Vaiden, Mississippi

The Pictures

Where is Vaiden, Mississippi?


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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us. . .


Vaiden's Courthouses


Note: Vaiden had the distinction of having all three of its Courthouses standing at one time. The first Courthouse, built in 1874 and later known as the Haman Memorial Educational Building for the Presbyterian Church, exploded early one Sunday morning in October, 1989, from a gas leak. The second Courthouse, built in 1905, was demolished in 1992 after a failed effort by the Mississippi Department of Archives to procure funding for its restoration as a National Landmark. The third and present Courthouse was built in 1989 on the site where the stores on Front Street stood. The first Courthouse did not have a bell; the bell from the second Courthouse is proudly displayed at the entrance to the present Courthouse. The clock mechanism was given to a private individual for restoration and was made by Seth Thomas Clock Company. The inscriptions on the bell read: "The Seth Thomas Clock Co., New York" (side of bell facing west) and "McShane Bell Foundry Co., Baltimore, MD. 1905" (side of bell facing east). McShane began casting its beautiful world-famous bells in 1856, and is still in operation today. Because of a fire at the McShane Foundry in 1946, recent research by Mr. William R. Parker III, Vice-President for McShane Bell Foundry, has indicated that the records for purchases and shipment of McShane Bells from 1900-1905, were damaged, and thus unavailable.

Visit the McShane Bell Foundry

Vaiden's First Courthouse -- 1874-1989

Portrait of Vaiden's First Courthouse

First Courthouse -- Built 1874

Another Photo

1930s Photo --

Old Courthouse (right) -- Used as a Private Residence for Miss Mollie Cain at this Time

During Better Days

1981 Photo

After Explosion -- October 1989

Courthouse Explosion, 1989 -- Article 1, Part 1 -- Article 1, Part 2 -- Article 1, Part 3 -- Article 2

Vaiden's Second Courthouse -- 1905-1992

It Was The Best of Times . . .

Artist's Rendering of Vaiden Courthouse -- Click to Enlarge

Portrait of Vaiden's Second Courthouse

Vaiden's Second Courthouse -- Built 1905; Demolished 1992

Second Courthouse in 1907

Southern Elevation Drawing by Roman Hudson

Western Elevation Drawing by Roman Hudson

Northern Elevation Drawing by Roman Hudson

Eastern Elevation Drawing by Roman Hudson

Layout of First Floor Drawing by Roman Hudson

Layout of Second Floor Drawing by Roman Hudson

Sectional Drawing by Roman Hudson

Aerial Drawing by Roman Hudson

Entrance to Tax Assessor's Office

Inside Assessor's Office

Another Inside View of Assessor's Office

Deputy Sheriff's Office

Another View of Deputy Sheriff's Office

Jail Cell Entrance

Jail Cell

Circuit Clerk's Office -- Photo 1

Circuit Clerk's Office -- Photo 2

Circuit Clerk's Office -- Photo 3

Circuit Clerk's Office -- Photo 4

Chancery Clerk's Office -- Photo 1

Chancery Clerk's Office -- Photo 2

Chancery Clerk's Office -- Photo 3

Chancery Clerk's Office -- Photo 4

Chancery Clerk's Office -- Photo 5

Law Books

Second Floor Landing

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 1

Same Image From Mississippi Burning

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 2

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 3

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 4

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 5

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 6

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 7

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 8

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 9

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 10

Almost The Same Image From Mississippi Burning

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 11

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 12

Second Floor Courtroom -- Photo 13

Second Floor Courtroom -- Jury Room # 1

Second Floor Courtroom -- Jury Room # 2

Second Floor Courtroom -- Jury Room # 1 -- Photo 1

Third Floor Stairs

Internal Signs of Structural Damage

Outside -- Eastern View

Outside -- Southern View

Outside -- Another Southern View

National Day of Prayer

Korean/Vietnam Memorial -- 1987

Old Courthouse Picture 1 – Courtesy of Mark Shands

Old Courthouse Picture 2 – Courtesy of Mark Shands


The Vaiden Courthouse aided in World War II. In the January 8, 1943 article ('Vaiden Outlook' section by Mrs. S.P. Armstrong), of The Conservative (P.2), the caption read: "Vaiden Court House Fence Gone To War." The article stated, "The fence around the Vaiden court house yard has been contributed as scrap to help whip the japs."


One of the old trees that shaded the courthouse is still standing as of July, 2001. Photo 1 -- Photo 2



It Was The Worst of Times . . .


. . .I see The Vengeance, The Juryman, The Judge. . .I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from the abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long, long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. . .I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward. . .I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul, than I was in the souls of both. . .I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which was once mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honoured men, bringing a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place -- then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement -- and hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and faltering voice.


With Apologies to Charles Dickens

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Outside Views


Courthouse Officials – Upton Canon, John Shands, Claude Hatcher (enlargement of above photo)

Writing on Top Photo Above – Negative Image Extrapolation

Sign on Attorney’s Window – John Shands (enlargement of above photo)

View From South/Southeast

View From South/Southwest

Western View

View From North/Northwest

View From North/Northeast -- Jail Area

Northern View

Looking North (B & W Photo)

Jail Window -- Northern Side of Building

Eastern View

View from South/Southeast

Clock Tower from East/Northeast

Clock Tower From West/Southwest

Southern View

View From South/Southeast

Another View From South/Southeast

Another View From South/Southeast

Western View

Looking Westward (B & W Photo)

Southwestern View

Courthouse and Lee's Grocery

Eastern View

Looking Eastward (B & W Photo)

Western View

End is in Sight -- Article

Gone with the Wind -- Another Article

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Inside Views

View From Bottom of 1st Floor Stairwell

Same Image From Mississippi Burning

Chancery Clerk's Office

Colored Restrooms

Another View of Stairs to 3rd Floor Balcony


Jail Inside (B & W Photo)

Storage Shelves (B & W Photo)

Witness Box View of Upper Balcony and Gallery

Almost the Same View in 1912 -- Unveiling Banquet

Down the Bell Tower Stairs

Partial View of Courtroom From Balcony

Owls in Bell Tower

Owl in Bell Tower Steeple

Jail Cell

3rd Floor Balcony Stairs

Clock Motor in Bell Tower

Clock Motor and Bell

View Down 3rd Floor Stairs from Bell Tower Entrance

Entrance to Bell Tower -- to 4th Floor

Stairs to 3rd Floor

The Interior of the Vaiden Courthouse was used in the movie "Mississippi Burning"

Repair of the Courthouse Clock -- Article

Murder in the Courthouse -- 1939 Article

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.


Gone, But Not Forgotten



Vaiden's Third Courthouse -- 1989-Present


Entrance (Eastern Side -- B & W Photo)

Notice that the 1905 Courthouse is Still Standing in the Background

Vaiden Courthouse -- April, 2000

1989 Courthouse Plaque

McShane Courthouse Bell -- Formerly from 1905 Courthouse

Bell Inscription # 1

Bell Inscription # 2



Page II

Back Home Again . . .Page I

Credits: Many of the wonderful photographs available from this page, were taken by Dennis Welch and Ricky Downs.




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Site Design and Compilation Copyright © by Ron Collins. 2007.