While preparing for my recent trip to Natchez, and doing a little historic research, I came across an article that featured a photo of this building with a question as to anyone knowing the history of the building. I recalled the building as it is across the street from the convention center where I attended a number of conferences. I do not know if the poser of that question found the answer, but I was off like a dog on the hunt, because now I needed to know.
The Adams County real estate gave the year of construction as 1850, which meant a significant make-over had occurred to give it this 1930s-50s Streamline Art Moderne look. Indeed, the earliest news item I located for the corner of Main and Canal was from 1850.
In 1852, Bowie and Company purchased Mr. Pickens’ livery stable, and in 1853, P. S. Wood advertised that he had purchased from G. W. Knott, the stable formerly occupied by David G. Pickens. In 1869, a news item appears:
A large brick livery stable, on the corner of the old Tattersalls, south-west corner of Main and Canal, by Mr. Jo Bontura, is also rapidly approaching completion.(The Weekly Democrat, May 17, 1869, p. 3)
This seems to indicate that the current building was constructed as late as 1869. The 1886 Sanborn Fire Map is the first validation I located that indicates the South West corner is the Kentucky Livery and Stables, with a Roller Skating Rink at the rear of the livery. The skating rink first appeared in the news in 1871. In 1883, the livery stable was operated by W. H. Hendrick (Natchez Democrat, Dec. 7, 1883, p. 4). By 1903, it was listed as McConnichie’s stable with a roller rink on the upper floor (Natchez Democrat, Feb. 18, 1903, p. 4). In 1908, it is referred to as Bontura Stable (recall that Bontura built the new structure in 1869), and again in 1913. By 1918, it was Lippman’s Stables.
A trick I learned from E. L. Malvaney over at Preservation in Mississippi is to look at the rear of the building for clues as to its age. While not presuming to date this building by the brick, since that is not my expertise, it seems pretty obvious that it is old, and thus, the age of this building is far older than the front elevation would indicate. A remodel clearly took place sometime after the last use as a livery stable/skating rink.