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?