One of the greatest aspects about Mississippi is the measures that are taken to preserve the state’s rich history. As a result of these conservation efforts, the state is filled with amazing structures and sites of yesteryear that are just waiting to be explored. From an unusual antebellum home to one of the most renowned prehistoric Native American sites in this region of the country, these significant Mississippi landmarks must be visited at least once.
1. Old Capitol Museum, Jackson
One of the most historic buildings in the state, the Old Capitol was the site of several significant events, including Mississippi’s secession from the Union. The stunning Greek Revival-style building now serves as a free museum, giving visitors a better understanding of the building and the important events that have taken place in it.
2. Longwood, Natchez
Construction on this Oriental Revival-style home began in the late-1850s, after years of planning, prepping, and securing materials for the six-story, 30,000 square foot mansion. In September of 1861, the workmen at Longwood learned about the start of the Civil War and laid down their tools where they were standing, never to return. The homeowner’s slaves continued to work on the home until 1862 and were able to complete only the basement. The rest of the home remains unfinished to this day, making it one of the state’s most intriguing buildings.
3. The Biloxi Lighthouse, Biloxi
This historic lighthouse, which dates back to 1848, is unique in a couple of ways. First, it was one of the earliest cast-iron lighthouses to be built in the south. Second, it has a lengthy history of being maintained by female lighthouse keepers. Today, the renowned landmark serves as a sign of perseverance as it has withstood two severe hurricanes, Camille and Katrina.
4. Round Island Lighthouse, Pascagoula
This National Historic Landmark was constructed on the south side of Round Island in 1859. By 1998, the lighthouse was severely damaged by Hurricane George. The damage continued to worsen throughout the year due to excessive erosion. After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, only a portion of the lighthouse remained. In 2010, the city of Pascagoula relocated and restored the historic lighthouse, which now stands at the foot of the Pascagoula River Bridge on U.S. Highway 90.
5. The Old Warren County Courthouse Museum, Vicksburg
One of Vicksburg’s most historic structures, this courthouse played a significant role in the Civil War. By 1948, it had been transformed into a museum, housing an interesting collection of artifacts that includes the tie worn by Jefferson Davis at his inauguration as Confederate President, fine portraits, china and silver, and exquisite antique furniture.
6. Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg
The site of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles, the Vicksburg National Military Park was established in 1899 in order to commemorate the siege and defense of Vicksburg. Today, the park is filled with over 1,340 monuments, markers, tablets, and plaques, making it one of the most densely monumented battlefields in the entire world.
7. Windsor Ruins, Port Gibson
Built in the mid-1800s, the Windsor Plantation once encompassed a whopping 2,600 acres. The stunning mansion survived the Civil War practically unscathed; however, in 1890, a houseguest accidentally left a lit cigar on the balcony and the mansion burned to the ground, leaving behind only the columns, balustrades, and iron stairs. The Windsor Ruins are now available for touring year-round, free of charge.
8. Dentzel Carousel, Meridian
In operation since 1909, this extremely rare carousel is one of Meridian’s most treasured sites, and by 1986, was named a National Landmark. This honor has only been extended to 11 other carousels nationwide, with the Dentzel Carousel being the only one located in the south. Today, rides on the carousel can be purchased for only fifty cents and tours of the carousel house for one dollar.
9. Fillmore Street Chapel, Corinth
Completed in 1871, the Fillmore Street Chapel is one of Corinth’s oldest places of worship. Between the awe-inspiring steeples and beautiful arched windows, this historical landmark is bound to amaze.
10. Winterville Site, near Greenville
One of many historic Indian mound sites in Mississippi, the Winterville Site is one of the largest and best preserved in the southeastern United States, making it extremely significant – a fact that was not lost on the National Park Service and Harvard University who, in the 1940s, conducted the first modern archaeological studies at the site. Today, the 42-acre site, which includes 12 prehistoric mounds, two plazas, and a museum, can be toured free of charge.
With so many historically-significant sites in the state, this list could easily go on and on! What are your favorite historical landmarks in Mississippi?