3 On the Road: Rodney Church - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 On the Road: Rodney Church

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

A hundred and fifty years ago, the Mississippi River port town of Rodney had two banks, nearly two-dozen stores and a population of about five hundred. That was before the Mississippi River changed course and left Rodney high and dry.

Now, most of the town is gone. And with the exception of a few people, the bulk of the population nowadays comes and goes with hunting season.

State Senator Bob Dearing of Natchez is one of those who hunted in the bluffs above Rodney.

“A long time ago I belonged to a hunting club at Rodney," said Senator Dearing. Oh, the old country store was still there. I can see us sitting right there in front of that old Rodney store after our morning hunt having a Moon Pie and an RC Cola.”

A couple of the prominent buildings still left of Old Rodney are the old Baptist Church. Another old building probably better-known is the 185-year-old Presbyterian Church, built in 1835.

Senator Dearing remembers the church from his hunting days.

“I saw that old Rodney Presbyterian Church and I was impressed with it at the time,” added Dearing."

Well, the population of Rodney had shrunk so much that they just canceled regular services at the church way back in 1922. Up-keep of the place since then has been pretty much due to the kindness of strangers.

Maris, West and Baker advertising in Jackson renovated it in 1990. But time has not been kind to it since them. Mostly in cosmetic ways, faded paint and rotting wood. But now a major problem has cropped up. One of the brick walls has begun to buckle.

Left unchecked that would eventually spell the end of the building. And a buckling wall is a little over the heads of people who normally come just to sweep up and cut the grass.

But the church has friends from way back. Senator Dearing is one of them.

“I’ve introduced a bond bill to help them restore some of the walls that are about to fall down,” said the Senator.

Restoring the Rodney Church for the future will maintain it as one of those exotic tourists destinations in the same general neighborhood and in the same category as the Windsor ruins. And will keep people coming to this part of the state, a portion of Mississippi greatly dependent on tourism.

And last time I checked, very few tourists want to go see where something USED to be.

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