• Welcome to Toad Hall

    The home of the WXToad
  • Natchez, MS

    In March of 2007, we traveled along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, and on the return trip towards home, we drove the length of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Parkway begins in Natchez MS, on the bank of the Mississippi River. Originally a series of Indian trails, the Trace became the path home for boatmen from the Ohio Valley. After floating their boats downriver and unloading their cargoes, the boatmen then sold their boats for the value of the lumber....and then began the long trek back home. Beginning in the early 1800's, many plantation owners built town homes in Natchez. These are pictures of some of them I took during our visit.

     "Rosalie" was built about 1820 near the bluff overlooking the river. It served as a Headquarters for the Union Army during the War Between the states.  natch1
    natch2  Also facing the river is "The Parsonage", built in 1852.
     Although not equal to many of the homes, this place with its ornate porch caught my fancy. Currently for sale, it overlooks the river.  natch3
    natch4  Along the walkway atop the bluff is this memorial stone. It lists 209 names of individuals who died in a tragic fire at the Rhythm Club. Many more of the 700 people packed into the building were severely injured. Starting near the main entrance door, the fire quickly engulfed the structure due to Spanish moss that had been draped over interior's rafters as a decoration. In order to ensure there were no bugs in the decorative moss, it had been sprayed with petroleum-based Flit insecticide. Due to the dry conditions, flammable methane gas was generated from the moss and resulted in the destruction of the building within an hour.
    I have no history of this "fixer upper". It was no match for the large tree that once towered over it. Located on the site of Fort Rosalie, it is slated for demolition.   natch5
    natch6   "Bontura" was built in 1851 by a free African-American, Robert Smith, who ran a carriage service. It was later operated as an inn by Portuguese merchant Jose Bontura.
     The side yard and garden of "Bontura".  natch8
    natch7   Across the street from "Bontura" is the city bandstand, with its expansive view up the river.
     Looking downriver from the bandstand, one finds the bridge across the Mississippi River to Louisiana. Nestled against the foot of the bluff is Natchez Under the Hill, site of the original steamboat landing. Today a casino boat is moored there.  natch9
     natch10  In 1797, Andrew Ellicott, in defiance of Spain, raised the American flag here. A year later he built what is now known as "The House on Ellicott Hill".
    Azaleas and dogwoods were in full bloom.   natch11
    natch12   The profusion of azaleas practically hide this small home.
     Built in 1857, "Stanton Hall" is one of the most magnificent and palatial residences of antebellum America. natch14 
    natch16   "The Burn" is now a B&B.
     Lawyer John T. McCurran built "Melrose" in the late 1840's. Now owned by the National Park Service, the home is open to visitors.  natch18
     natch19  These two cabins at "Melrose" were slaves' quarters.
     Natchez seems to have a number of homes that could use a new, loving owner to restore them to their former glory.  natch17