Ride down Washington Street now and you can see the pieces that have been hidden by vines and brush for the past few months. The other photos at the bottom of this post are other pieces of the historic boat. Another year has passed and the boat seems to be forgotten by everyone. I never even saw the boat intact and can only imagine how big a boat she was just by looking at photos of her. But I do understand how important these old rusty pieces are to the city's history, especially considering that the likelihood of another steamboat ever visiting the city are pretty nil. We need to save what we can of her before it is too late, even if it is just the sternwheel, smokestacks and crow's nest. I spend hours upon hours scouring the countryside recording scenes that one day will only exist in pictures. I do not want that to happen to the Sprague. For I can only surmise that at some point in time someone is going to want to use that piece of land where she now rests and will let the junkman have her. She will be cut up into scrap and hauled off. I will cry on that day when it arrives.

I am one voice. Will you add your voice to mine? Spread this blog entry far and wide. At some point in time someone who can do what needs to be done will hear us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Save the Sprague

Here is the sternwheel of The Sprague in the tangled vines between the Yazoo Diversion Canal and Washington Street. That's a smokestack in the foreground of the photo. More photos will run for the rest of the week to bring about awareness of this majestic piece of Vicksburg history that is rusting away on the outskirts of town. The more people find out about this, the better the chances something can be done to preserve what remains. I am one voice.

Monday, December 28, 2009

State of the Sprague

One of the biggest travesties in Vicksburg, as I have stated before, is that the remains of the Sprague, once the largest paddlewheeler that plied the Mississippi River, is rusting away in weeds alongside Washington Street. These photos were taken early Saturday morning. The paddlewheel, pictured here, is just majestic when you walk underneath her. Some of the original wood, complete with red paint, is still bolted to the wheel.

I can only imagine what it would be like if the city, state, nation or a private group would pull this majestic paddlewheel out of the weeds and restore her to her former glory and place her near the downtown area where they are putting the MV Mississippi exhibit and the transportation museum. Just think of a motor being attached to the paddlewheel in a shallow pool of water and folks once again seeing how bigger than life "Big Mama" was. What a showstopper!

Friday, December 25, 2009

In remembrance...

On the way to Yucatan Landing this past weekend with my friends Robert and Jerry, I took them to another abandoned church near Newellton, Louisiana. The dirt dauber nest on the communion table was a surreal image to me. These aren't exactly Christmas pictures, but they reinforce, for me, the meaning of Christmas. We have a Savior. We have a God who doesn't want us to go through life alone. We have a Lord who will never leave us, although churches may come and go. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Downtown Vicksburg

This ivy-covered window frame on what remains of a building behind the old Koestler's at the intersection of Washington and Bridge streets near downtown Vicksburg caught my eye the other day and I went and photographed it this past weekend. I haven't figured out what I love about this scene, but I think it is one neat picture!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The church at Point Pleasant

A while back I had heard about an old church near Yucatan Landing near Lake St. Joseph. A couple of friends and I ventured that way this past Saturday and finally found it. But, alas, it had collapsed about a year before. We missed it the first time we drove by it, but a second look showed us the twin spires of the church building. One of them is covered in vines, but the other is still visible.
My friends Robert Walker and Jerry Rushing were rather sad at the demise of the old church and wondered aloud about the lives that had been changed there. We thought about all the folks who had been married there, had their funeral preached there and accepted our Lord and Savior there. But the town of Point Pleasant eventually faded away and the old church stood as long as she could before the elements overtook her. The lone spire pointing toward the sky seems defiant to the ravages of time, trying her best to welcome folks to the church house doors one more time. I tell you this, the vines may cover her over one day, but I will never forget her.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Beauty is all around us if we take the time to look. This is a corn field on the west side of the levee over in Louisiana, taken Saturday morning. I think the reflection of the early morning sky in the water between each row is stunning.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Morning has broken...

God's gift to us on Saturday morning.

Photos taken at the borrow pits along the levee in Louisiana.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingkos in the park

And your warriors will fight and die with honor;
they will be buried with their gallant comrades near a city of Peace.

Mighty trees, whose blaze will mark the hallowed ground,
will grow to shade the resting place,
and once each year, they will shower the fallen Heroes
with leaves of gold, to match their valiant deeds . . .

Those beautiful words above were penned by my good friend, Rachel, a wordsmith extraordinaire at She has such a way with words. And those she wrote for the gingkos makes these trees even more magnificent, casting them in an entirely new light. Thank you, Rachel!