11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Natchez

Year Listed: 1994
Location: Natchez, Mississippi
Threat: Development

Significance

In its heyday, Natchez was one of the wealthiest towns in the antebellum South. The legacy of that era is the treasure-trove of great architecture drawing a quarter-million tourists annually, many of whom flock to the famed seven-week extravaganza of house and garden tours known as the Pilgrimage. After riverboat gambling was legalized in Natchez in 1990, city leaders wisely adopted a plan to control gaming-related development that might occur. However, they then gave preliminary approval to construction of a massive 10-story structure, comprised of a hotel and 850-car parking garage, that loom over the riverfront Under-the-Hill Historic District and would spoil the view of the Mississippi River bluffs atop which the city stands. Residents fear that this is only the beginning and that additional inappropriate development will accomplish what wars, floods and economic hard times were never able to do: scar the beautiful face of historic Natchez.