Celebrate park service’s 100th with cake today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 25, 2016

NATCHEZ — There is a piece of birthday cake waiting for you this morning at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

Today is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service and the community is invited to celebrate with a party and birthday cake from 10 a.m. to noon at the center at 640 S. Canal Street.

“We are excited to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service,” said Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond. “As Wallace Stegner said, the national park system is America’s best idea. The parks are absolutely democratic. They belong to everybody.”

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Bond said Natchez is so nationally significant that two of the parks bear its name.

The visitor center is the primary reception center for the Natchez National Historical Park as well as the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway, Bond said.

The National Park Service’s centennial will be featured in today’s Natchez History Minute, a year-long series of daily videos highlighting some of Natchez historical events, places and people. The history minute is avalaible at natchezms300.com and the Natchez National Historical Park Facebook page.

To celebrate the birthday, the usual $10 house tour fee at the Melrose mansion will be waived for all visitors on Saturday and Sunday. Tours of the mansion begin at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The park’s grounds and slave exhibit are open all day free of charge. Melrose is currently closed on Thursday and Friday.

At the William Johnson House on State Street, self-guided tours of the family home are always free of charge. The William Johnson House is currently open on Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Friday, closed on Tuesday and Saturday.

The newly opened Fort Rosalie site on South Canal Street is now open to the public from dawn until dusk every day, with picnic tables close to parking. For more information, visit nps.gov/natr and nps.gov/natc.