Last winter, before any thought of Spring flooding had occurred, I happened upon a Facebook page for Historic Rodney that had an album of historic photos from the 1927 Flood in that now almost-abandoned town. The first thing that strikes you from that album is how much life the town still possessed in 1927–people are walking around on the elevated sidewalks doing their business while half the town is flooded in the background.
More recent photos on the group’s page show this year’s flooding, which appears to have gotten well inside the Baptist Church in addition to most of the remaining buildings in town. The famous Presbyterian Church–owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, but listed on MHT’s Endangered List in 2003–may or may not have received a little bit of water. It’s hard to tell from this picture–uploaded on May 20–how far up it went.
A report this weekend from Jessica Crawford of The Archaeological Conservancy brought news that the flood waters have receded. The streets are dry and the grass has even turned green (which is more than I can say about my poor thirsty yard).
Photos of the Presbyterian Church show some damage on the exterior which may be a result of the flood or might just be pre-flood conditions, and a spooky nighttime shot of the Baptist Church indicates the water is at least gone–not sure of the interior, which must be very moldy after what looks like about 3 feet of water inside.
There has been some work this Spring in Rodney, specifically focused on cleaning up the cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church, which had been sadly neglected. I have also heard that the UDC may have the Presbyterian Church up for sale, which is kind of a shock, but I guess indicates they have come to the conclusion that they can’t give the building the kind of care it needs and that maybe someone else can. Whether that is the case remains to be seen. We all love Rodney, but it sure continues to rot away. It won’t be even partially savable in a few years if some stabilization doesn’t occur now.
Categories: Historic Preservation
Lots of Library of Congress images can be found here:
Even more at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=rodney+mississippi&sg=true
If you have trouble getting to any images because the link doesn’t work, I know how to figure out how to get to them, since the images on LOC are set up in standard ways.
The churches in Rodney must be preserved and I will be interested in helping in any way that I can. I was told by a UDC member that the UDC does not have clear title to the property. Another party has a claim on part of the property. I do not know where to learn more about the question or when it can be settled.
There are some issues with the title, but they can be worked out. A specific foundation was formed from the UDC to manage & maintain the church. It was something like Foundation for the Rodney Presbyterian Church. It officially owns the church. The foundation was dissolved several years ago and it was done before it transferred the deed to the church back to the UDC. It’s basically the same people, but on paper, they’re different. The UDC can probably claim ownership through adverse possession, though. There is also someone who claims to own some of the church’s property, and they often threaten to go to court, then never follow through.