Thursday, July 15, 2010
Mount Locust Inn & Plantation - Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi
Built in 1780, while the American Revolution was still in full fury, the historic home originally served as an inn or "stand" along the famed Natchez Trace. This roadway led from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, and provided a short cut for "Kaintuck" boatmen who floated cargoes of furs and farm products down the Mississippi River to Natchez and New Orleans. Steamboat travel had not yet been developed, so getting back home to upriver settlements in the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee valleys wasn't quite as easy as getting downstream. The solution was the Natchez Trace. Sometimes called America's first "superhighway," it was an overland path by which the boatmen could make their way back home.
In those days fifteen miles was about the distance that a person could be expected to walk in a day, so resting places naturally developed in intervals of about that length. Mount Locust was just over fifteen miles north of Natchez and offered food and sleeping space to weary travelers for 25 cents a day.
In later years, when travel on the Trace was replaced by steamboats on the Mississippi, the house became the center of a large Mississippi cotton plantation. When the Natchez Trace Parkway was developed, however, the park service acquired the house and grounds for development as a historic site.
The unique old home, which far pre-dates the state of Mississippi, has been restored to its 1820 appearance and is in a remarkable state of preservation. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/natchezlocust.