Resident sees many changes along Winchester Road

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2000

When most people think of Natchez’s past, grand antebellum houses and cotton-laden riverboats spring to mind.

But, Jennie Moroney has been witness to one piece of the city’s more recent history — the tale of the neighborhood now known as Woodland Heights, the neighborhood her late husband, Charles Lewis Moroney, helped build.

Since the ’50s, the Moroneys have sold off, piece by piece, portions of the neighborhood. Just last week, her son Charles Curtis sold the property next door, his former home.

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208 Winchester Road, Mrs. Moroney’s home of half a century, is the last remaining lot she has of her husband’s contribution to Natchez history.

In the boom years following World War II, Mr. Moroney bought the acreage along with two partners, Watt Scudamore and Premo Stallone Sr.

The enterprising group set out to turn the property, then an empty field, into a residential neighborhood.

&uot;It was just a great big pasture,&uot; Mrs. Moroney said. &uot;We were the first ones to live here.&uot;

Mr. Moroney, a student of architecture and a civil engineer, surveyed the land himself, and it was not long before streets, sewage and utilities were in place.

Soon after the project began, a recession forced the Moroneys and their three sons from their home on Gayosa Avenue into one of the new, but smaller, homes in 1949.

&uot;He promised us a bigger house,&uot; Charles Curtis Moroney said of his father.

Three years later, in 1951, the family relocated again, this time next door to 208 Winchester Road, where Mrs. Moroney lives almost 50 years later.

Except for planted trees and the paved streets, which the city put in during the late 1950s, not much has changed in the neighborhood, Mrs. Moroney said.

&uot;It’s the same kind of people,&uot; Charles said. &uot;Several of the families that lived here are still here,&uot; adding many have passed away.

As with most older neighborhoods, as the population has aged, the quality of life also has decreased, Charles admits.

&uot;This one has gone down a little bit, but not much,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s located so well, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came back up.&uot;

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map and finds a story where it lands.