Natchez National Historical Park to unveil Rosalie plan

Published 12:03 am Friday, July 31, 2015

NATCHEZ — Natchez residents will have an opportunity on Monday to glimpse Natchez National Historical Park plans for the development of the Fort Rosalie site.

The good news is, phase one of the Fort Rosalie site project is targeted to be complete by Aug. 3, 2016 — the city’s 300th birthday.

Kathleen Bond, superintendent, Natchez National Historical Park, said a series of panels showing plans for development of the site would be on display inside the Eastern National Bookstore located in the Natchez Visitor Reception Center at 640 S. Canal St. from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday.

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The program is part of the Natchez Tricentennial Community kick off, Bond said, and will celebrate the city’s 299th birthday. The event is free. Food, drinks and music will be provided.

“While people are at the party, if they come into the bookstore, they will be able to review eight or 10 large panels. So, people will understand which pieces of land we own and what our long-term and short-term plans are for that site,” Bond said.

She said National Park Service staff from Atlanta would be in Natchez during the first week of September to discuss what of the project will constitute its first phase.

“We are hoping to get the picnic area and walking trails complete in the first phase,” Bond said, as well as educational wayside panels that interpret the interactions between the native Natchez Indians and the colonial French, English, then Spanish soldiers and settlers who moved into this area. Off-street parking and picnic areas are also planned in the short-term. More long-term plans include the creation of public restrooms and museum spaces.

Bond said extensive archeological work at the Fort Rosalie site has provided a significant collection of artifacts, which will be housed as museum pieces in one of the two buildings presently located on the seven acres that constitute the Fort Rosalie site between Canal Street and the top of the bluff — the log cabin and the Steitenroth House.

“The Natchez (Indians) had their own pottery traditions before the Europeans arrived. After that, the Natchez began using the European methods of pottery,” she said.

She said one of the first steps of the project would be to “clear a whole bunch of trees,” put a new roof on the log cabin and stabilize it.