A Southern photographer’s haunting images from a bridal shoot and seasonal flood portray her intimate connection with the ghost town of Rodney, Mississippi.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses . . . .” Hebrews 12: 1
Guest Post by Ashleigh Coleman
As a native South Carolinian, Mississippi has captured my heart with its feral beauty, memorable people, and plethora of small towns. As a lover of art and good food, Mississippi has surprised me with its talented artists and gifted chefs. As a wife, mother of two little ones, and photographer, life is full; however, it is never too full to pile in the car to explore the backroads.
It is the love of photography and exploring dirt roads that led me to Rodney. Not exactly, but sort of. When I began scouring the internet for information on abandoned churches in Mississippi for a bridal shoot, little did I know that I would stumble across this purported ghost town called Rodney, or that I would fall in love with this haunting place.
The first trip to Rodney occurred a year ago. It was surreal. Driving for miles and miles without passing another car or seeing other people, all the while heading deeper into the dense and verdant landscape. Then, suddenly, there I was. And there were two very distinct architectural buildings————a Baptist church and a Presbyterian church.
Several additional trips to Rodney followed that first visit, as I scouted the location and lighting for a bridal shoot, a shoot that pulled together vendors and artists from Israel, California, Florida, Louisiana, and all over Mississippi.
The day of the shoot was the hottest day of 2015, or at least it felt like it. Even though we began shooting at 6:00 in the morning to avoid the heat of the day, we quickly soaked through our clothes. Navigating the area with gowns that cost over $10,000, fresh floral arrangements, a gorgeous 6-foot tall triptych, light fixtures, furniture, and rugs is a memory we laugh and shake our heads about now. It definitely etched the town of Rodney in our memories.
If you are interested in more images from that bridal shoot, you can visit Magnolia Rouge.
On another visit to Rodney, this time with my family visiting from South Carolina, we were caught in a brief, but fierce rainstorm. As the storm cleared out, we crossed the little bridge at the end of the road. Google Maps told us we could keep going up the hill to get to the Windsor Ruins. The gate was open, so up the narrow, bumpy track we went. Several times we had to stop to move small trees off the ancient road carved into the sides of ravines.
At the top of a hill, we paused and saw the Mississippi River in the distance. Eventually, an unmovable tree thwarted us. So close to our destination of the Windsor Ruins, too! After an 8-point turn, we retreated back down the undulating path, thankful not to be stuck in the mud.
Once back at the bridge, we stopped so I could take photos of the ferns growing on the embankment. Suddenly, a man riding a Gator roared down the path and out of the gate. Shocked to see someone else, we just stared. The man asked if we had been up the road, and then informed us that we had been trespassing on private property. I apologized profusely and explained that we were following Google Maps GPS to the Ruins.
He laughed. This had once been a country road, but it had been abandoned fifteen years earlier (maybe even longer, my memory fails me). Once abandoned, the road reverted back to its original owners (this information fascinated me), and now it is a large hunting camp for wild hogs and deer. The moral of the story: Don’t drive through gates, even if they are open.
As you can tell, I haven’t been able to shake Rodney. And, in trying to make sense of how a city could completely disintegrate, and so quickly————Rodney was incorporated in 1828 and abolished by Governor Bilbo in 1930————I’ve visited at least fifteen times over the course of the last year.
More so than other dwindling towns across the South, this place experienced true greatness, albeit fleeting. Rodney, once three votes shy of being the state capital, drew settlers from as far away as England and Germany.
At its peak, in the 1860s, there were up to 4,000 people living in Rodney. It was the busiest river port between New Orleans and St. Louis, sustaining two banks, two newspapers, four churches, 53 stores, and the state’s first opera house. However, the boom was followed closely by the devastating effects of yellow fever, not once but twice, a skirmish between the Northern and Southern armies in 1863, and two raging fires that destroyed most of the town.
During the process of rebuilding from the fire of 1869, Rodney was bypassed by the railroad. Simultaneously, a large sandbar formed in the Mississippi River, which shifted the river two miles west of Rodney, economically crippling the city.
From 1870 onward, the population steadily declined. What remains from the 19th century are two churches————one a Federal style and the other a Greek Gothic Revival style————as well as a country store and two other structures.
Map of Rodney, Mississippi (1839)
Note: This hand-drawn map of Rodney after the two fires was designed from existing documents by Virgil Roberts. Inaccuracies may exist.
The Mississippi River has flooded Rodney several times, most recently in January of 2016. The always eerily regal church buildings, out of place in the encroaching tangle of vines and tress, seemed even more displaced surrounded by the muddy Mississippi.
Of course, like others, I could not resist visiting Rodney while it was waterlogged. On the first of five trips while Rodney was flooded, we put the kids in the car at 3:00 AM so we would be there when the sun rose.
My wonderful husband kept the kids occupied, as I slowly waded out into the pre-dawn flood. Having never used waders before, I moved cautiously and talked myself out of turning around———every ripple in the water became an alligator or snake in my active imagination. Once I had conquered the fear of wild animals, there was the uncertainty of how high the water would get, and if or when I should turn around. At the highest point and the lowest dip in the churchyard of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the water was two inches from the top of my waders.
As I entered the sanctuary, my heart caught in my chest and tears sprang to my eyes. The surreal dichotomy of a sanctuary filled with water, of my ripples quietly lapping against lath, was incredibly peaceful, worshipful, a baptism of sorts.
As the sun came up and peeked through the windows, the recurring questions came to me: How many tears have watered this ground? What scars are here? What joy does this building hold? How can we really know what has happened? We toil and toil for the duration of our lives, and then what happens? What happens to the sweat we poured into taming our plot of land?
As quickly and quietly as it appeared, the Mississippi River has returned to its normal course. The mud has dried. The churches still stand. Wisteria blooms. The rattlesnakes and water moccasins are moving about. Time moves forward.
In Rodney, the natural beauty coupled with the distinctness of the remaining architecture and its vivid history, is jarring. It haunts you. Despite the writer of Ecclesiastes saying, “There is no remembrance of former things . . . among those who come after,” I strive to remember Rodney, as do many, many others.
All images, unless otherwise credited, ©Ashleigh Coleman.
For more information on Rodney, check out this New York Times article, this overview on Legends of America, and this Facebook group dedicated to preserving Rodney by hosting work days and sharing stories of the town.
Click here for lodging in Natchez, Mississippi, on TripAdvisor!
Click here for lodging in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on TripAdvisor!
Backroad Planet Collaborations with Ashleigh Coleman
If you love Ashleigh Coleman’s photography, you will want to see her newest features on Backroad Planet. Howard partnered with Ashleigh for two Mississippi stories in Jackson and the Delta.
The first collaboration is a preview of two Mississippi museums: the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The itinerary also includes visits to the Smith Robertson Museum, the home of slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, the James Beard Award-winning Bully’s Restaurant, and the Mississippi Supreme Court.
In our second collaboration, we went searching for Emmett Till on a Mississippi Delta pilgrimage. Along the way we discovered the gravesite of Civil Rights leader Rev. George Lee, toured Greenwood’s Baptist Town, visited locations from the motion picture “The Help,” unearthed legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, walked a Tallahatchie bridge, slept in sharecropper shacks, and ultimately uncovered traces of the teen martyr whose death gave birth to the modern Civil Rights Movement.
And don’t miss Howard’s account of visiting Rodney for the first time in Part 3 of his Southern Mississippi Road Trip series: Mississippi Backroads Between Natchez & Vicksburg.
We Would Love to Hear From You
We enjoy dialogue with our readers, especially when they share offbeat locations or little-known destinations. Have you ever connected intimately to a scenic or historical site? Does a certain place haunt you? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!
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A Southern Mississippi Road Trip Series
Part 1: How My Books Landed in the de Grummond Collection at USM
Part 2: Visit Historical Natchez, Mississippi
Part 3: Mississippi Backroads Between Natchez & Vicksburg
Part 4: How to Spend 36 Hours in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Part 5: The Best Way to Visit Vicksburg National Military Park
Part 6: Civil Rights and Literary Driving Tours in Jackson, Mississippi
Mississippi Backroads: From Natchez to Vicksburg
New York Times: Ghosts and Ruins Along the Mississippi
Legends of America: Rodney————From Prominence to Ghost Town
I’m very interested in the area that was the actual port. The dock area where boats pulled in must have been incredibly busy and have all kinds of scraps and possible dock and warehouse ruins, or at least an area where you can see the old riverbed and tell something used to be there. Wilmington, NC had an extremely busy port on both sides of the river. There are old dock remnants, but most of it is totally gone from years of salty water flooding and that the peak was at a time of mainly all wooden boats. So I don’t expect much. I’m just surprised no one I can find that has visited has tried to figure out where the most important part of the old town used to be and what it looks like now. It would be amazing to sit at the old edge of the river and imagine what it was like. Do you have any information about it?
Thank you so much,
Hi Edwin! Thanks for reaching out, and I definitely agree with you that finding the location of the actual Rodney port would be important. When I visited, the area toward the river was grown up and wooded, and I only had time to tour the ghost town. There is an amazing Facebook group for the Rodney History and Preservation Society that may be able to shed some light on this topic. Hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by Backroad Planet!
Sir, you are a photo-artist! You have special talent and “eye” for beautiful photos. I have been to Rodney many times, mainly to hunt the bluffs up above the old town. Each trip, we always take time to ride down to Rodney and see all the old sights. Thank you for sharing your work with those of us who also love and appreciate beautiful photos, but also this old historic town.
Hi Ernie! I run Backroad Planet, but the Rodney photo-essay showcases the photography and artistry of my colleague and friend Ashleigh Coleman. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your personal connection to Rodney. It means everything when kindred spirits approve.
I am flattered and delighted that you like my photographs
As a traveller from the UK I was excited to hear of and see such an interesting place, and someway off the beaten track too. My companions also found the place interesting visit and worth the effort
I too, loved Rodney. My wife and I visited there 3 years ago along with a trip to Angola Prison Rodeo. Rodney was beautiful in a haunting, private way. I love abandoned places for the feelings they evoke. Rodney exceeded my expectations. The cemetery is the frosting on the cake. Every one must walk uphill behind the brick church (note the civil war cannon ball) to visit this captivating graveyard. Time is having a field day here. Go now.
Never been, probably never will, but have just read all about the town and the history. Your pictures are wonderful.
Thank you for this article. I happened to see something elsewhere on the internet about Rodney and when I followed it up I discovered this article instead.
OK I am from the UK and was looking to make a driving tour from Nashville, though Memphis and down to New Orleans and I was looking to make each leg of our journey a trip in of itself. So we went along the Trace from Nashville all the way down to Cherokee in Alabama before cutting across to Memphis. Then we went down to Vicksburg and then Natchez before that final short trip to NOLA. We did this in September 2018 and we made a stop at Port Gibson, then Windsor Ruins and of course Rodney. How could you not stop here once you have heard of it?
I have some photos of the place that I quite like too. I loved seeing the surprise of the overgrown railway car and crossing. Just in case you would like to see my shots I have included the hyperlink to their location on flickr.
What a hot day that was!
I understand your fascination with the place.
Hi Michael! Ashleigh, the photographer and contributor of this post will probably respond to you, but I wanted to thank you for sharing your story and photos. I am not completely sure I understand why, but it means a lot to me when folks from the other side of the pond have a fascination with our brief history. I think the railway car was originally moved to that location as a home. It has been a couple of years since I visited Rodney, but it seems to have fallen even more into disrepair. It is sad, but after all, that is what makes Rodney a ghost town . . . .
My boyfriend and I are taking a trip to Natchez, MS, this weekend (Jan 25-28th). We would love to see the Ghost Town of Rodney, as well as Windsor Ruin. Are the two in the same general direction? What’s the easiest way to get there? We will be staying at Starling’s Rest Bed and Breakfast in Natchez. Any information or assistance would be greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance.
Hi Jennifer! How cool that you get to visit Natchez, Rodney, and Windsor Ruins! I think our Mississippi Backroads Between Natchez and Vicksburg will give you all the information you need. Should you need anything further, don’t hesitate to ask. Have a blast!
Beautiful images Ashleigh!
My son and I went to Rodney with some people from my photography club yesterday. It is a beautiful, haunting place that I hope to revisit soon. My son got some great pictures and I’ll know if I did or not as soon as I develop the film (yes, I still shoot film!)
Thank you for the great essay and wonderful photography!
Erik, thank you so much! It makes me happy that y’all went to Rodney yesterday! I too shoot film, but I don’t develop it myself– one day. What kind of camera do you use? I will keep an eye out on your website to see the images you share from Rodney.
I currently shoot digital with a Nikon Df, and film with several cameras, Nikon F, F3, FE, Nikkormat FT2, and medium format with a Yashica Mat-124G. I develop my own B&W film, and I will be doing my own color development soon as well. As soon as I get some developed, I will be adding them to my website, and maybe a few digital shots that my son shot.
I will have to say that I was captivated by Rodney on a Mississippi trip several years ago. I love the story about Rodney a beautiful but tragic story of what could have been. We made a stop by a old cafe before going to Rodney. I cannot remember the town but not far from Rodney. A wonderful gentleman who owned the cafe was one of our favorite memories of our trip. He was a kind soul who sang to us and we had a wonderful meal with lots of history. I was so drawn to Rodney before I even arrived. I could not wait to see the abandoned town. I saw the church and fell in love. We went the wrong way so we did not get to see many of the old buildings. I did see a part of the cemetery. I am much more adventurous than my husband so I am one to explore where others will not go. We talk about going back so I hope it will happen in the near future. I love your pictorial. Thanks!!
I loved this blog and the pictures of Rodney. Never been to Rodney, but close. Windsor Ruins and Port Gibson. Of course Vicksburg and Natchez. Thank you for posting. I’ve put it in my favorites.
Have you seen that the Presbyterian Church is for sale in Rodney? I wish we were younger and would buy and restore. I love it.
The photos were beautiful. My family is from Rodney and I would love to check out the cemetery. Don’t know if I have the courage to go if there is nobody around. Do you know if there is a list of names of the cemetery occupants?
Kathy, there is a great fb group for Rodney and there are people on there that have more information on the cemetery. I would check on there for information on the occupants. Also, I have been up there several times and think you would be perfectly safe if you go in the winter.
You can find a list of cemeteries for anywhere in the country by going to findagrave.com. Enter the county and state and a list of cemeteries will populate. You should then be able to click open the links for a list of buried people. Hope this helps!
Ashleigh, Wow the photos and this article really touched my heart. My parents were both raised in Rodney. I have childhood memories of visiting Rodney. My Great Aunt, Daisy McGill was lifelong resident of Rodney. I remember as small child running up and down the road in front of the Presbyterian Church. My Great Aunt’s house was just down the road on the opposite side. In August 2015, I bought my Husband and Daughter to visit Rodney. As we enter town by the Old Alston store, I became so emotional. Just thinking of all the family members who have passed on. Thank for heartfelted article and pictures, special gift you have.
Sharon, thank you for writing! And, thank you for sharing a piece of your family history. If you and your family ever go back to Rodney, I would love to meet you there so that I can hear, first hand, more of your stories from visiting Rodney as a child! My family and I went back a few weeks ago and the brick store has been completely dismantled. It was a little disconcerting; however, I hope the bricks and timber are being given a second life in new buildings.
Your pictures of Rodney, MS meant so much to me – they re beautiful, and tragic. I have never been to Rodney but have always wanted to see the Presbyterian Church and the cemetery there, and your photos really make a person feel they are standing in the middle of that old town. All the stories that Church could tell. Guess I won’t make it now as I will soon be 83 yrs old.
My family history says that in the late 1830’s my gr grandmother and her first husband went to Rodney. They had been lay Presbyterian missionaries to Smyrna, Turkey. He was a missionary printer and she was a teacher. I believe he may have died and was buried in Rodney and she then moved to Natchez and met and married my gr grandfather who had emigrated from Scotland. I was born in New Orleans so I love spending a day visiting old cemeteries.
Thanks again – you were really brave taking those shots standing in that water.! I have seen a few Louisiana snakes in my youth and am sure the MS ones are just as scary!
Mr. Pearson, thank you for taking the time to write and to share your connection with Rodney! What a fascinating history– Turkey to Rodney to Natchez. When I next visit, I will make sure I look at all the tombstones to see if I can find your great grandmother’s 1st husband. If you have a chance, please let me know his name (email@example.com). I can take a photograph for you or you can make a trip to Rodney and I will meet you there! Thankfully I haven’t ever seen any snakes, myself. I am a scaredy cat when it comes to snakes!
I really don’t know what to say, Mr Pearson. I felt the same…haunting, beautiful and tragic. The old Presbyterian Church is for sale for $89,000. A pittance for such a lovely place. I would love to buy and restore but like you a little bit over the age of restoring. Actually, I need to be restored at 78. Your comments were moving as well as Ashleigh’s. blog. To think you have history with the place. How exciting then for you to see this article
Thank you for your comments, they touched me and thank you Ashleigh for the posting.
What a beautiful gem, discovering these photos, then all the comments! My husband, cartoonist S.Clay Wilson, suffered a traumatic Brain Injury in 2008, and has never been the same. A lifelong fan of the Delta blues, he listens to Robert Johnson, among others, every morning on Pandora, over breakfast. I will read him his grandson’s story, and show him these photographs. He can no longer speak more than a few words, but he can say yes, no, and blurt out GREAT! when he especially appreciates something. (This is tragic, having been a motormouth, and one of the funniest men on the planet prior to this injury.) He will enjoy this, I am certain. Thank you!
Dear Lorraine– thank you for taking the time to read this piece & the wonderful comments! It makes me smile to know that your husband loves listening to Robert Johnson in the mornings & that Rodney holds a little piece of that family’s history. I hope that your husband does derive pleasure from hearing you read this to him! (I looked up your husband & his work– I am so sorry about his injuries, yet so thankful he has you standing by his side!)
I’m Kathy Moody’s sister…a little more about our ancestors from Germany who settled in Rodney. Wilhelm/William Buerkle/Burkley was a baker and his wife had a general merchandise store in a 2-story brick building Caty-cornered from Arcola Alston’s store…Arcola allowed somebody to tear it down for the bricks for $100.
His son, Joseph Lorenzo Burkley, called Joe, had a saloon (the bakery/general merchandise red brick building noted on the map was where the saloon was).
The other great great grandfather, Arndt, was a bookmaker.
Another great grandfather from Rodney, Emil Engbarth, was a politician and, apparently, the town drunk. His wife, Magdalena Arndt Engbarth, was the post mistress (probably not a very demanding job by the turn of the century!). Jobs for women were few and far between.
Thanks for sharing this fascinating history, Marion!
Oops That was supposed to say BOOTmaker, not bookmaker….
No worries, Marion, but thanks for the corrections! 🙂
I lived in Rodney one summer back in the 70’s in what was Laural Hill Plantation. That was where Dr. Nutt who built Longwood in Natchez was born.
There are some abandoned places that capture your heart, I have felt a connection to certain places like that for unknown reasons. Your love of Rodney shows through in your photos.
I couldn’t agree more, Cathy! Some abandoned places capture your heart & Rodney has mine. It makes me happy to know that the love comes through the photos! Hope you get to spend some time in a place that has your heart!
Beautifully describe about Rodney. This place is looking awesome. In night view, that place is looking haunted place. Photo of this post are incredible.
Thank you so much, Golden Triangle Tour! I appreciate your kind words:)
I attended Alcorn from 1953-1957. At the time there were residents in Rodney. The audio visual aid department of Alcorn would play outdoor movie for them during the spring and summer weekends.
I remember the shell holes in the old church from civil war battles.
Wow! Thanks for sharing those personal memories, B.B.! I can only imagine the fun of outdoor movies in the 1950s!
Please correct your story, It is illegal to hunt bears in Mississippi.
Thanks for the notice, Jessica! I have researched and verified the information and updated the article. Thanks again!
This brings to mind a cemetery in PA where my ancestors are buried. Red Rock, Luzerene Co, PA. One cemetery was where Indians were buried (my ancestors) & one where other ancestors are buried. I have not been there in years. Also the church where my great great grandparents were married.
Our family histories are diverse and fascinating, aren’t they, Sharon? I hate that your ancestors did not share the same cemetery, though, today, I hope they would!
Ashleigh, what lovely pictures and article on Rodney. My grandfather and his family were from Rodney. I’ve driven by there a time or two, but now I’m anxious to visit again with other family members. As a Mississippi native, I’m always glad to see others appreciate some of the many unique things Mississippi has to offer. You were a brave soul to wade in that water!
Thank you, Sharon! If you don’t know about it already, you would probably love the Rodney facebook group. I always love the stories that people with personal connections, like you, to Rodney share on there. Hopefully you will get to visit again soon!
Sharon, thank you! If you don’t already know about it, I think you would enjoy the Rodney facebook group. I love reading the stories and memories that people, like you, who have familial connections to Rodney post there. Hopefully you and your family will get to visit there soon– it has changed even since I was there in February (the brick store was dismantled)!
Absolutely beautiful! these are the type of pictures that resonate with me. I will come there and take some shots myself. You really have something special there. Thank you for sharing………
Wow!!!! This story of Rodney, Mississippi brought back so many memories . I played football at Alcorn State University, located seven miles for Rodney, Mississippi in Lorman , Mississippi. Whenever we miss curfew our head coach, Marino Casem, would made us run to Rodney and back . We would have to start this journey around 4:00a.m. An assistant coach would trail us in a team van as we ran the long rock road to Rodney. I stepped over and on many snakes and other wild animals during my many, many trips to Rodney. I’m so glad to see this article about this town so rich in history. And for the record, I still hold the record for running to Rodney, Mississippi for missing curfew :)! As the grandson of Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues, I found out from this article that the town of Rodney, Mississippi is a haunting and mysterious as the life of my grandfather. Thanks for this memory of Rodney’s place in history!
Steven, oh my word! That story about missing curfew and having to run all the way to Rodney and back! What a trek! I am surprised anyone was willing to miss curfew with that punishment. So, I have to ask– do you have the record for running to Rodney the most times or the fastest? 😉 Also, I have your grandfather’s music– a huge fan. Do you know if he ever played in Rodney? I’d love to meet you one day and hear more of your memories of Rodney, if you are still in Mississippi.
Wow, Steven! What an honor for you to stop by Backroad Planet. I am the owner and editor of this website, and it is so cool that you found Ashleigh’s post here. I have heard of your grandfather, and I need to check out some of his recordings. Sounds like you are quite talented, as well, as an athlete. Thanks for stopping by!
Lynda, thank you and yes! I hope you do visit and photograph Rodney!
Amazing how the pictures made it seem totally isolated until I looked it up on google earth. Great pics, great article and might actually zip through there one of these days. I bet the woods around it have many stories to tell.
Yarles, you are right– there is more to Rodney than just these two buildings; however, most of the buildings are hunting camps that are use irregularly from what I can tell & so there is still a very isolated feeling to the place. Oh, and there are two families that still live in Rodney. I think you are right– the woods do have stories to tell!
The bridal pictures were very good but then I saw the breath taking pictures captured of the flooded churches. Nothing but awesome. I attended Alcorn State University in the 70’s and Rodney was a dwindling town that had not become a ghost town. During my years at Alcorn, people could travel to the Mississippi River and cross by ferry to St. Joseph, Louisiana. Flooding and erosion took its toll on the roads and make them impassable.
I’m glad that you had the courage to take these flooded church pictures. Absolutely awesome!!!
Ronnie, I played football from 77-81. Man I have fond memories of Rodney ( simply because I was so young and full of energy. I will never forget running there before we were to leave for Louisiana to play Grambling State University. The entire coaching staff knew I wouldn’t be back in time to make that trip. Nevertheless, I was back in time to not only get on the bus for the trip, but in time to eat breakfast before boarding the bus. All the coaches could do was look it me and laugh!!!! #TazmaninanDevil
Steven, I wish the Lord had given me the ability to run, like you!
Ronnie, aw, thank you! so much! It was actually a rather humbling experience to be there when it flooded– made me consider how small we are in light of history and time. I thought I remembered hearing something about a ferry to Louisiana! Did you ever take the ferry to St. Joseph? Do you know where the dock was located?
Alcorn State has a beautiful campus!
Great photos! I’ve been going to Rodney since I was a kid. Hunting and fishing. It’s always held a special place in my heart. It’s so far off the beaten path and holds so much history. Glad I’m not the only one that’s intrigued by this place.
Thomas, thank you! And, I will admit to being a little jealous that you have years of memories of going to Rodney! I bet it has been fascinating to watch the changes. That is one thing that intrigues me– how far off the road Rodney is, yet how rich the history is there. Happy hunting & fishing!
Alligators give no warning when they eat small children! Those flood waters are no place for your kids to be playing!
Kathy, thank you for your concern. To be honest, I don’t know if there are even gators in the area or if they would be out in January; however, I will keep your advice in mind in the future!
Yes, alligators are indigenous to Rodney. Sounds like y’all ran into one of the hunters who lease our land. Loved your photos. There is a FB page for Rodney. Jefferson County has many sites lost in time.
Cathy, your land is beautiful! I have never seen land so beautiful. And, I am glad to know about the alligators. They wouldn’t usually be inland where the churches are located, would they?
Kathy is right. Alligators were the first thing I thought of when I saw the kids in the water. They are a year round threat. The lakes and backwater around Rodney are breeding ground havens for them. It is best NOT to go into the water and watch closely for them along the banks.
Ashleigh, thank you so much for this article. The narrative is perfect and the photos are spectacular! I am originally from Vicksburg, but never made it down to Rodney. Your article makes me want to go today!!!
Kathy, thank you for your kind words! Vicksburg is a beautiful town that I have enjoyed exploring in the past. You’ll have to let me know if there are any hidden gems there. And, next time you are in the area, definitely plan a jaunt to Rodney!
What a stunning post! It doesn’t happen that often that photos on a travel blog make me say out “wow”. I’m always drawn to abandoned places myself. They trigger curious questions in your mind, like “How did people live here? What made them leave?”
Ashleigh: These are beautiful. We have a hunting camp by this area. I have been in these churches with my children. I will contact your e-mail address. I would love to get a print. Thank you.
Heather, thank you! I am kind of jealous that you have a hunting camp in the area! Ha. The land is stunning back there. Yes, please let me know about which print you are interested in:)
Aw, thank you, Juergan! Rodney is one of those abandoned places that makes you go “wow”– with or without photos:) You’ll have to put it on your bucket list & let me know when you are coming so that we can visit some other hidden treasures in the area! I am always fascinated by southern towns for exactly the questions you listed– how did people live here, what made them leave, will anyone come back?
Ashleigh… Beautiful pics. Thanks for posting…..
Thank you, so much, Rick, for your positive feedback! This is a town close to my heart & I hope others see it’s beauty, as well.
Thanks for sharing Ashleigh’s post on Rodney. I’ve been there several times, but now can’t wait to go back to see it through her eyes.
I love your posts on Mississippi.
Mary, Rodney is definitely one of Mississippi’s many hidden gems. I am so glad you have been there before & hope you enjoy your next visit– don’t forget the fried chicken in Lorman!
Thank you, Mary! Ashleigh’s photography is nothing less than stunning, and her writing comes from her heart. Glad you are enjoying our Mississippi Road Trip series. Vicksburg is next, and then Jackson!
We visited Rodney several years ago on a road trip through Mississippi–verrrrrrry spooky! These photos capture it perfectly!
Larissa, Rodney is a little spooky, but also so wonderful! It makes me happy that you have visited it yourself!
Both of my maternal grandparents were born in Rodney……….the economy made people move away……..no way to make a living at the end of a dead end road that floods frequently……….and there were probably a lot of people who developed phobias of snakes…….. my mother’s cousins told us that during the flood of 1927 snakes were swimming around her bed!
Still, a beautiful place to visit in the winter time………..In March, watercress grows there in flowing springs………