On the ninth day, let's take a trip to Natchez. At the Visitor's center, let's light up the various attractions in the town on the interactive map, and see where there are in relation to one another.
Let's use the interesting timeline to tell us about the historic milestones effecting Natchez. The ancestors of the Natchez were probably part of the powerful Quigualtam chiefdom, encountered by the Henry De Soto's expedition, in 1542-1543. They inhabited the southwest Mississippi between AD 700-1730. They reached their cultural zenith in the mid-1500. From the timeline, we learn that due to the spread of European diseases such as smallpox, measles,and plague, the native population of the Lower Mississippi Valley declined drastically in the century following Henry De Soto’s arrival.
Gathering the tourist brochures at the Visitor's center, let's proceed to The Grand Village of Natchez.
Let's walk through the Natchez Museum and the reconstructed Natchez Indian hut to learn more about the Natchez traditions and culture. The exhibits at the Museum, show a priest-chief greeting a solstice sun from a temple-mound where his ritual can be observed by commoners in the plaza below - an example of Mississippian infrastructure promoting sociopolitical integration. According to the historic anecdotes, Natchez buried the bones of the previous Indian Chiefs, called Suns, in a religious structure that stood on top of the Temple Mound.
Longwood Hall (ca. 1861)
Let's enter a world where time stands still, touring the Longwood Plantation. It is known around the nation, as the most beautiful, as well as, the largest, of the octagonal houses. It is also called Nutt's Folly.
Longwood Plantation is a six-story 30,000 square foot mansion, designed by Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia, in Oriental Revival style with a large Byzantine style dome, for a wealthy planter, Haller Nutt, and his wife, Julia Williams Nutt.
It epitomizes the rise and fall of the South. As it was nearing completion, the Civil war broke out and the workmen dropped their tools and went to war. Fortunately, the construction of the exterior and the first floor was done. The house has 32 rooms, but only 9 were completed.
In 1864 Haller died. His wife Julia continued to live in the finished first floor. To this day, the first floor contains many original family furnishings.
This grandest octagonal house is a National Historic Landmark.
House on Ellicott Hill (ca. 1798)
Andrew Ellicott, raised the American flag on this hill on February 27, 1797, under the direction of President George Washington, and in defiance of Spanish authorities.
As we tour the house, we see that, architecturally, the style reflects influences of the West Indian Caribbean, where Natchez had common trade interests with the French, English and Spanish.
It overlooks the end of the Natchez Trace Parkway and is one of the earliest structures built in Natchez.
It was restored in mid-1930's and is a registered National Historic Landmark
The Grand Village of Natchez
We can see three prehistoric Native American Mounds at The Grand Village of Natchez. The Great Sun's mound, the Temple mound and the Abandoned Mound spread over a site of 128-acres.
As we hike along the Temple mound, let's imagine groups of workers toiling from dawn to dusk, gathering baskets of dirt, carrying them to a clearing, dumping the soil, and tamping it down with their feet. As the days, months and years pass they retrace their footsteps time after time until a shape emerges and begins to grow to an impressive height. They build the religious structures and start a sacred perpetual fire, symbolic of sun, in the inner sanctum of the Temple, to show their belief that the royal family descended from sun. After browsing through the items in the Gift Shop, let's go see the Antebellum.
Dunleith (ca. 1856)
Next, let's visit the only house in Mississippi that is completely encircled by a colossal colonnade.
It is also a National Historic Landmark and stands on a site originally occupied by "Routhland", a house built by Job Jouth and his wife. It was struck by lightning and tragically burned to ground. On the same ground, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dahlgren constructed Dunleith as their in-town villa in 1856.
Dunleith's outbuildings, a three-story brick dependency with an antebellum bathroom, a two-story poultry house, a two-story carriage house, a stable, and an original hot-house for the garden date back to 1790.
Dunleith is now turned into an Inn.