Neighbors celebrate 50 years of memories

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2000

Residents past and present of the Kenilworth Subdivision in Natchez gathered Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the neighborhood’s development.

Following World War II, new industries like Johns Manville and International Paper moved into the area and created a need for housing. Kenilworth, behind Woodland Park, was one of the first subdivisions to be built in Natchez.

Duncan McFarlane, whose father helped build the subdivision in 1950, said the idea of a neighborhood reunion came to him earlier this year because of his mother, Beulah.

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&uot;I wanted my mother to visit with her old friends and then it just got out of hand from there,&uot; he said, laughing.

Not only did McFarlane decide to invite everyone living in the subdivision now, he invited as many of the former residents as he could contact.

Seven of the 69 properties are still occupied by the original families and at least 25 more families called Kenilworth their home for more than half of the subdivision’s existence. McFarlane said he expected about 50 families to attend the reunion, which was held at the home of Morris and Louise Doughty.

The subdivision took its name from the Mrs. Doughty’s family home on Auburn Avenue, which was the original house around which the subdivision was built.

Family tradition holds that Sir Walter Scott, author of the novel Kenilworth, is connected with the original home. The present house – built in 1932 – is the third to occupy the site.

Several of those who grew up in the subdivision recalled their fondest memories as playing on Doughty’s seven-acre property.

Will Warren, who traveled with his family from Pascagoula for the Thanksgiving holidays and the reunion, said he remembers organizing baseball games with other neighborhood children in the Doughty’s yard.

Others said they remember riding Sidney, the Doughty’s pet mule, and playing with other animals they kept.

&uot;We must have raised 500 children out here,&uot; Mr. Doughty said, smiling proudly.

Older residents said the most notable changes to the neighborhood over the years have been the additions to the once tiny houses and the distance from &uot;town.&uot;

&uot;Natchez people thought this was on the outskirts,&uot; Nickie Hicks said of the neighborhood. &uot;If you were from Natchez, you lived right downtown.&uot;

Warren said he wonders if the community ties held by residents of Kenilworth are even possible in today’s society and regrets that his children did not grow up with the same benefit.

&uot;Folks are so mobile now – they move around so much,&uot; he said. &uot;My children don’t have the same roots as I had growing up here.&uot;