—Vicksburg Heritage Walking Trail —
The need for banks grew as local merchants flourished and
more people had paying jobs. In 1895 Vicksburg had five
banks. By 1906, because of the economic boom, there were
thirteen local banks. Two historically significant banks were
located, in the buildings across Washington Street.
Freedman's Bureau and Banks
To help the formerly enslaved who lacked financial training and
formal education, Congress created the Freedmen's Bureau in
1865. The African-American statesman, Frederick Douglass said
the goal was "instilling into the minds of the former slaves lessons of
sobriety, wisdom, and economy, and to show them how to rise in the
world". In December of 1865, Vicksburg's branch of Freedman's
Bank opened at 1100 Washington Street. Across the country the
branches of Freedmen's Banks had attracted tens of thousands of
depositors very quickly. Congress failed to establish oversight for the
bank which ultimately led to the banks' failure in 1874. The banks'
failure left 61,144 depositors loosing almost three million dollars.
Lincoln Savings Bank
In 1902, W.E. Mollison opened the first African-American owned bank in Mississippi,
the Lincoln Savings Bank, at 1106 Washington Street. Mollison was an attorney and held offices on the
local, state, and national level. This bank not only catered to African-Americans but also had its share of "white" customers, which was unusual for that era.
Post Card showing off the First National Bank built in 1907 and reported to be "the tallest and finest bank building in Mississippi"
Bottled To Go
Because of Joe Biedenharn's creativeness and entrepreneurship, Vicksburg became the first place to bottle Coca-Cola®. In 1894 based on his experience from bottling his own flavored soda water, Biedenharn started bottling Coke® at his customer's request. For the first time in history Coke®-was available on-the-go and without going to a soda fountain. To find out more about the history of Coke® and Vicksburg, visit the Biedenharn Coca-Cola® Museum on Washington Street.
Believe it or Not
For years the price of a Coke at soda fountains and in bottles never changed. A nickel would buy a Coke from 1894 to 1950!