Friday, March 25, 2016

Natchez, Mississippi

It was late February and I had 2 goals coming up quickly.  One was a quick 4 day weekend event, early in April, in Omaha, Nebraska as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity's Disaster Corp/Rebuild Team and another event in  Hobbs, New Mexico as a volunteer for a month of home building.
Trying to put everything together in my life in Florida, so I could get on the road, meant...Get Going!!!  I had prepped my home and vehicles early enough to get on the road and allow a couple of extra days, should I need them for some unforeseen problem.

 Loaded my new bike onto my new Pick Up which were to be towed behind my motor home.
 Relaxed for a bit watching the last sunset I'd see for many months out of my driveway in N. Fl.

 I found myself arriving in Natchez, Ms. making good time but I needed to figure out some details before going further.

Omaha was now almost directly North of me and Hobbs was due West.  I planned for and bought airline tickets before leaving Florida.  The plan was, for a round trip between Dallas, TX. and Omaha and leaving my rig, towed vehicle and dog somewhere near Dallas, safe for my weekend trip.  In my mind, I could not, in my short time available, satisfy my concerns of safety.  My only option then was to just drive to Omaha and then back south to Hobbs, NM.

That was not a problem as I had the time set aside if needed.  I also had time to visit Natchez, Ms. which I had never visited.  I was camped in a state park, NE of Natchez about 10 miles out.

  It was a great place, on a large lake, to relax and take long walks, which Pete(my dog) and I did in the evenings.  Actually, I was able to take the same spot I parked in years ago, in my Class C RV.

I had picked up some brochures at the Mississippi Welcome Center on the Interstate and decided to tour a Natchez old mansion, of which there were about a dozen with tours.

Shields Town House  1860
The Towers   1798
Pleasant Hill   1835
Elgin   1792
Hawthorne   1814
Gov. Holmes House   1794
Linden   1800
Selma   1811
Brandon Hall   1856
Richmond   1784-1832
Melrose   1842-1848
Longwood   1860-1861*
Rosalie   1820
Stanton Hall   1857

 I love history.  A local gal at an Indian Museum I visited day 2, said she felt one home was special.(*)  Longwood.
The largest Octagon shaped home in the United States, Longwood, with intended 30,000 sq. ft. of interior space.  The construction of this home was begun just before the Civil War and due to the workers mostly being from Pennsylvania, was never completed as they quickly fled north to sign up for military duty.

Longwood property was bought by Dr. Haller Nutt to satisfy his wife's dream. He owned 43,000 acres, had 800 slaves and had an income of $228,000 in 1860.  The Civil War certainly changed lives. He and his wife plus11 children ended up living in the only finished part of the home, the basement soon after the war started.  He died soon of pneumonia, after loosing his financial wealth to the war. His wife managed to raise the children and continued living in the home until she passed in her nineties. 
The family kept the home until the 1960's and the new owners paid for the basic stabilization of the old structure before giving it to the City of Natchez for Historical Preservation.
 Looking into the center of the home's 8 sided central room, tour in progress.
 Side room with stored original materials.  Windows were never completed.

 Interior main floor and upper floors were never finished.  The central room looked up to a rotunda 6 stories up.  Amazing architecture and craftsmanship.
This is only a short part of the entry driveway into the property but if I heard correctly, the land baron and cotton magnate owned 6 or 7 plantations and 27,000 acres. 

Driving into town I passed a local bar/lounge one afternoon and this Rat Rod was sitting outside.  I had to turn around and take a closer look.  It was really 'rattie' and as such, quite cool.
  Check out the 'seats.'
I wouldn't want to drive this a long distance!

From here, I drove north to Omaha, and very much more comfortable than in this.

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