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Historic sites on industrial site deserve county’s extreme care

Whenever you think you know the history of some place in Natchez, you may only be seeing the first layer.

For thousands and thousands of Natchez residents the industrial site along Carthage Point Road has a simple, two-letter name — IP.

From 1950 until it closed in 2003, International Paper was a considerable portion of our area’s economy. The foul smell it created was often referred to as the “smell of money.”

But before the mid-20th century steel and concrete structures were built, economic development of a different kind was under way at the site.

The 478-acre tract being purchased by Adams County contains some of our area’s earliest commercial agricultural sites. A portion of the land was used in the 1700s as a French colonial tobacco plantation.

Prior to that, the site also was apparently home to some of the indigenous people who were here prior to European settlement.

The Linwood mound has never been studied extensively, local historian Jim Barnett says.

But the mound and the former tobacco plantation are now about to become public property again.

We urge Adams County supervisors to use extreme care when deciding the future use of this land to ensure that no new development disturbs any important history that may be located at each site.

It’s possible to preserve history and promote progress at the same time. It just requires thinking through the layers.