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Foundation honors locals for preservation

NATCHEZ — Both old and new were celebrated at the Historic Natchez Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday night.

Awards were given for history, restoration and new construction projects to honor community members who have paid special attention to the historic integrity of Natchez, Historic Natchez Foundation Director Mimi Miller said.

The Mary Postlethwaite History Award was given to the Natchez City Cemetery Association and the St. Mary Basilica Archives Committee.

The award is given to groups who have made substantial efforts to record and preserve the history of Natchez, Miller said.

The cemetery association received the award for its work researching, cataloging and storing history on the occupants of the Natchez City Cemetery for the annual Angels on the Bluff tour.

The archives committee earned the recognition for developing a website to preserve the parish’s history in records and photographs. The records have also been stored in acid-free materials to prolong the life of the records.

Steven George and Ethel Kelly Restoration Awards were presented to the following local residents:

Bob Adams for the restoration of 209 Arlington Ave.

Marlon and Charlotte Copeland for the restoration of Sweet Auburn

Douglas Horne for the restoration of Springfield Plantation

Greg Iles for the restoration of Edelweiss

Maureen Radzewicz for the restoration of the tower at 313 Clifton Ave.

Mac and Tere Thomas for the restoration of Laurietta Plantation.

Miller said the scope of these restorations was large for some, including the replacement of upper level additions at Sweet Auburn and the Clifton Avenue residence.

“It is very hard to justify putting something back up that isn’t going to be used, but that is what was done,” Miller said.

Special restoration awards were given to Lindsey and Katherine Callon for the removal of aluminum siding at their residence on South Pearl Street, Lucy Miller and Skip Denet for the porch restoration of their Craftsman bungalow on North Union Street, Glen and Bridget Green for the restoration of a property on Oak Street and Cappy and Judy Stahlman for the restoration of the commercial building on Franklin Street into a condominium.

Special merit awards are given to those who had new construction that was in line with the historic nature of the surrounding area, Miller said.

Those awards were given to Concordia Bank & Trust Company for the drive-through at the location on Main Street, Sarah Salmon and Amelia Salmon for the house built on North Pearl Street to replace the house destroyed by a fallen tree and Linda Wilbourn for the addition to her house on North Commerce Street.

And to keep award-worthy projects coming every year, the foundation is working with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Natchez National Historical Park and other groups to develop a two-year preservation school at Co-Lin.

Robert Ogle, who had started several similar institutes in the United States, said at the meeting the implementation of such a school would have a substantial economic impact on the area by creating craftsmen who are skilled in the restoration and maintenance of historic properties.

“We are doing a good job of educating people to talk about historic preservation but little to teach people who can do it,” Ogle said.

The preservation school would operate under Co-Lin and use Historic Jefferson College as its working laboratory. Courses would include history of architecture, materials and systems, masonry, carpentry, historic preservation law, roofing and other preservation skills.

Ogle said having skilled workers would fuel the restoration and rehabilitation trend that has developed because of programs like the federal rehabilitation tax assistance program, the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act and local and state tax incentives for restoration projects.

“We are no longer living in a new development world,” Ogle said. “Now, it is all about rehabilitation and sustainability.”