Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Windsor Ruins - Port Gibson / Alcorn, Mississippi

Photo by Janie Fortenberry
Photography with a Southern Accent
Vicksburg, Mississippi
People from all over the world travel to see the ruins of Windsor Plantation. Built just before the Civil War, Windsor was one of the largest plantations in the area. Windsor Ruins is located west of Port Gibson, Mississippi along ancient Rodney Road and north of Alcorn State University on Mississippi Highway 552.

Legend says that from a roof observatory, Mark Twain watched the Mississippi River in the distance. Leading up to the Battle of Port Gibson in the spring of 1863, confederate troops used the roof observatory as a lookout as Grant's army crossed the Mississippi River. After the battle the mansion was used as a Union hospital and observation post, thus sparing it from being burned by Union troops. Unfortunately, in 1890 a house guest left a lighted cigar on the upper balcony and Windsor burned to the ground. Everything was destroyed except 23 of the columns, balustrades and iron stairs.

A 32 mile "loop route" along Mississippi Highway 552/Rodney Road and the Natchez Trace Parkway will take you past Windsor Ruins, Canemount Plantation, Bethel Church and Port Gibson the town that U.S. Grant called "too pretty to burn".

For additional pictures and information about Windsor Ruins, the town of Port Gibson and biking the Windsor Ruins Loop please see

Monday, July 19, 2010

Church Hill, Mississippi

The rural community of Church Hill, Mississippi is located at the intersection of Mississippi Highway 553 and Church Hill Road just a few miles from the Natchez Trace Parkway and about 15 miles north of Natchez. The area is named after Christ Church, circa 1790, which sits atop a terraced hill. Across the intersection is a wooden country store built around 1837. The store was closed in the late 1990s. It also functioned as the Church Hill, MS post office.

The Church Hill Loop is 22 miles long - 12 miles along Mississippi Highway 553 and 10 miles along the Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 10.3 to milepost 20.

Antebellum plantations line both sides of Highway 553, including Springfield Plantation where Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards were married in 1791. All of the properties are privately owned and not open to the public. Christ Church and the plantations are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Church Hill Loop is popular with bicyclists. Highway 553 and the Natchez Trace Parkway are lightly traveled. Best place to park is at Mount Locust on the Trace at milepost 15.5.

For additional pictures, information and maps please see