Holly Springs: Mississippi Central Railroad Office (1852)

This home, known as the Mississippi Central Railroad Office, was built in 1852 by A.J. McConnico and was originally located where the First Presbyterian Church is now.  In 1859, prior to the construction of the Presbyterian Church, this building was moved down the street by a team of oxen, carrying the house on logs.  Unfortunately, the oxen could not rotate the house once it was placed on the other side of the street, and today the front of the house (facing Gholson Avenue) is the original back of the house.

For the first 10 years of this house’s life, it was used as the headquarters and offices of the Mississippi Central Railroad.  The Mississippi Central Railroad was founded in 1852 as one of the earliest rail lines in Mississippi, with services planned from Canton, Mississippi to Grand Junction, Tennessee.  Commuter services in Holly Springs began in 1857, and the line was completed in 1860, just before the beginning of the Civil War.  Walter Goodman was the first president of the Mississippi Central Railroad, and was instrumental in getting the venture off the ground.

In 1862, General Grant began his campaign south along the Mississippi Central, on his way to Vicksburg.  Confederate General Earl Van Dorn’s December 1862 raid in Holly Springs severely disrupted Grant’s war efforts and resulted in the termination of Grant’s initial push to Vicksburg.  In 1868 Henry McComb gained control over the railroad and moved the headquarters to Water Valley.  In 1877 the Mississippi Central Railroad became part of the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans railroad, and in 1882 the line was again consolidated with the Illinois Central Railroad.

Between 1859 and 1883 the home was owned by Addison Craft (1835-1909), who sold the house to Henry Craft Fort (1853-1919) in 1883.  Between 1889 and 1937 the house was the longtime home of S. C. Gholson Sr. (1828-1910) and his heirs.  S. Vadah Cochran Sr. (1887-1971) owned the house between 1937 and 1945.  Frank Hopkins (1888-1953), his wife J.Shirley Hopkins (1873-1950) and their son Fred L. Hopkins Jr. (1927-2012) were the owners between 1945 and 1971.  The house passed through several owners for the next ten years, before Robert Fitch (1934-2002) and his wife Rose Fitch (1936-2012) lived here for over 20 years.  Irvin Priest owned the house between 2004 and 2013, when C. Collier Carlton Jr. purchased the home.

The Mississippi Central Railroad Office is a Greek Revival structure with vernacular styling.  It is a two-story frame house with hip-roof and single-bay pedimented portico supported by Tuscan piers.  The main entrance contains a transom and sidelights.

3 thoughts on “Holly Springs: Mississippi Central Railroad Office (1852)

  1. Bonnie Davis

    From the narrative above: “Local artist S. Vadah Cochran owned the house between 1937 and 1945” Was the owner during this period S.Vadah Cochran, Jr., the artist, or his father, S. Vadah Cochran, who lived directly across the street? Vadah, Jr. was a teenager in 1937.

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  2. Pingback: Holly Springs: First Presbyterian Church (1860) – Hill Country History

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