Natchez National Historical Park
In the early 18th century, the French established a trading post on a southern stretch of the Mississippi. Natchez was passed to Spanish hands, and then, finally, to the U.S. in 1798. During the next 60 years, it developed into one of the South’s most important ports because it linked “King Cotton” to British textile mills via the river, then the ocean. Southern wealth displayed itself in the grand homes of planters and merchants. Two of this park’s sites trace over a century of that history.
Melrose was the 80-acre estate of cotton planter John T. McMurran. On a guided tour of the Greek Revival mansion, note the original furnishings—especially the floor coverings. On the grounds, trails lead to several outbuildings, including slave quarters, where exhibits enrich your understanding of how much work (and how many people) it took to maintain these substantial Southern estates. Afterward, continue your tour through history at the William Johnson House, the home of a free black man. His personal story and that of his barber shop unfold through the lens of his diary.
Note that Melrose tours last about 45 minutes and are offered at the top of the hour daily between 9 and 4. There’s a nominal entrance fee, and you’re encouraged to arrive at the visitors center a few minutes early. Admission is free to the William Johnson House, where the tours are self guided, though a ranger is on hand to answer questions.
1 Melrose Montebello Pkwy.
- Natchez, Mississippi 39120
- 31.54591500, -91.38583100
- Park: daily 9–5. Melrose: Sat.–Wed. 9–5. William Johnson House: daily 9–5 (closed daily 1–1:45).
- Visit Website
- (601) 446-5790