Endangered list brings awareness

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Southwest Mississippi earned a whopping 30 percent of the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s recent list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Three of the 10 locations are in our part of the state.

Two of the three are not surprising.

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The town of Rodney for example has mostly been a ghost town for many, many years. Once a booming town in the 1860s, a change in the Mississippi River’s flow pretty much dried up the town.

Problems continue to plague Rodney including a declining population, continued risk of flood and general building decay.

Like Rodney, the former plantation house Saragossa has been in disrepair for many years. And, also like Rodney, its years of neglect have put the historic structure in a precarious state. Built prior to 1826, the house’s current state allows the elements to wear on it day after day.

Curiously on the list this year is the Temple B’nai Israel, Natchez’s only Jewish synagogue.

A relatively new structure by comparison to Saragossa, Temple B’nai Israel was completed in 1905. A dwindling congregation has drained the resources needed to make needed repairs to the building.

It is our hope bringing awareness to the landmark’s predicament will help the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life raise the money needed to renovate the building.

MHT has long published the list after taking nominations from the public. The organization’s aim is to shed light on some of the state’s historic properties that are most endanger of being destroyed — either by man or by neglect.

Although we are saddened that three of the 10 are from our corner of Mississippi, we are happy to know MHT and others continue to focus attention and resources on our state’s historic structures.