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American History in the Magnolia State
Mississippi’s history runs deep. Historic sites decorate the land of the Magnolia State, including Mississippi College in Clinton, the Tennessee Williams Home in Columbus, and the Biloxi Lighthouse.
Thanks to Mississippi cities like Natchez, Jackson and Tupelo, you may tour historic and executive homes, visit the battle sites of the American Civil War, and even stop by the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
Tour Historic Homes of Natchez
Established three centuries ago, Natchez is a historic community set in central Mississippi along the Mississippi River. Besides the anticipated Natchez Food & Wine Festival, or the popular Grand Village of the Natchez, visitors to this river town need explore the many antebellum mansions scattered throughout the city. A multitude of historic homes in Natchez are available for tours throughout the year. Take a walk through the House on Ellicott's Hill – a National Historic Landmark built in the late 1700s. Tour the site where members of this home boldly flew the American flag in 1797 against Spanish influence under the command of President Washington. Stroll through each Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or take the three-house tour and get a discount. Natchez Pilgrimage Tours – a major treat for those visiting Natchez in the spring or fall – is a chance for you to select the homes you’d like to visit, and experience reenactments, costumed-guides and wine receptions. Pilgrimage performances include 1800’s-inspired musicals, gospel concerts, and intimate recitals at the historic Stone House and Carriage House Restaurant. Pick up tickets at the Natchez Visitor’s Center.
House on Ellicott's Hill
Constructed in 1798 by James Moore in Natchez, the House on Ellicott's Hill was one of the first houses built in central Mississippi – becoming a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
The Natchez Garden Club purchased the house in 1934 and had it restored, making it the state's first restoration project by a private civic organization. The house remains one of the last of its kind on Canal Street.
Tour the home to view the kitchen, the large central room on the first floor, the elaborate dining room, the parlor and the period rooms. Be sure to look at the monument outside the home, where the first U.S. flag was raised in the Natchez District.
Old Spanish Fort
Built in the 18th century, the Old Spanish Fort, also known as Old French Fort and LaPointe-Krebs House, is a historic home and an official Mississippi Landmark located in Pascagoula. The home scenically overlooks Krebs Lake in southern Mississippi.
Now owned by the city of Pascagoula and operated by the Jackson County Historical Society, the home serves as a history museum. The house is on private property; so all visits must be approved before hand.
History in Jackson
The Mississippi capital of Jackson – surrounded by cities like Pearl to Flowood, Richland, and Clinton – encompasses a mass amount of National Historic Landmarks and significant homes. Visit the Eudora Welty House – found on the National Register of Historic Places – for a look at the former dwelling of this Pulitzer Prize winning author. Call ahead for a reservation, and visit the Welty House from Tuesday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Remember, admission is free on April 13th, Welty’s birthday. Another must-see for any explorer of Mississippi history is the Old Mississippi State Capitol, accompanied by the Mississippi Governor's Mansion – both designed by architect William Nichols. Also acting as the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, the capitol building welcomes guests from Tuesday through Saturday until 5 p.m. The free Old Capitol Museum showcases exhibits on Mississippi’s preservation and the history of Jackson. After the capitol, tour the Governor’s Mansion – the second oldest occupied executive homestead in the country – from Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Eudora Welty House
Located in the capital city of Jackson, the Eudora Welty House was the family home of Eudora Welty from 1925 until her death in 2001.
Welty, an internationally acclaimed author, donated the house to the state of Mississippi in 1986. The house is a National Historic Landmark, and remains one of the most intact historical literary houses in the nation.
Tour the home in central Mississippi to view the original furnishings, photographs, artwork, and thousands of books.
Reserve a tour to view the home and the Eudora Welty House Garden, created by Eudora's mother Chestina Welty in 1925.
Famous Battle Sites of Tupelo
The northern Mississippi city of Tupelo is not only home to the Elvis Presley Birthplace, but significant battle sites important to both American and Mississippi heritage. A commemoration to the Civil War’s Battle of Tupelo during the summer of 1864, the Tupelo National Battlefield is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Set just at the intersection of West Main Street and Monument Drive, you can visit this legendary site – now maintained by the National Park Service. Just a half-hour north, the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield is set as a memorial to this famous battle, also from the summer of 1864. A major scuffle of the American Civil War, this site now encompasses 1,300 acres of walking trails and monuments ready to assist visitors in taking in the full historic journey throughout the year. Visit the nearby Brice's Cross Roads Visitor and Interpretive Center – open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Another treat? A stay at the Best Western hotel in Tupelo.
Adjacent to the Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Lighthouse has been a Biloxi landmark since 1848.
The historic lighthouse was declared a Mississippi Landmark in 1987, and was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The lighthouse is one of the most photographed sites along southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast.
This historic lighthouse has become a symbol of strength and resilience to the local residents after standing strong against Hurricane Katrina. Tours of the Lighthouse are available every day except Sunday.
Jefferson Davis Presidential Library
Located on the Beauvoir Historic Site, Jefferson Presidential Library in Biloxi is the actual library used by Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. The library is found in Biloxi right off the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The museum is chock-full of authentic documents, books, paperwork, records, and other unique artifacts from the mid 19th century. Visitors of nearby Gulfport can make the short journey into town and immerse themselves in unique history.
Once the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion in the state, the Windsor Ruins are found in central Mississippi, southwest of Vicksburg and Jackson.
Belonging to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the ruins remain where the mansion of Smith Coffee Daniel II stood since 1861.
The mansion once had a rooftop observatory famously used by both Union and Confederate troops during the American Civil War.
After an 1890 fire, only 23 columns and a wrought-iron set of stairs loom where the mansion once stood, creating a picturesque and haunting display featured in several motion pictures, including "Raintree County" and "Ghosts of Mississippi."