Remains of the SPRAGUE
On May 15, 1974 the steam towboat SPRAGUE (#T2327) better known as “BIG MOMMA” caught fire and burned down to the main deck at Vicksburg. She was last used as a tourist attraction in Vicksburg. Efforts for a rebuilding failed. Currently, there are three places in Vicksburg where you still can find some remains of the SPRAGUE: the Catfish Row Landing Park, the site the boat burned along Hwy 61 BUS (smoke stacks and paddlewheel shaft) and the Old Court House Museum (see below).
Remains of the SPRAGUE on Hwy 61 BUS: take Washington St (Hwy 61 BUS) at Exit 1 of I-20, drive straight on through historic downtown Vicksburg, drive another 0,6 mi starting at the traffic light corner Washington/East First/Levee St, there’s a place to stop or turn around on the right side shortly after you see the remains and a gravel road with an open gate shortly before the remains (you can cross the rails there), the smoke stacks are visible from Hwy 61. If you arrive by boat, it’s about a 1 mi walk. Follow Levee St to the left, which will lead you to Hwy 61 BUS.
Catfish Row Landing Park
Young Steamboaters Choice
Catfish Row Landing Park is a new park located on Levee Street next to the floodwall and the boat landing. It is as a public park with a steamboat shaped playground and scenic overlook. Integrated in the park are parts of the SPRAGUE (#2327) like capstans painted in various colors like pink, purple, yellow, red, orange.
On Levee St / boat landing, take Washington St (Hwy 61 BUS) at Exit 1 of I-20, turn left at Clay St, turn right at Levee St (2 blocks) or take Clay St (US 80) at Exit 4B of I-20. The Catfish Row Landing Park is next to the boat landing.
Old Court House Museum
The Old Court House Museum is featuring some parts of the SPRAGUE (T#2327) like several steam gauges. There are also some remains of the famous racers ROB.´T E. LEE (#4777) and NATCHEZ (#4109).
Vicksburg’s Old Court House Museum
Take Washington St (Hwy 61 BUS) on exit 1 of I-20, turn right at Clay St (US 80), turn right on Cherry St (3 blocks), museum is located at corner Cherry / Grove St; if you arrive by boat, take Levee St. to the left up to Grove St (2 blocks), follow Grove St up the hill to Cherry St (4 blocks).
Vicksburg Battlefield Museum
Next to a diorama with 2.500 miniature soldiers recreating the battles of the Siege of Vicksburg, a 30-min movie called “The Vanishing Glory”, original Civil War paintings the museum has a huge, unique collection of boat models.
Vicksburg Battlefield Museum
From I-20 take exit 4B to Clay St (US 80) and turn right at Frontage Rd (next to the entrance of the Vicksburg National Military Park).
Vicksburg National Military Park, U.S.S. CAIRO
The Vicksburg National Military Park is also home of the Union Ironclad River Gunboat U.S.S. CAIRO (#0793) and a museum featuring artifacts and the history of the boat.
Vicksburg National Military Park
From I-20 take exit 4B to Clay St (US 80), ¼ mi straight on, park entrance on the right side.
Vicksburg Floodwall Murals by Robert Dafford
The Vicksburg Floodwall Murals by Robert Dafford feature different scenes out of the history of Vicksburg including a “steamboats on the river” mural.
Catfish Row Landing Park on Levee St. / boat landing, take Washington St (Hwy 61 BUS) at Exit 1 of I-20, turn left at Clay St, turn right at Levee St (2 blocks) or take Clay St (US 80) at Exit 4B of I-20.