I.T. Montgomery House added to National Trust Endangered List

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” for 2018 yesterday, and for only the sixth time in 31 years, a Mississippi site has made the list. The Isaiah T. Montgomery House in Mound Bayou, home of the founder of the first and only incorporated African American municipality in Mississippi, is a National Historic Landmark and has been the subject of many MissPres posts. We hope this national spotlight will boost ongoing preservation efforts to bring it back to life for its community and for the state.

Discover America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2018

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places is an annual list that spotlights important examples of our nation’s architectural and cultural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Almost 300 places have been on the list over its 31-year history, and in that time, fewer than 5 percent of listed sites have been lost.

The National Trust’s 31st annual list includes a diverse mix of historic places across America facing a range of challenges and threats, from deferred maintenance to inappropriate development proposals to devastation wrought by natural disasters.

I.T. Montgomery House, Mound Bayou

Isaiah T. Montgomery House
Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Established by former slave Isaiah T. Montgomery, Mound Bayou was one of the earliest all-black municipalities, located in the Mississippi Delta following the Civil War. Today, Montgomery’s home is in urgent need of stabilization and rehabilitation.

Read more . . . 

The Montgomery House shares this year’s list with the home of another founder, George Washington. Mount Vernon’s historic viewshed across the Potomac River, carefully guarded from development since the early 1900s, is endangered by a proposed gas compressor station.

Past Mississippi designees to the National Trust’s endangered list are:

  • Natchez (1994–due to possible casino development in the historic district)
  • Farish Street Historic District, Jackson (1995–even more endangered today than it was then)
  • Vicksburg Campaign Trail (1997)
  • Historic Communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2006–Katrina)
  • Threefoot Building, Meridian (2010)

Other posts you may like, or at least find interesting . . .



Categories: African American History, Cool Old Places, Historic Preservation, Mound Bayou

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4 replies

  1. The first thing I thought when I saw that the Montgomery House was listed by the National Trust as one of the most endangered places in the country is, “What a load of nonsense” (I said something other than nonsense, but you get the point). The house is probably the least endangered it has been in many years.

    There are passionate people in Mound Bayou who are advocating and working towards its preservation (the same people who worked hard to restore Taborian Hospital). The Mississippi Heritage Trust also received a $284,000 National Park Service Civil Rights Sites grant earlier this year to fund phase one of the house’s restoration. While the house has received CLG, Mississippi African American Heritage Preservation fund, and Save America’s Treasures (remember when that great program existed) grants in the past, this year’s NPS grant is the first big chunk of money the house has ever received.

    The Montgomery House is not saved, not yet. And it is good that the National Trust is spotlighting an important historic landmark. But is it one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2018? Not hardly. If the National Trust wanted to represent Mississippi with an endangered place on their list, there are plenty of more worthy places that need saving:

    Arlington, Town of Rodney, Columbus’s historic districts and structures, Jackson Zoo, Mississippi River Basin Model…

    I could go on.

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    • Save America’s Treasures is still around. Applications were due back on February 21, 2018. https://www.nps.gov/preservation-grants/sat/index.html

      I think that without a firm plan for the long-term care and use, the I. T. Montgomery House remains endangered. The NPS Civil Rights Sites grant will fund phase 1 of the rehabilitation work. I would wager that the NTHP endangered listing will help secure funding for future phases, and raise the visibility of preservation efforts in Mound Bayou as a whole.

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    • I agree with you, and from one perspective this is another example of the Trust’s choosing properties that are kind of on the cusp of getting saved rather than those that are truly endangered, the better to take credit at the ribbon cutting. From another perspective, this listing does often provide that last boost many properties that are on the cusp need to get over the finish line.

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