As advertised, the Natchez area poll closed at midnight on Friday, giving us our first completed poll in the quest to build a list of 101 Mississippi Places to See Before You Die.
Below is the final tally for the Natchez District, representing 4502 votes. You might recall that our report at the halfway point counted 641 votes, but in the last week, the voting really picked up due in part to a few messages I sent out to various Natchez and archaeologist friends. If my memory is correct, we had a total of votes somewhere in the 2500 range by this last Thursday, and then on Friday when I checked on it again, the count had really shot up almost another 2000 votes to 4502.
Reader David Stephens commented on Friday that it looked like one person or a small group of persons had taken my post title “Vote Early, Vote Often” seriously by voting over and over for the same properties, and I think that is the most probable explanation for the wide gap that separates the top group (Jefferson College and above) from the bottom group. In the interest of transparency, I should note that the poll, run with PollDaddy software, has been on the recommended settings from the beginning, which are supposed to refuse duplicate votes from the same computer, based on cookies the poll places on the machine. Obviously, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if someone was dedicated enough to sit at their computer for at least a few hours on Friday and to keep deleting their cookies and re-voting, I have a hard time getting too upset. Additionally, that all of these properties were deserving of attention and that the top properties in the final tally are not that much different than the top properties at the halfway point makes me feel that everything came out in the wash.
I was sad, however, to see the Rodney properties fall from the top half–Rodney is a cool place and worth seeing before it vanishes. I’m also surprised that neither Emerald Mound nor the Grand Village got into the top tier. Well, polls are sometimes surprising, and that’s why we do them.
231–Poplar Hill School, Jefferson County
229–Windsor Ruins, Claiborne County
226–Stanton Hall, Natchez
224–St. Mary’s Basilica, Natchez
219–Christ Church, Church Hill community, Jefferson County
215–Gemiluth Chessed Synagogue, Port Gibson
209–Commercial Bank, Natchez
209–Oakland Chapel, Alcorn State University
208–Glen Auburn, Natchez
196–West Feliciana RR Office, Woodville
147–St. Mary’s Chapel, Laurel Hill Plantation, Adams County
143–Jefferson College, Washington
81—Rodney Presbyterian Church, Jefferson County
61—Emerald Mound, Natchez
37—Rocky Springs Methodist Church, Claiborne County
33—Mammy’s Cupboard, Natchez
30—Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez
29—Hampton Hall, Wilkinson County
25—William Johnson House, Natchez
21—First Presbyterian Church, Port Gibson
19—Rosemont, Wilkinson County
16—Forks of the Road, Natchez
16—Bethel Presbyterian Church, Claiborne County
16—Rodney Baptist Church, Jefferson County
14—Wilkinson County Courthouse, Woodville
13—Prentiss Club, Natchez
13—Branch Banking House, Woodville
The variety of properties in the top half is comforting, with Longwood on top as expected (and as it has been in other statewide polls), but followed closely by the Poplar Hill School in Jefferson County. Both properties have something profound to tell us about the Mississippi experience, and I’m happy that the Poplar Hill School has such a dedicated constituency that really got out the vote for their favorite Mississippi place.
This coming Friday, if all goes as planned, we’ll open the Coast poll and start another 2-week timer. Since I’m just feeling my way around with these polls, I’m open to suggestions about how to make the process better, but I don’t want to shut it down so tight that it makes it difficult for people to vote or keeps people from raising support for their particular property. I’m also loathe to change the rules in mid-stream, after we’ve already completed Natchez. At the least, maybe I won’t name the post “Vote Early Vote Often.” Any thoughts?
Categories: 101 MissPres Places, Contest
I suppose I might weigh in that I’m a bit disappointed that St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Woodville didn’t make the list. While the building has had Victorian alterations, It is still one of the four founding churches of the Diocese of Mississippi and contains an important pipe organ. Still, I am pleased that a few Wilkinson County landmarks made the list. Can’t wait to see the Coast lineup…
I see the result in the sense of the vote-counts, but how does it translate to inclusion on your list?
Well, that’s the question. My initial thought, before I realized the obvious problem, was to just rank all the votes from every region in order and cut it off at 101. About halfway through the Natchez poll I realized that regions would vary in the total number of votes just because some regions can get out the vote better than others. Maybe I’m wrong, but I suspect that Natchez will end up being the big one, possibly only rivaled by Jackson, and then regions with a smaller number of suggested properties will fall behind, meaning that we could theoretically end up with a list composed almost entirely of Natchez and Jackson and maybe a few Columbus and Oxford properties scattered throughout.
Maybe I’m wrong–I hope that all the regions will be as interested in the poll as Natchez turned out to be. If so, it will make my life easier. If not, I think we’ll have to turn to some sort of hybrid system where we give the regions that got the most votes a little more leeway, but also stick to a roughly proportionate final tally that takes the top half or one-third of the properties from all the regions.
Needless to say, I’m not a statistician, nor do I play one on TV.
Maybe the answer is to rank buildings by the percentage of regional votes they received – rather than the number of actual votes received. I seem to remember that the poll would give us both pieces of information if when you checked the results.
So are you suggesting that only individuals from a particular county, town, region ONLY their votes count? Is this correct?
No, we have no way of knowing who is from what town or region or how they voted. The question is if other regional polls don’t attract even half the votes that Natchez did, how do we ensure that every region is represented in the final list of 101 properties. Poplar Hill, coming in 2nd in the Natchez poll, certainly will be included in the final list. It’s those properties further down on the list, such as Emerald Mound, etc. that will be problematic because they ended up in the but with 61 votes might actually have more votes than the top vote-getters in other regional polls.
We’ll really just have to wait and see how the other polls go before we can understand whether this will even be a problem.
thank you so much for your prompt answer…..
Our fans which consist of many family members and friends of Poplar Hill School got out and voted. Many who attended the school, their children and their grand children and several faculty member children were those who voted. We continue to work to gain funding to support the rehabilitation and re-opening of the school as a museum of African American History, Art, Architecture, and life in the early 20th century. Please contact us if you wish to assist us in our mission of saving history: email@example.com. We want to thank everyone who supported us from as far away as Australia, Japan, Germany as well as coast to coast. Thank you!!!
I share your opinion of Rodney Presbyterian Church; it is in my list of 101 Mississippi Buildings. I still hold out a little bit of hope that it might squeak through onto the final list; 81 votes is not a shabby total considering that Rodney doesn’t have 81 people living there.