Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Madison County Developments with Historical Names

Left: The Chapel of the Cross, located near Annandale, Madison County, Mississippi

Even with the economy in the shape it is, Madison County, Mississippi, seems to be a place where new construction is still ongoing, and I especially enjoy reading the names of new developments in the towns of Madison and Ridgeland. More often than not, these names are historical in nature, and the naming process seems to be one that local builders and county and city officials alike take seriously and put much thought into. Assigning developments historic-related names has been a consistent process since the county first began its growth, as evidenced by the names of some of the older housing areas. For this discussion, three of those particular developments come to mind, Annandale, Rose's Bluff, and Dinsmoor.

Annandale, of course, is named for the plantation of the same name owned by the Johnstone family, the same family responsible for building the Chapel of the Cross on Highway 463, or Mannsdale Road. Originally built in a pastoral setting about three miles southwest of I-55, with very few services nearby, the development known as Annandale is now one of many well-established neighborhoods of beautiful homes set behind brick walls, where tall, old trees grace lush St. Augustine lawns. The entire development surrounds two well-known Jackson-area golf courses, Whisper Lakes and Annandale Golf Club, the location of at least one PGA golf tournament each year.

A Natchez Trace Parkway scenic marker just north of Ridgeland marks the original location of Rose's Bluff. The place that was once a small, white, and secluded sandy beach on the Pearl River at the bottom of a steep bluff is now barely recognizable to those of us who went there as teenagers for picnics and to swim. What was once a place to escape the vigilant eyes of 1960's parents in nearby Jackson is now the home of an upscale waterfront development of the same name. Rose's Bluff, the development, is adjacent to the Jackson Yacht Club and its marina on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, a 33,000 acre water supply and recreational area developed over 30 years ago by building a dam on the Pearl River near the Madison and Rankin County lines.

The development named Dinsmoor is home to large, elegant homes with a range of stylish facades for even the most discerning homeowner, all set on well-manicured lawns and located near a full range of contemporary shopping options. The name Dinsmoor came from the name of a Choctaw Agent named Silas Dinsmoor who served in the Mississippi Territory from 1807 until the 1820s. A reference to the development's namesake was made in a press release dated December 10, 2008, prepared by the City of Ridgeland, an announcement was made about of historical markers planned for placement on Old Agency Road. In that release, mention is made of a "quarrel" that "took place between Dinsmoor and (Andrew) Jackson on Old Agency Road in front of the Choctaw Agency."

As a native Mississippian, I am proud of the rich cultural history of our great state. And it makes me even prouder that cities like Madison and Ridgeland continue to work so hard to preserve the heritage that all of us hold dear.

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