Like so many towns along the Mississippi River, Natchez was home to lavish plantations and farms where cotton and other products could be shipped up or downstream to market. Cotton planters became millionaires but at the cost of the enslaved labor.
Some of these historic homes in the 300-year-old town are still standing and are open to tours. They’re a popular day trip for those traveling with the river cruises. Some homes are only open during the Natchez Pilgrimage, seasonal tours of homes, but others are open year-round. During these pilgrimages, you can visit multiple homes for one price.
A Note On Plantations: These homes have a dark history that shouldn’t be ignored. Only you can decide whether this is something you’re interested in doing. Read this post for more perspectives on both sides of the debate.
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Longwood is the most unique antebellum home in the country, built in a circular “Oriental-style” mansion. Built for a cotton planter, all work stopped during the Civil War and never continued. Tours of the home go through the basement, where the family lived, and the unfinished upstairs. It’s also open for seasonal ghost tours and was even featured in True Blood.
Book your tour of Longwood Antebellum Mansion.
Stanton Hall is a Classic Revival antebellum home that was built in the 1850s for an Irish cotton broker. It was built to resemble his home in Belfast, another name given to the home. It later became a women’s school and inspired the design for Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Today they operate tours as well as the Carriage House Restaurant, which has some of the best fried chicken around.
Rosalie Mansion overlooks the bluffs of the Mississippi River and was built in the 1700s. Named for the Countess of Pontchartrain, the home was owned by three families before being turned over to the Daughters of the American Revolution. It survived the Civil War by becoming a Union headquarters.
Book your tour of Rosalie Mansion.
Auburn is an antebellum mansion built in 1812 by Levi Weeks, who had fled New York after being tried for murder, for Mississippi’s first attorney general. It is built in the Greek Revival style with porticos and columns as well as a stunning unsupported spiral staircase.
Book your tour of Auburn Museum & Historic Home.
Monmouth is a 26-acre estate with one of the oldest homes in Natchez, now serving as a restaurant and inn. It was built in 1818 and inhabited by John Quitman, who became a Mississippi Governor. The home offers its own tours and is a stop on the City Sightseeing tour. Restaurant 1818 has Southern favorites like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collard greens.
Melrose was built in the Greek Revival design in the 1820s for lawyer John T. McMurran, who worked with Monmouth owner John Quitman. After the Civil War, he sold the home to Elizabeth and George Davis, a couple whose home, Choctaw, had been taken over by Union troops. It has furnishings from this time period. Tours are offered daily by the Natchez National Park Service.
Choctaw Hall was built in the Federal and Greek Revival styles in 1836. It has dramatic double porches. Today it operates as a bed and breakfast and event venue. Tours are offered from Wednesday to Sunday at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.
Lansdowne is an antebellum plantation set on over 700 acres and is still owned by descendants of the original family. It contains much of the original decor and furnishings and has never undergone a restoration. Tours are offered on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 3 pm. It also operates as a bed and breakfast and event venue.
Book your tour of Lansdowne.
Magnolia Hall was built in 1858 as a Greek Revival mansion, also known as the Henderson-Britton House. It was owned by Thomas Henderson, a wealthy cotton broker and merchant. A Union shell hit the kitchen during the Civil War. Tours are offered by the Natchez Garden Club and an upstairs exhibit features costumes.
Book your tour of Magnolia Hall.
Other Houses to Tour
In addition to the grand antebellum homes and plantations, Natchez also has other historic homes open for tours.
The House on Ellicott’s Hill was one of the first homes built in Natchez in 1797. Featuring Federal style elements, the house was purchased through a Spanish land grant. It is now open for tours, operated by the Natchez Garden Club. The 1951 film Show Boat was filmed at the home.
The William Johnson House was named for the freed slave that lived here, a barber. He owned slaves himself and his house and diary provide a picture of life in Natchez during that time.
See the city’s historic homes and attractions on the City Sightseeing Natchez Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour, an informative bus tour that makes twelve stops around town. Your pass is good all day, so take your time.
Where to Stay
In addition to the historic homes offering both tours and accommodations, these Natchez mansions run their own bed and breakfasts.
Devereaux Shields House– Guests enjoy a full Southern hot breakfast and 24-hour coffee, sofa, and tea service at this Victorian bed and breakfast. Accommodation options include rooms in the main house and the adjoining cottage.
Linden – A Historic Antebellum Bed and Breakfast– Located in a well-preserved antebellum mansion, the inn is set on seven acres. Built in 1785, residents include the United States senator Thomas Buck Reed.
The Burn Bed and Breakfast was built in 1834 and became an inn in 1978. Rooms and suites have private baths, cable television, wireless Internet, and access to the outdoor pool.
Brandon Hall Plantation was built in 1856 outside of Natchez. It went through a number of owners before becoming an inn and event venue. They also operate tours during the fall and spring pilgrimages.