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Natchez Trace - Page 3

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Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 31 to 60

 

Natchez Parkway Map - Milepost 31-60

 

Mile Post:

 

Points of Interest:

 

30-40 Side Trip - Windsor Ruins Loop Route - This 32 mile long loop through Alcorn and Port Gibson, Mississippi provides a number of interesting stops. The loop is comprised of 20 miles along Mississippi Highway 552/Rodney Road, 7 miles along the Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 30 to 37 and five miles through the town of Port Gibson and back to the Trace.
  • Windsor Loop, MississippiAlcorn University - Alcorn is the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States and the second oldest state supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi. The school began in 1830 when Oakland College was founded by Dr. Jeremiah Chamberlain. The early years of Oakland College were characterized by growth and optimism. However, when founder and president, Dr. Jermiah Chamberlain died in 1851, it began to decline. Chamberlain, an ardent Unionist and Whig, was assassinated on the campus by a secessionist. Oakland College closed its doors at the beginning of the Civil War so that its students could fight for the Confederate States of America. When the college failed to reopen at the end of the war, the property was sold to the state of Mississippi. In 1871 Alcorn University was established by the Reconstruction era legislature to provide higher education for freedmen. It was the first black land grant college in the United States. It was named in honor of James L. Alcorn, then the state's governor. Alcorn began with eight faculty members and at first, it was exclusively for black males. In 1895, women were admitted. Today the faculty and staff number more than 500. The student body has grown from 179 mostly local male students to more than 4,000 students from all over the world. The oldest building on the campus is the Oakland Chapel, a Greek Revival style structure built in 1838.

  • The old the old Alston Grocery Store in Rodney, MississippiSide Trip - Rodney Ghost Town - 4.8 miles southwest of Alcorn on Rodney Road is an interesting old town called Rodney. It was once so important that it almost became the capitol of Mississippi. In the 1860's, it boasted 4,000 people and was the busiest port on the Mississippi River between New Orleans, Louisiana and St. Louis, Missouri. However, the mighty Mississippi River changed its course, forever altering the fate of Rodney. Its population immediately decreased and today it is a ghost town with only a handful of area residents.

  • Canemount Plantation - About a mile north of Alcorn you'll see the Canemount Plantation on the east side of the road. The centerpiece is the Italianate Revival home built in 1855, but there are several other buildings dating back to 1826. It is privately owned.

  • Bethel Presbyterian ChurchBethel Church - A mile north of Canemount Plantation is the historic Bethel Presbyterian Church organized in 1826. The building was constructed in the mid 1840's. During General Ulysses S. Grant's campaign to take Vicksburg, he landed his troops east of the Mississippi River just a few miles from here at Bruinsburg. His troops passed Bethel Church on April 30th, 1863 moving to Port Gibson on Rodney Road. The original pointed steeple destroyed by a tornado in 1943.

  • Windsor Ruins near Port Gibson, MississippiWindsor Ruins - Built just before the Civil War, Windsor was one of the largest plantations in the area. Leading up to the Battle of Port Gibson in the spring of 1863, Confederate troops used the roof observatory as a lookout as General Ulysses S. Grant's army crossed the Mississippi River. After the battle, the mansion was used as a Union hospital and observation post, sparing it from being burned by Union troops. Unfortunately, in 1890 a house guest left a lighted cigar on the upper balcony and Windsor burned to the ground. Everything was destroyed except 23 of the columns, the balustrades, and the iron stairs.

  • A.K. Shaifer House - The first shot of the Battle of Port Gibson was fired at the Shaifer House on May 1, 1863. General Ulysses S. Grant's army, after marching past Bethel Church and the Windsor plantation first encountered Confederate troops on the way to Port Gibson here. Built about 1840, the Greek Revival style cottage remained in the midst of heavy military action and numerous holes can still be seen on the back of the house. It served for a time as Union Headquarters and as a hospital. The ground on which the house stands, “The Port Gibson Battlefield” is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

 

 

 

 

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Port Gibson - This historic town is Mississippi's third oldest settlement, being occupied in 1729. Most of Port Gibson's historic buildings survived the Civil War because General Ulysses S. Grant believed the city "too beautiful to burn". Historic Church Street through the middle of town is lined with antebellum homes and church buildings.

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Side Trip - Grand Gulf Military Monument Park - In May of 1962, the Grand Gulf Military Monument Park was officially opened, dedicated to preserving the memory of both the town and the battle in which occurred there. Located eight miles northwest of Port Gibson, Mississippi off Highway 61, this 400 acre landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes Fort Cobun and Fort Wade, the Grand Gulf Cemetery, a museum, picnic areas, hiking trails, an observation tower, and several restored buildings dating back to Grand Gulf's heyday. The museum and grounds fee is only $3.00 for those that are under 60 years young, $2.00 for those that are over 60 years young, and $1.00 for students K-12th grade. It is located ten miles from the Natchez Trace Parkway. Exit at milepost 41 onto Mississippi Highway 18 and drive into Port Gibson. From the courthouse area in Port Gibson take Anthony Street out of town heading northwest. Anthony Street becomes Oil Mill Road. Oil Mill Road dead ends into Grand Gulf Road. Turn left on Grand Gulf Road and follow the road to the park.

41.5

 

 

 

The sunken traceThe Sunken Trace - One of the most photographed sites along the parkway, the trace appears sunken in this spot due to thousands of travelers walking on the easily eroded loess soil. Hardships of journeying on the Old Trace included heat, mosquitoes, poor food, hard beds (if any), disease, swollen rivers, and sucking swamps. Take five minutes to walk this sunken trail and let your imagination carry you back to the early 1800s when people walking 500 miles had to put up with these discomforts and where a broken leg or arm could spell death for the lone traveler.

45.7

Mangum Mound - Excavation of this site tells us much about the people of the late prehistoric period. The Plaquemine culture included the ancestors of the modern tribes of Mississippi and Louisiana. It was a society with elaborate agriculturally oriented religious ceremonies. From the burials on this mound, it is known there as a high infant mortality and upon the death of a chief, a brutal ritual was enacted in which his retainers were slain and buried with him.

45.7

Grindstone Ford CemeteryGrindstone Ford - This ford marked the beginning of the wilderness of the Choctaw Nation and the end of the Old Natchez District. Nearby, Fort Deposit was a supply depot for troops clearing the Trace in 1801-1802, and troops were assembled here during the Burr conspiracy allegedly, to separate the western states from the Union. The site takes its name from a nearby water mill. A trail leads to the Old Trace and Grindstone Ford. Riverboatmen on foot or horseback crossed here, northbound, after floating cargo down to Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. Soldiers splashed across from the north to protect the Natchez District from British and Spanish threats. For post riders, Indians, bandits, and preachers, Bayou Pierre was the line between civilization and the wilderness. Daniel Burnett's stand stood near here. Burnett was the speaker of the Territorial House of Representatives, a principal negotiator with the Choctaw, and a framer of the state constitution but his stand was unpretentious. His guests supped on mush and milk in a room filled with their own gear and Burnett's supplies.

52.4

Owens Creek Waterfall - The sounds of a busy woodland stream and the quiet murmur of a lazy waterfall have long been stilled here. Only after heavy rainfall does water fill the stream and set the waterfall singing. Over the years the water table has dropped several feet and the spring which feeds Owens Creek has all but disappeared. Little remains of a scene once familiar to residents of Rocky Spring Community.

54.8

 

 

 

Rocky Springs ChurchRocky Springs - Once a prosperous town of more than 2,500 people, Rocky Springs is home to only a single church and a cemetery today. The old town site and the surrounding area is maintained as a historic site by the National Park Service. A short one half mile trail at milepost 54.8 allows you to walk through the abandoned town of Rocky Springs. In addition to the short trail, there is a picnic area, restrooms, and a campground. All campgrounds on theNatchez Trace Parkway are primitive and have no hookups. The sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis with no reservations available.

 

 

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