Natchez History Buffs
Natchez has a long and fascinating history, dating back to 1716, making her the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River. Even before Natchez was settled by Europeans, the city was home to the Natchez Indians, noted for being the only Mississippian culture with complex chiefdom characteristics to have survived long into the period after the European colonization of America began.
Natchez is home to over 1,000 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the homes in Natchez survived the Civil War and their history flows in abundance along the Mississippi, while the memories leave a haunting tale. Along with the well-known estates that once served as the centerpieces, we invite you to tour a recently reopened historic dwelling- Concord Quarters – giving guests a glimpse of a decidedly different aspect of pre-Civil War Natchez.
1. We recommend beginning your Natchez experience at the Natchez Visitor Center. Here you will be greeted by a warm and knowledgeable staff, dedicated to help you make the most of your visit. Enjoy paneled exhibits depicting the development of the area. Step behind the life-size paddle wheel, feel real cotton, and play the interactive game that allows you to take a journey down the Mississippi River. Then venture over to the ticket counters and purchase for any of your ticketed attractions, all under one roof. Additionally, if you have questions about kid-friendly restaurants, our helpful tour guides can make suggestions for dining alternatives that are suitable for your whole family.
2. Tickets in hand, head out to tour a few of our historic homes that have drawn millions of visitors to Natchez over the years. Guides will lead you as they tell the tales of the families that once lived in Natchez. On the other side, learn what life was like “behind the big house” when you visit Concord Quarters, a circa-1820 two-story brick building that once housed enslaved people on the property.
3. Join Miss Lou Heritage Groups and Tours as you immerse yourself in civil rights or blues history. Learn the stories of African American people in Natchez that triumphed in the face of adversity. Jeremy takes you by such sights as the William Johnson House, where you can peek into the life of the most prosperous free black man in Natchez before the Civil War, and the Rhythm Night Club Memorial Museum, set on the site of a 1940 fire.
4. A visit to the First Presbyterian Church downtown will lead you to Stratton Chapel’s Natchez in Historic Photographs, located in the rear of the church. The collection is comprised of over 500 photographs depicting life along the river, the merchants, and commerce that thrived in Natchez even beyond the war, and the families and their children who shaped this historic city.
5. Natchez is also full of fascinating residents that can be found in the Natchez City Cemetery and Natchez National Cemetery, both located on Cemetery Road overlooking the Mississippi River. Once you enter the gates, you can begin a self-guided tour following a brochure and map. The Natchez Visitor Center also offers an audio tour for the City Cemetery. Visit the Natchez National Cemetery office for more information on its decorated inhabitants.
6. A visit to the 1800-acre Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gins includes extensive southern history. On the 1 ½ hour guided tour, you will get a taste of life in the days of “King Cotton,” including causes of change by the U.S. Constitution and Lincoln’s Civil War policies. “Cotton Then & Now” & “The Plantation Civil War” allow you to enter authentic buildings including slave & sharecropper cabins, an 1880’s Smithsonian quality, steam engine cotton gin, 1700’s log cabin, plantation church, and store.
7. The days of slavery marked a sad and troubling time in our nation’s history, and Natchez has honored those who unwillingly lived their lives in service to wealthy landowners. The site of the Forks of the Road Slave Market is commemorated with a historic marker.
8. Enjoy a beautiful afternoon driving on the Natchez Trace Parkway. All 444 miles of this scenic byway give visitors a look at the path’s history through landmarks along the way. Our favorites include the 400 year old Emerald Mound and Mount Locust, a structure that dates back to 1780 and served as an inn for those traveling the Trace.