FOR Natchez efforts to be applauded

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Natchez is literally dripping with history. Most of us know that, but for many of us, we can easily forget that preserving our history is both a responsibility and a burden at times.

That’s particularly the case when the history in question is less glamorous than an antebellum mansion, less mysterious than a Native American mound or perhaps less ornate than a fine object from our past.

Preserving history becomes even more difficult in Natchez, sadly, when the history in question has its roots in black culture.

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To look at the former Triangle Service Station on the corner of Martin Luther King and St. Catherine streets, it would be easy to miss the historic importance of the site, to simply chalk it up to another building in disrepair.

Compared to other structures in Natchez, it’s quite young, built in approximately 1926. Ferriday Byrnes, whose wife was largely responsible for the creation of the Natchez Trace Parkway, built the building originally.

But through the years, the location has become somewhat of an intersection of sorts between Natchez’s black history and its white history. That unique position makes the building worthy to be preserved for future generations, particularly as we continue to celebrate Natchez’s tricentennial.

Structurally, the building is threatened by water damage, which has led the Friends of Our Riverfront (FOR) Natchez group to apply for state grant funds to help repair the building’s roof.

We hope their efforts are successful and applaud their desire to help preserve history in all forms, but in particular the often-neglected area of properties of importance to the black community.