Scenic USA - Mississippi

Melrose Mansion

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Melrose Plantation Home - Natchez National Historical Park, Natchez, Mississippi

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Inset photos - NPS

     One of Mississippi's oldest cities, Natchez was built along a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Founded by the French in 1716, its prominent location on the river and position at the southern John T McMurran, Melrose Mansion - Natchez National Historical Park, MS terminus of the Natchez Trace trade route ensured the city's leadership in southern commerce. Its brisk trade, especially in cotton, gave rise to an elite class of businessmen and southern planters. Prior to the Civil War in American, Natchez housed the most millionaires of any city in the United States. Because of its location on high ground, floodplain cotton barons opted to build their mansions in Natchez. Unlike many other Southern cities, Natchez was spared destruction during the Civil War. And today the city has more antebellum homes than anywhere else in America.
     John McMurran arrived in Natchez during the mid 1820s. In a short period of time, McMurran became owner of five plantations in the heart of cotton country. Like most other planters, McMurran was moved to display his wealth. Taking eight years to build, the McMurran mansion was one of the finest homes in Natchez. Where cotton had once grown, McMurran's Melrose mansion was raised on the highest point of land, signifying the Melrose Mansion - Natchez National Historical Park, MS importance of the main house. Without modern conveniences, this high perch made the best use of any cool summer breezes. Derived entirely from the rich earth alongside the Mississippi River, the Greek revival-style mansion represented the epitome of Southern prosperity.
     The Melrose Plantation became a National Park Service property in 1990 and is one of two sites of the Natchez National Historic Park. The mansion, along with the plantation's 80 acres, represents one of the most complete antebellum estates in Natchez. Guided tours, lasting about 45 minutes, begin at 10 am and end with the last tour starting at 4 pm.

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