First Baptist Church site offers lessons for Natchez

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The crumbling church sitting at the intersection of Main and South Rankin streets is a sad commentary on a series of bumbling mistakes.

The former First Baptist Church holds many memories inside window-less, crumbling walls. Local residents and those who’ve moved on were baptized inside. They attended funerals of loved ones. And they met new friends.

Historically and architecturally speaking the structure carried great significance, once bearing stained-glass windows, copper rain gutters and a clay-tile roof.

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But none of that matters now. The windows, gutters and much of the roof are gone. It’s a large pile of rubble.

The city simply didn’t act fast enough to save this downtown treasure. Code enforcement wasn’t present when it should have been.

Then, when a developer stepped into the picture, too many rules were bent and needed maintenance was ignored.

The church is lost; there are no two ways about it.

But the disappointing commentary is coming to a close. St. Mary Basilica has bought the property and announced a desire to tear down the building and clear the lot — with the city’s permission.

St. Mary is a well-respected community member, and we trust them to handle the property with care.

It is time for the eyesore to go and for Natchez to learn from its mistakes.