Welcome to The Corners! The construction of this house was started in1872 and completed in 1873 by John Alexander Klein. Mr. Klein built Cedar Grove next door and owned a 62-acre tract of land on this hillside overlooking the Mississippi that was known as Kleinston Landing. Mr. Klein built this home as a wedding present for his oldest daughter, Susan, and her new husband, Isaac Bonham. (at the age of 16 had been a courier for Stonewall Jackson in the Battle of Manassas in Virginia ).
When this house was built, the Mississippi River 's east bank reached the bottom of the hill where the railroad tracks are now located. At 2:10 P.M. April 26, 18 76, the river went surging across Delta Point , LA. The river had done what General Grant and more than 50,000 soldiers had failed to do in 1863 during the Civil War. The old town of Vicksburg was thus left “high and dry.” Centennial Lake and Delta Point Island now occupy the old riverbed. In 1902, the Army Corps of Engineers diverted the Yazoo River to restore Vicksburg 's lost port. This waterway is known today as the Yazoo River Diversion Canal . Between 1876 and 1902, the only port that served Vicksburg was at the foot of Klein St. and was known as Kleinston Landing as it was on John Klein's land.
The property across the street and the lot and building to our right, known as The Galleries, also belong to The Corners estate. Across the street there once stood a home owned by one of Susan's brothers, George Klein. This house, known as the “ Bellevue ”, was built around 1876 in the “steamboat gothic” style of architecture and burned about 25 years ago. The structure that is now standing on the property was originally the kitchen and servants quarters for George Klein's house. We use it now as a part of our B&B. There are two bedrooms, a bathroom, parlor, dinning area, and a kitchen, in this restored, fully climate controlled two story building. Just beyond the site of George Klein's house stood the home of Jefferson Davis' sister. It was called “Shamrock” and it was destroyed when the railroad confiscated the property for a right of way. On the lot north of the Corners once stood an ante-bellum home that was torn down in the 1960's for its brick. The brick, apparently, was more valuable than the house itself. Unfortunately, the destruction of historical property happened more often than not in Vicksburg after the Civil War. Unlike Natchez , for example, Vicksburg 's economy was not centered on plantation agriculture. After the war, Vicksburg relied on its established business economy that catered to riverboat traffic. Consequently, many ante-bellum homes were destroyed to make room for more businesses. The two storied galleries building now located on this property were completed in October of 1996. The Architect, Gilbert Hickox, designed the building to duplicate the look of The Corners. The Whitney's received an award from the Historic Preservation for building a new building that was compatible with an old building. This, The Galleries, has four bedrooms each with a spectacular view, fireplaces, antiques, marble baths, whirlpool tubs, sitting area in room.
The floor plan of The Corners is modeled from the floor plan of Cedar Grove, but on a smaller scale since it was built for just one family. The architectural style is a combination of Greek revival and Victorian with Italianate features. The pierced columns are unique to Vicksburg and there are about 60 other houses in Vicksburg that has retained their columns. These are hand made and each column is unique. Notice the motif of hearts, shamrocks, ring and diamonds depicting signs of love and marriage. The iron fence was made especially for this house in Pennsylvania and brought down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers . The gardens are intact as they were originally designed and laid out; even the brick walkways are original and have ring and diamond patterns in the layout representing the signs of love and marriage once again. They are called “French Creole Parterre” gardens, meaning a division of earth. The historic significance of these gardens was one of the reasons the home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bricks on the house were made locally out of clay and fired at low temperatures, so they are soft. Notice the signature brick of the brick mason underneath our Historic Register Plaque. This house is not ante-bellum since it was built after the Civil War. Architecturally it is, on the Oak Street face, like a Southern Louisiana Raised Cottage with lattice work: underneath the elevated gallery. Nonetheless, the house reflects the Victorian period and features a combination of Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles. For example, you will notice the front entrance is classic Greek Revival, while the supports under the eaves and the cast iron cornices over the windows 9on the side of the house) are particularly Victorian Italianate.
The gallery is made of cypress, as is the rest, the wood in and on the house, other than the heart of pine floor; all of the wood is original.
Isaac and Susan had two children, John was born in 1875 and Archibald in 1877. The river changed course and mosquito carrying diseases killed many here. Archie died in 1882 of malaria, then, in August of 1883, tragedy struck when Isaac was accidentally shot trying to break up a fight between two of his best friends in a saloon on Washington and Clay Streets. The following year, John died of malaria at nine years old and her father died at the age of 72. After this tragedy, Susan spent most of her time at Cedar Grove until the death of her mother in 1909, at which time she sold both The Corners and Cedar Grove and then lived with her sister until she died in 1935. During the Great Depression, this house was used at various times as an apartment, a duplex, and a rooming house, anything to get revenue out of an old house. In 1959, Dr. Robert and Susan Ivy bought the house for $8,000 and put about $50,000 worth of remodeling into it. They tore down the divider in the parlor and used the upstairs attic. C
Cliff and Bettye Whitney are now owners of the house. They were on their way to Washington , D.C. from Texas and got on a wrong road which brought them to Vicksburg and they stayed at Cedar Grove. While Bettye was exploring the area she noticed that this house was for sale and on the National Register of Historic Places. By 5 P.M. that day, Cliff and Bettye had the contract signed and bought the home. They furnished the house with antiques, some they owned previously and the rest bought at auctions and antique stores.
Their daughter and son- in-law, Macy Whitney and Joe Trahan, now own The Corners Mansion Inn and continue with the tradition!
The hallway is designed to capture the breeze with its high ceilings. All the floors are heart of pine, some boards are 20 ft. long, and by the look of the narrow rings- some may have come from trees almost 200 years old when cut. They were originally carpeted and you can see the marks left by the carpet tracks. The pictures in the hall were taken when the house was being restored in 1959. The doors could be opened on either end of the hall, the transom lights above the doors could be let down, and the side lights could be opened so that a breeze could circulate throughout the house.
In addition, homes could be “summarized” by taking up carpets or rugs in the summer. This house was originally carpeted; (You will notice marks on the floor left by carpet tacks). Cool air could be trapped in the walls to further insulate the house in hot weather
The soil in Vicksburg is known as loess soil and is very stable. The bluffs were formed from Aeolian deposits during the Pleistocene Ice Age. Unlike other sand formations that are round and smooth, the bluffs in Vicksburg are made of fragmented particles that are cemented together with additional soil particles.