Historic Natchez Foundation honors local firefighters, others for being preservation heroes

Published 12:50 am Friday, January 11, 2019


NATCHEZ — The Natchez Fire Department was honored at Thursday night’s annual Historic Natchez Foundation meeting for the department’s heroic efforts last year to save the Prentiss Club building.

A group of Natchez firemen received cheers and applause as they accepted the Charlie Compton Preservation Award — one of the main awards given at the Foundation’s annual celebration of preservation, history and community action.

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The firefighters received the award for their efforts to contain and extinguish a fire that broke out in the Prentiss Club building on Sept. 2. The fire, which started in the basement, quickly spread to the roof.

Although the building’s roof was lost and much of the top floor received major damage, the Foundation — which acquired the building in December — will be able to replace the roof and restore the exterior of the building in order to find a new owner for the building.

The Foundation also honored Judy and Bob Flurry with the inaugural Mimi and Ron Miller Visionary Award.

The award, named in honor of the Foundation’s two previous executive directors, was given to the Flurrys for their recent donation of their house on State Street to the Foundation.

The Mary Postlethwaite History Award was given to Mark LaFrancis, Robert Morgan and Darrell White for their work on “The Parchman Ordeal” book and movie about the abuse and punishment of local African-Americans who were arrested and jailed when they tried to protest segregation. Some were sent to the Mississippi Penitentiary in Parchman where they were abused.

Receiving the George and Ethel Kelly Preservation Award were Ginger and James Hyland for their work to restore the towers on The Towers antebellum house, the Natchez Garden Club for its efforts to restore Magnolia Hall, the Pilgrimage Garden Club for its work on Stanton Hall and to James Wade for his work to restore the Casey Mallory Townhouse on Franklin Street next to the Guest House.

Others receiving special merit awards included:

  • Debbie and Gregory Cosey for their work on Concord Quarters
  • Betty Jo Harris for her work on her house at 405 S. Union St.
  • Ben Ledbetter for his work on the Harrison House on New Street near the Natchez Little Theatre
  • Lizzie and Christopher Martin for their work on their house Sunset Lodge on South Rankin Street
  • Louise Peabody for her work at 28 Cemetery Road
  • William Thames for his work on the Rivera Building on Franklin Street.