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Natchez - Mississippi - by Tommy Ford

The coming of the cotton kingdom early in the 19th century transformed Natchez into one of the richest cities in America.

Vast fortunes were made based on cotton and slave labor. Massive plantations arose in the surrounding area as well as across the river in Louisiana.

(See our feature on Windsor Ruins, a plantation home that was the largest in the South). Many of the impressive dwellings, which survive within the city of Natchez today, were the "town" homes of planters whose actual farming operations were located elsewhere.

This brief kingdom ended with the Civil War. Natchez itself was spared the torch of the invading Union army by surrendering quickly without a fight. Many mansions crumbled into ruin as the economy recoiled.
A cornerstone designating the center of the city of Natchez. Date of origin unknown.
Early in the 20th Century the ladies of Natchez set out to preserve what remained. Their labor continues today with spring and fall "pilgrimages," when many of the homes are open for tours.

For our visit we chose to stay at Dunleith, a magnificent Greek Revival edifice surrounded by colonnaded galleries. Built in 1856 on the site of an earlier mansion, Dunleith is today operated as a bed and breakfast, no longer functioning as a family home. Luxurious rooms are available in the main house while others located in former servants quarters are perhaps less palatial but no less comfortable.
Most of the rooms have gas fireplaces and some have Jacuzzi tubs. Dunleith's unusual former carriage house has been converted into a restaurant on the upper floor with a popular tavern below. Both the meal and the service in the restaurant were excellent. Our stay at Dunleith was very enjoyable though for a history buff I must admit the conversion to a B&B has stripped the estate of much of it's heritage. Furnishings in the house are not original. Outlying structures have been converted into modern uses.
The grounds are well landscaped, though the presence of a tractor shed across the parking lot from the main house detracts somewhat from the atmosphere. If you're looking for living history or cultural exhibits you won't find them here. On the other hand, if it's a comfortable night in elegant surroundings you seek then by all means consider Dunleith.

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Feature Accommodations -
Historic Linden B&B - featured at
Linden B&B,
Natchez, MS

True Southern hospitality awaits at this Natchez gem

Natchez Hotels

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