A Ruined Opportunity

I have lived in Mississippi all but thirteen years of my life. It’s not that I’m particularly old, because I’m not, but there are many areas of the state that I still haven’t explored. When locals think about traveling, many think about leaving the state. I can tell you there are many great destinations worth exploring without crossing the state line. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming as there are many places that can be seen during a day trip. Pack a lunch and hit the road!

The Claiborne County Courthouse as seen from the post office.

Port Gibson sounds like it should be a coastal community with ships coming and going throughout the day. However, this less than 2 square mile town sits inland. The Mississippi River sits just a few miles to the west. During the very short period that I visited, it was noticed this town was old, yet still beautiful. I even met a few nice people along the way.

Winsor mansion contained 29 columns that stood 40 ft tall.

Just minutes away from Alcorn State University and south of the town in Claiborne County sits an absolute treasure, the Windsor Ruins. This was the main attraction for me. Windsor mansion managed to survive the American Civil War only to burn later only leaving behind the massive fluted columns seen above.

A sketch of Winsor Ruins completed.

Digital cameras really weren’t a thing in the 1800’s, but drawn illustrations show just how beautiful this 17,000 sq ft mansion was. It contained up to 25 rooms and just as many fireplaces. This makes you wonder just how it caught fire, right?

Wikipedia states, “The fluted columns were crowned with ornate, iron Corinthian capitals, and the columns were joined at the height of the third floor by ornamental iron balustrades.”

Many of immaculate details can still be seen at the top of each column. There was no outhouse here either! There were two working interior bathrooms that used captured rainwater.

Winsor mansion contained 29 columns that stood 40 ft tall. My car gives a sense for just how huge this mansion was.

After finally seeing what was left of the mansion that once sat on 2,600 acres, I headed back into town through the very curvaceous road. Being one that loves driving on any road that isn’t straight, it was quite enjoyable.

Battle of Port Gibson

Port Gibson has quite a history and saw action during the American Civil War. Several historical sites here are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There were way too many sites to see and a very short window for me to see them.

The Trace Theater is located at the corner of Market Street and Carroll Street. The Trace Theatre was owned and operated by the Ewings of Fayette, Mississippi, as was the Fay Theatre in Fayette and the AutoVue Drive-In in Lorman, Mississippi. There was only one other drive-in theater still operating in the state of Mississippi when the AutoVue Drive-In closed in the 1960’s. Info source: CinemaTreasures.org

Everywhere I looked there was something that begged for more attention. Even simple things like a defunct movie theater gave the town character.

First Presbyterian Church. Second oldest Presbyterian Church in Old Southwest. Organized April 1807 as Bayou Pierre Church. Moved to Port Gibson 1827. Zebulon Butler first resident pastor, 1827-1860. Present structure built 1859.

Church street was lined with, guess what? Churches! Beautiful churches like the one pictured caused a little trouble for me once I realized I left my wide angle lens at home. I needed a an excuse to come back though, right?