Jeff's Southern Work Tour travel blog

Emerald Mound

Mount Locust



I'm glad we enjoyed yesterday's sun and warm temperatures. Today was rain and cool temperatures. We were scheduled to drive to Biloxi MS, but we decided to see a couple more things in Natchez first.

We began the day having breakfast at the hotel again. Rain stopped us from looking elsewhere. The food was pretty much the same as yesterday, scrambled eggs, sausage, toaster waffles and French toast, and pancakes from the automatic pancake machine. Cheryl read that Mississippi had the highest rate of hypertension per capita in the nation. After eating a couple of breakfasts we knew why. Everything was very salty.

At any rate, breakfast finished we headed for the Natchez Trace Parkway. This is a 444 mile scenic drive from Natchez to Nashville. It was used by Native Americans and pioneers. Along the drive are numerous places to stop and see historic items and spectacular views. We decided to drive the first 20 miles or so. On our trip we saw The Emerald Mound and Mount Locust.

Emerald Mound is a temple mound eight acres in size and used to support temples, ceremonial structures, etc. It was used from about 1300 to 1600 by the Mississippians, ancestors of the Natchez Indians and is the second largest temple mound in the US.

Mount Locust is a large pioneer house which was later used as one of numerous inns along the trail. It dates to the early 1800s.

From there, we moved along to Melrose, and antebellum house owned by the National Park Service. We checked in for a tour at 11:25, and found that the next tour was at 1:00 PM. We decided to drive to the final house we wanted to see, Longwood. The drive was about 15 minutes, and we arrived about 5 minutes before a tour started.

Longwood is a very interesting house. It is the largest octagonal house in the US. It was designed to be 5 stories tall with an octagonal dome on the top. Construction started in 1860, and managed to get the outside complete, and also finish the first floor within 18 months. Unfortunately, the Civil War caused most of the 100 or so workers, drawn from the north, to walk off the job. That is as far as the project ever got.

The pictures here are of the outside and looking up into the dome from the second floor.

When we finished here, we drove back to Melrose, just in time for the tour. The tour, given by the National Parks Service personnel, was very good. The house managed to retain most of the original furnishings, and thanks to documents and letters from the occupants, we have a very good picture of the family life in the 1800s. This tour complete, we headed for Biloxi.

The trip to Biloxi was supposed to take about 3.5 hours, but with off and on (mostly on) rain, it slowed us down. We ate along the way and arrived in Biloxi at about 7:30. Driving through Biloxi put us in mind of Atlantic City. There are numerous large casinos dotting the skyline, and arriving in the dark, the look was amazing. We parked the car, checked in, brought the car around to the front door to unload, and went to our room. I was thirsty and we went to one of the many bars for a drink.

It was amazing to me how much has been changed in the 5 or so years since I completed my part of the project. The casino floor has increased in size, additional restaurants have been added, and a pool area (started as I left the site) was completed. It's now quite a place.

Tomorrow: exploring Biloxi.

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