Last week the Department of Archives and History held a public meeting in the Pineville Community just north of Pass Christian to discuss a new historic district along Menge Avenue. The meeting was held at Oak Crest on Menge Avenue, a 1920 two-story Neoclassical manor that now serves as a bed and breakfast and event space. The name of the district would be the Cuevas Rural District–it will include properties that front on Menge and runs from just north of Red Creek Road then about a mile south to Fahrion Drive.
The district’s period of significance is between 1858 to 1960. It is being nominated under criterion “A” and “C”. “A” being that the “Property is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history,” and “C” being “Property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction.” While structures like Oak Crest or the Pineville Presbyterian Church are the more notable buildings in the district, most of the 60 some contributing buildings are smaller homes that really reflect the ruralness of the Cuevas Rural District.
Public support seemed to be in favor of the nomination, after learning that a National Register Historic District has no requirements or restrictions to property owners. The larger concern from the public at the meeting is the possible annexation of unincorporated Pineville by the city of Pass Christian and whether the National Register district would then become a local historic district covered by a review commission. This is understandable as other coastal cities have chased their tax base north through annexation. There are approximately 74 property owners in the district. For the district to be stopped roughly half of the district would have to object to it. With no restrictions created by the district and the eligibility for tax credits for contributing buildings in the district, I think there is a strong possibility that this district will be supported by its inhabitants when it is presented to the Mississippi Historic Preservation Professional Review Board in Jackson on September 16th.