Rodney Presbyterian Church, Jefferson County

Rodney Presbyterian Church, Jefferson County – (c. 1832) (National Register) Rodney is likely Mississippi’s most famous ghost town and reams of paper have been filled with its history, as well as the history of Rodney Presbyterian Church, the most evocative remnant of the abandoned town. Over 1,000 people inhabited Rodney at its height, when it was an important Mississippi River port between Natchez and Port Gibson. However, a sandbar formed in the Mississippi River during the 1860s which would eventually reroute the river several miles away from Rodney. The year 1869 saw most of Rodney burn to the ground with a majority of the population gone by the 1880s, settling with the railroad in Fayette. Rodney Presbyterian Church has withstood all of the tribulations which have befallen the town of Rodney, standing in importance as a unique Federal style church. Rodney Presbyterian Church is the only known antebellum Mississippi church ever built with a curved parapet, the building’s most distinctive feature. The church also possesses two interestingly shaped fanlights over the double entrances, still framed with Federal period woodwork. The Tuscan-columned belfry, although more of a home for wasps than church bells, still illustrates the creativity Rodney Presbyterian Church’s unknown builder exhibited in the church’s circa 1832 design. Although not an architectural feature, the façade also contains a cannonball allegedly fired in 1863 by the U. S. S. Rattler during the shelling of Rodney (but not apparently present in the 1930s photograph taken by Eudora Welty).

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