Mannsdale-Livingston Heritage District
The Mannsdale-Livingston Heritage Preservation District is a rural historic area located along Highway 463 in Madison County. It extends from China Grove A.M.E. Church near Madison to the intersection with Highway 22 at Livingston. The district contains a concentration of historic buildings and sites that illustrate the rural heritage of Madison County from the 1840’s through the 1920’s.
The area was designated as a preservation district by Madison County and during its creation, organizers specifically laid out that Highway 463 was to remain only two lanes. In recent years, a proposal to widen it to four lanes was of great concern to the members, not only due to the possibility of structural damage to historic buildings from heavy truck traffic, but also because of its effect on the visual character of the district. In 2009, the Madison County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on the subject of the overlay district, and specifically, they focused their discussion on a proposal to widen Highway 463 to four lanes. The preservation society organized a petition against making changes to the overlay district, and was able to show the board more than 900 signatures of residents backing their position. At the meeting, the supervisors decided to reconfirm the district. No new threats to the district have surfaced since but the threat of future plans to widen Highway 463 to four lanes will always be there.
2015 Update – SAVED
When inappropriate development threatened to erode the special historic character of rural Madison County, residents took action, lobbying the board of supervisors to designate the area as the Mannsdale-Livingston Historic Preservation District. Community leaders then took the next step in securing the future of their historic resources by working with local and state officials to designate the area as an official Mississippi Scenic Byway, which was signed into law in April 2013 by Governor Phil Bryant. Gateway to History connects the historic towns of Canton and Flora and includes the Petrified Forest, Chapel of the Cross and the Natchez Trace. The new development at Livingston Township, the site of a lively summer farmer’s market and concert series, will strive to recapture the historic character of the first seat of Madison County. Once listed as one of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places, the future of the Mannsdale-Livingston Heritage Preservation District seems as bright as the historic daffodils lining the byway today, thanks to the dedication and hard work of the committed members of the Gateway to History Committee.