Day 202: Mississippi Welcome Center, Natchez, MS
I thought we came to Natchez to view sites of Indian mounds. I had no idea this was a chief area of cotton plantations and slavery.
We read several informational boards in the Welcome Center telling the history of Natchez. And it’s pretty much about the use of enslaved people to grow cotton. It was this industry that created so much wealth here. Gorgeous mansions were built to show off wealth, while enslaved people did the work to keep them up.
In 1988 a nearly perfectly preserved estate went on the market and the National Park system bought it.
Melrose had only three owners in 140+ years. When flooring or wallpaper was replaced, the new owner replaced with exact replicas. The furniture was sold with the house and detailed records of the contents of the estate upon sale were kept. The buildings on the property, even the carriage house, dairy and slave quarters are intact.
Melrose is a part of the Natchez National Historical Park, which includes the site of an old French fort, Rosalie, and the second-largest Indian mound in the USA, Emerald Mound.
It was a busy and sobering day. Between reading and viewing so much history, we walked along the river in Natchez Under the Hill, what was the rough and tumble port area of town. We walked most of the town and kept Arvi at the Welcome Center. We ate lunch at the Carriage House, part of an Antebellum Estate, and found the Natchez Brewing Company with some great brews.
We departed Natchez via the Natchez Trace, an ancient native trading route used for hundreds of years, which ends in Franklin, Tennessee.