Friday, July 06, 2007

Natchez Walking Tour

Take a stroll through one of America's most interesting cities.

Begin at the Bluff Park, the grassy promenade that skirts Broadway and overlooks the river. Here you will find "the Gazebo," a replica 19th century structure overlooking the Mississippi River so vital in the economic development of Natchez and other Southern cities. Nearby markers honor writher Richard Wright and memorialize more than 200 African-Americans who perished in the gruesome nicghtclub fire of 1940.

Across the river, you can see the low flat lands of Louisiana where "Cotton was King" during the antebellum period. Cotton is still farmed there today.

Natchez is the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River, founded over 200 years ago. Flatboats and Steamboats docked at Natchez Under-the-Hill, their travelers taking carriage rides to the suburbs to visit Monmouth and other plantations or just to view the beautiful architecture of the downtown area.

Natchez has preserved its antebellum treasures. The downtown streets are the same ones laid out by the Spaniards who ruled Natchez in the late 18th century. Across from the gazebo on Broadway is "Bontura" the brick house built by Robert Smith, a free man of color and owner of a Natchez stable and carriage company in the mid-19th century. At the south end of the bluff is Rosalie, the antebellum house built in the 1820's by Peter Little, to far from the site of the old Fort Rosalie.

Established by the French in 1716, the fort site stretches along the bluffs to the south of Rosalie and is included in the new Natchez National Historical Park. The park also included antebellum Melrose, located on the outskirts of town and the William Johnson House on State Street.

Historic homes and antebellum mansions await you on every street downtown. Finish off your tour with lunch at Stanton Hall' s Carriage House. Enjoy!

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