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|Windsor Ruins - Mississippi
A Mississippi treasure, built in 1859-61. The original owner, Smith Daniell, only lived in the large mansion for a few weeks before he died. The Windsor plantation once covered over 2,600 acres. It is said that from a roof observatory, Mark Twain used to stand and muse while overlooking the Mississippi River in the distance, and compared Windsor to a college instead of a residence, due to its size.
From the elaborate furnishings, to the wrought iron staircase, the four story home was designed to reflect the height of Southern life at the time. It was built for only $175,000 (not a small sum at the time), which included the building cost and its furnishings. Tanks in the attic supplied water for the interior baths. The mansion contained twenty-five rooms with twenty-five fireplaces, with a basement containing a school room, dairy, and supply rooms. From the roof observatory, signal equipment was used to signal Confederate troops of Yankee advances.
A Yankee soldier was shot in the front doorway of the home. Given that the mansion was used as a Union hospital and observation post during the Civil War, this is the most likely reasons that it was spared from being burned by the Union troops at the time. The drawing above was made by a Union soldier while traveling through the Windsor area during the Civil War. It is the only known depiction of what Windsor actually looked like complete. Windsor was only three miles away from the river town of Bruinsburg (where Union troops landed to surprise the Rebels during the War). After the Civil War, Windsor burned, during a house party on February 17, 1890, after a guest left a lighted cigar on the upper balcony. The wrought iron staircase is now a part of nearby Alcorn State University. Windsor Ruins has appeared in several feature films, including Raintree County (1957), which included Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Cliff, Lee Marvin, Eva Marie Saint, and DeForest Kelley (Dr. McKoy, of Star Trek fame). More recently, the columns appeared in the movie, Ghosts of Mississippi.
The thirty feet high Corinthian columns of Windsor remain as a reminder of a grand existence. The area is administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The Ruins of Windsor is located 12 miles southwest of Port Gibson on Hwy 552. There is no charge for admission. The ghost town of Rodney (where a few occupants still live) is located west of Alcorn State University, via a gravel road. Be sure to also visit other sites which are in the area including, the Shaifer House, Lookout Point, and the Grand Gulf State Park.