Wednesday, January 09, 2008
9 January 2008
Yesterday, we traveled by car to Natchez, Ms partly by way of the Natchez Trace National Pkwy. It follows the Natchez Trace route between Natchez and Nashville and has been used for centuries by Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, and river men having to walk back north after bringing their barges south with cargo, and all kinds of other travelers. The Trace started as an animal trail and used by so many people over the centuries that a deep rut trail was formed and still can be seen in a number of places along the Pkwy. It is listed as one of the most scenic routes in the USA.
Natchez has a long history as an important river port and for many years before and after the Civil War was the most important port along the river. River travelers would stop to sightsee in the town on top of the bluffs and in particular admire the many “show me” homes of the wealthy merchants and plantation owners. Today this remains the main tourist attraction of the area. We toured Stanton Hall, which claims to be the most photographed mansion in the world. It is 14000 sq ft, with 6000 sq ft just in the hall ways.
Natchez also had the largest slave auction site in the USA before the Civil War. Like Vicksburg, it seems to be working hard to maintain the glory of its past. Also like Vicksburg, a casino boat seems to be one of the main hopes of a return to prosperity. There just seems to be a flawed concept in there somewhere. The mighty Mississippi remains a constant, but the rest seems to be in a constant state of flux.