Crews demolish piece of community’s history — old Mississippi hospital taken down after years of disrepair

Published 9:08 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

Workers and trucks were busy Wednesday demolishing a piece of Natchez history — an early 20th century hospital that served Southwest Mississippi residents for 35 years.

Crews were outside the old Natchez General Hospital at 601 W. Oak Street, tearing down its walls.

In the above video, a CAT excavator is seen picking up debris from a missing wall on the left side of the building on Wednesday morning.

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In March, the City of Natchez sold the property to James and Ginger Hyland, who own The Towers adjacent to the facility.

Built in 1925, the Oak Street structure served as Natchez’ main hospital until 1960, when what’s now Merit Health Natchez was built. The Hylands own The Towers antebellum house behind the old hospital.

The building, last occupied as a shelter for women, had to be vacated in 2012 because of its condition. The city acquired it in 2013 after the previous owner defaulted on paying property taxes.

The building sold for $105,000, which was the average of two independent property appraisals. One appraisal was obtained by the city and the other was obtained by the Hylands.

“This is a condemned property,” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said at the time of the sale. “It is a liability to the city and it is in a horrible state of repair. We don’t have the money to tear it down and we don’t have the money to renovate it.”

Demolishing buildings in the city’s historic district requires the permission of the Preservation Commission.

While the commission OKed the Hylands’ plans to raze the old hospital, it will later review what they want to do with the two-acre lot where the hospital stands. The Hylands said they’ll landscape the property that once was part of The Towers estate, which traces its history back to 1798 when its first structure was built.

“It belonged to The Towers years ago. We want it back,” Ginger Hyland said.