Print this story | E-mail story

Architectural treasures

1. King’s Tavern: The oldest building in Natchez, King’s Tavern was built in 1769. Originally it was built as a block house for Fort Panmure during the British occupation of Natchez. It served as a resting point on the Natchez Trace for the boatmen on their return trip home. It also was the first mail stop in the Natchez District. Mail was brought down the Trace by Indian Runner and Pony Express. The tavern appears to be haunted by a ghost identified as Madeline. She was supposedly the mistress of one of the original tavern keepers, Richard King, and was murdered by his wife out of jealousy.

2. Dunleith: Built in Greek revival style, with 26 Tuscan columns surrounding the house. The brick and stucco columns support a double gallery with intricately designed wrought iron railings spanning the columns. One of the most photographed of the pre-Civil War mansions.Click here for more

3. Longwood: The grandest octagonal house in America. This six-story, 30,000 square-foot mansion was designed by Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia for wealthy planter Haller Nutt and his wife, Julia Williams Nutt. As it was nearing completion, the Civil War began and the workmen dropped their tools and went home. Haller died in 1864 and his wife Julia continued to live in the finished first floor that today contains many original family furnishings. Click here for more

4. St. Mary Basilica: The church is the oldest Catholic building still in use in the state of Mississippi, the church received its first blessing in 1843. Recently restored, the interior of the church is stunning in its artistry and color. It is an exquisite example of Gothic Revival architecture.

5. Staircase at Auburn: The Natchez antebellum house was the first major building in Mississippi to follow an actual architectural plan. Designed by the architect Levi Weeks, the home’s spiral staircase stands entirely unsupported, a feat unmatched even in modern buildings.Click here for more

6. Historic Jefferson College:At the first educational institution of higher learning in Mississippi, visitors can tour a restored dormitory room, student dining room, kitchen buildings and other historic sites. The adjacent nature trail winds up and down through a wooded ravine, past St. Catherine’s Creek, over bridges, past Ellicott Springs and a historic cemetery, with plants and trees clearly identified along the way.

7. Mammy’s Cupboard: A startling icon along today’s politically corrected highways — one of those “Did I really see what I think I saw” mirages. Mammy’s Cupboard is a restaurant built inside a 28-foot tall black woman’s skirt. The original restaurant opened in 1940, and has endured cycles of decay and restoration. Today’s restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and serves sandwiches, soup and desserts.

8. Garden District houses: Greek Revival, Federalist, Victorian, Empire Style, Craftsman — its difficult to choose a favorite style when there is so much to offer. Walk down the streets of the garden district between State Street and Orleans Street and see what gives Natchez its special small-town Southern charm.

9. Temple B’nai Israel: The temple on the corner of Commerce and Washington streets houses the oldest Jewish congregation in Mississippi (1843). Its stained glass windows and ark of Italian marble make this synagogue one of the loveliest and most historic in the region. The century-old organ is listed on the National Register of Historic Organs. Temple B’nai Israel is open to the public with the support of local docents from the congregation and through its preservation agreement with the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience.

10. Country churches:Southwest Mississippi is the cradle of religion for many Christian Denominations in the state. Dotting the countryside around Natchez are some of the oldest churches in the state. Among these is Christ Church in Church Hill (located on Mississippi Highway 553 in Jefferson Country.) Christ Church is the oldest Episcopal Church in the state. Another church of interest is Mt. Carmel Baptist Church (located on Carmel Church Road off of Kingston Road in South Adams County). Mt. Carmel Church has been featured in numerous movies and music videos, including one featuring Elton John. St. Mary StOther churches of interest include, Kingston Methodist Church, Washington Methodist Church and St. Mary Episcopal Chapel (located on private property but opened twice a year to the public).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email