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Missouri History Museum

5 Awe-Inspiring Historical Homes To Visit in Natchez!

Natchez, MS

The historical homes of Natchez, Mississippi, once served as estate homes for the wealthy. Families of planters and merchants turned a profit on cotton in pre-Civil War Natchez. In the 1800s, they turned this profit into grand city and country estates along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Today, visitors can marvel at the lavishness, imagine the historical events that took place here, and dream about days filled with horse-drawn wagons and life in a historical southern home.

Tours of the historical homes cover many aspects of historical southern life and engage a range of interests. You’ll have the chance to learn about southern culture, family life, architecture, gardens, and historical events. Visitors also have the opportunity to learn about another dimension of Natchez history by making a stop at one of the many historical sites and museums in the area addressing the culture and lives of African Americans in the South during this time period. Two notable sites include the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture and  The William Johnson House, which feature African American historical sites, important citizens and events. The prime time to tour the historical homes is during the Spring Pilgrimage Tour (March-April) or the Grand Fall Pilgrimage Tour (September-October). See other historical homes on the Great River Road Here.

Longwood Historical Home

Image by David Mark

Longwood is the grandest and most unique of the historical homes. If your travels are limited in Natchez, this one should be at the top of your list. Built on 87 acres of land, this five-story mansion is the largest octagonal house in the United States. The design alone, featuring an octagonal design and a large byzantine dome, sets this home apart from the others and makes it one of the most popular attractions in Natchez. 

Longwood also boasts the rare opportunity to view a mid-19th century plantation estate under construction. While the mansion is known for its exterior architecture, the contrast between the finished first floor and the unfinished upper five floors is  what makes the interior equally interesting. A fun part of your visit will be seeing the untouched site where craftsmen left their tools and fled home to the north due to rising tensions of the Civil War.

Auburn Mansion

Image by Rsfinlayson

This historical home was inspired by Greek Revival style architecture. Commissioned by the first Mississippi Attorney General in 1812, Auburn is the oldest and first built home in Natchez according to an architectural design. 

A notable attribute of the property is the freestanding spiral staircase. Completely unsupported by the second floor, the design of the staircase is a must-see and a marvel to many visitors. The exterior of the house is another known attraction because of the four white pillars and the use of a portico, which established the style of the columned portico in the American South. You can experience the true feel of a 19th century Southern estate, as both the interior and exterior are constantly being restored to their original beauty.

Lansdowne Plantation

The architecture and interior decoration of the mid-19th-century  lives on at Lansdowne, a modest Greek Revival style historical plantation home surrounded by Southern history and beautiful landscapes.  Though a less celebrated attraction, Lansdowne is occupied and owned by a descendent of the original builder and features many of the original furnishings and decorations. You can hear historical information about the plantation home and the grounds, as well as stories passed through the generations of the family about the original occupants. 

The tour includes a look around the expansive grounds including two historical structures that surround the courtyard behind the main home and the lavish interior with the original decor and pictures of the original family. If you plan on staying in Natchez for the night, Lansdowne also serves as a Bed and Breakfast offering visitors the chance to step into the past and experience the property as a tenant at a plantation home.

Enter The Towers and step back into history. Built over three different time periods, this home took on many architectural styles, and it served as the Civil War headquarters of the Union Army. Furnished with rare collections and furnishings typically seen in historic museums, this home will give you a glimpse into the influences from the various time periods it survived. You’ll see pre-civil war interior decor, and 5 acres of beautiful sculpted gardens. 

Tours are available on several dates and times during the Grand Fall Pilgrimage, or by appointment with the current owners. You can also stay at The Towers, as it serves as a Bed and Breakfast, where guests can stay in two large and lavish rooms available for a rare opportunity to live in a pre-civil war home for a night or two.  

Magnolia Hall

Image by Visit Natchez

Magnolia Hall, built in 1858 for a wealthy cotton broker and merchant, is fascinating for being one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture and the last home built in downtown Natchez prior to the Civil War. The hall also houses an extensive historic costume museum held by the Natchez Garden Club, where you can view period clothing displaying the fashions of  a typical wealthy Natchez family and an incredible doll collection dressed in elaborate period dresses from the Victorian era.

You’ll also learn about the complete history of the original family, the Henderson family, and the history of Natchez through the detailed panels on the first floor provided by the Natchez Garden Club. Magnolia Hall is a great stop to view a recently restored historical home that will feel like a step back in time to a pre-civil war world from the landscape and architecture to the antique interior and historical museum.

 

I am a student, aspiring writer, and avid reader of books. My favorite things in the world are my German Shepards and hiking in Colorado.

Maeve Miller

Writer, River Travel Magazine