Monday, March 19, 2007
Revisiting downtown Natchez
One of our writers, Tommy Ford, recently visited Natchez again (see his previous writeup here). Tourists come from all over the world to tour the stately mansions, and experience the hospitality and rich history of the old Southern town. One area of concern noted in his writeup was the downtown area, which had most of the old buildings boarded up. The old downtown movie theatre was still closed, with old celebrity photos in the windows now gone. There have been some positive developments, as new local businesses have moved into the downtown area into some of these old buildings, including coffee shops, antique stores, a brand new book store in another.
The downtown area has alot of potential in attracting tourists who come in droves on tour buses for the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. We always encourage preservation of historic buildings where feasible, which uses existing building space and preserves the unique architectural character and sense of place for future generations to enjoy. There are too many downtown areas that have destroyed their historic old buildings in the name of progress or have neglected them and have suffered for it.
Thankfully, many towns and cities we have visited have had the insight to focus on preserving their downtown areas and have seen them blossom and become revitalized again. These are positive signs for the Natchez downtown area. It is a gem in the rough.
For an interesting read, check out Natchez and the Mississippi, signed by the author