Protected historic properties are called Mississippi Landmarks. They can be sites, objects, or buildings and must be of historical, archaeological, or architectural significance. They are generally publically owned - that is owned by the state, a county, or a city.
How does a property get to be a Mississippi Landmark? That determination is made by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, after ample opportunity for public comment.
The law clearly states that once a property has been designated as a Mississippi Landmark, it
"may not be taken, altered, damaged, destroyed, salvaged, restored, renovated or excavated without a permit from the board or in violation of the terms of such permit".
The law also clearly states the penalties for violation of this law:
"Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) and not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or by confinement in jail for not more than thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and confinement. Each day of continued violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a distinct and separate offense for which the offender may be punished."
The Mississippi Landmark designation is the highest form of recognition bestowed on properties by the state of Mississippi - and it backs up its committment to preservation with some real money. The state has established a grant program especially for these landmark properties. Approximately half a million dollars in grant funds are available annually through the Mississippi Department of Archives.
I've prepared a list of Mississippi Landmarks in Adams County, if you're interested.