Sunday, February 12, 2017

Margaret's Gro - Continuing Decay, Feb. 2017

Bad news on the folk art front: Margaret's Gro. is deteriorating badly. Margaret's Grocery, at 4535 North Washington Street, Vicksburg, was an amazing piece of imagination and devotion crafted by the Reverend Herman D."Preacher" Dennis. Margaret died in 2009, after which the reverend moved to a nursing home. Without his constant attention to painting and repair, his Temple to the Lord deteriorated and crumbled. Preacher Dennis died on September 4, 2012.
I occasionally bicycle to the site, and each time, the decay is more pronounced. Around 2010-2011, a group of preservationists tried to get funds to move and rebuild the temple in a protected space, but it was the depths of the recession, funds were unavailable, and the project did not proceed. Some of the sculpture and parts have been moved, but the bulk of the building is slowly collapsing.
The bus in 2014 was faded and in need of protection. as of mid-2017, it has been moved to another site for protection.
This is the grocery in 1985, about the time that H.D. Dennis married Margaret.
Only five years later, look what he had achieved. It was still a grocery, and you could buy some supplies there. But for the most part, the Gro. attracted tourists from all over the world. If any of you readers visit Vicksburg, take a look before it is gone completely.

Here are some older photographs, scanned from Kodachrome slides.

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