Celebrate resurrection of Cemetery Road

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Decades ago, when the Historic Natchez Foundation listed the Cemetery Bluff Historic District in the National Register, Weymouth Hall and the King’s Daughter’s Home were vacant and deteriorating.

Most of the cottages along the bluff side of the road were in poor condition, and rusted mobile homes and overgrown weeds intruded into the landscape of the historic neighborhood.

During the past 30 years, the Cemetery Bluff Historic District has gradually transformed into one of the most unique and picturesque neighborhoods of the city. Weymouth and the King’s Daughters are now restored. The earliest house on Cemetery Road, The Gardens, owned by members of Fred and Mary Emrick’s family for more than a century, has blossomed as their family home. The owners of these landmark houses have previously opened their doors to benefit the community.

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Smaller historic cottages on the river side of Cemetery Road have also been gradually restored and new cottages with compatible architecture have been constructed.

This Sunday the Historic Natchez Foundation and cottages owners on Cemetery Road are hosting an open house and preservation fundraiser from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Foundation headquarters at 108 S. Commerce St. and will be available at the tour site.

Park in Callon Petroleum’s graveled parking lot on Broadway Street, north of the train depot, and board a shuttle to Cemetery Road. Stroll through the cottages on the bluff side of Cemetery Road and enjoy light refreshments, cocktails and seasonal decorations.

All proceeds benefit the Historic Natchez Foundation, which staffs an office always ready to assist the public with information and assistance related to historic preservation and the history of Natchez.

In addition to acquiring and preserving deteriorated buildings, the Foundation preserves the 18th-and 19th-century Adams County courthouse records and has amassed an astounding collection of historic photographs and archival material.

The foundation receives no public money for operations and is funded by dues, donations and fundraising events.

Although proud of its financial stability, the foundation needs continued and increased community support to expand its operations to include a museum and an archival center in a restored and rehabilitated Natchez Institute with climate controls and fire suppression systems.

Natchez cares about preserving its historic resources, because it recognizes the importance of preserving the past for the future well being of our city.

Join us on Sunday to celebrate and recognize the creative achievements of our Cemetery Road cottage dwellers who have contributed to making the Cemetery Bluff Historic District one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Natchez and a complement to the city’s two historic cemeteries.

Pat Biglane is the president of the Historic Natchez Foundation.