Mississippi is full of incredible sites from the past. To be exact, the Magnolia State has more than 1,300 listings on the National Register! And since visiting them all would be a bit, well, time consuming, we put together a list of 15 must visit sites in Mississippi on the National Register of Historic Places. Read on to see how many you’ve visited.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Deason Home (410 Anderson St., Ellisville)
On October 5, 1863, Confederate Major McLemore was shot and killed inside this Ellisville home, which is the oldest in Jones County. In the decades that followed that fateful night, the home has been a hot spot for paranormal activity and strange happenings. It’s since been dubbed one of "Mississippi’s most haunted sites" and is available for tours.
2. Dockery Farms (229 MS-8, Cleveland)
Once home to legendary musicians, like Charley Patton, Willie Brown, and Howlin' Wolf, Dockery Farms is considered the actual birthplace of the Blues. At its peak, the thriving community had several churches and schools, a doctor, post office, and even its own currency. Today, the Dockery service station, cotton gin, church, and cemetery are still standing and are available for touring free of charge.
3. Water Valley Main Street Historic District
Water Valley’s Main Street historic district is one of only two places in Yalobusha County on the National Register of Historic Places. The charming area consists of a several shops and eateries. BTC Old Fashioned Grocery and Turnage Drug Store are two of the district’s must visits.
4. Emerald Mound Site (Natchez Trace Parkway milepost 10.3)
Constructed sometime between the 1200s and the 1600s, the Emerald Mound is the 2nd largest ceremonial mound in the nation. The mound itself is 770’ by 435’ and is 35’ high, and can be toured daily, free of charge.
5. The Simmons Wright Company (5493 Highway 11/80, Kewanee)
Established in 1884, this Kewanee staple takes the title as the oldest general store in the state. The two story shop carries everything from antiques and memorabilia to tools and food. Speaking of food, the store also includes a restaurant that serves up home cooked meals daily. The grounds, which include a cotton gin, blacksmith shop, and several other historic buildings, are also worth exploring.
6. Tombigbee State Park (264 Cabin Dr., Tupelo)
Offering the finest in outdoor recreation opportunities, yet located just minutes from the city of Tupelo, visitors to this park can experience the best of both worlds. Whether spending the day on the park’s 120-acre Lake Lee or venturing into town to visit the Elvis Presley birthplace, there’s plenty to see and do while at Tombigbee State Park.
7. LQC Lamar House Museum (616 N 14th St., Oxford)
Constructed in 1870, this museum was once home to Lucius and Virginia Lamar. After the Civil War, Lamar focused on improving relations between the north and south – something that earned him an entire chapter in JFK’s "Profiles In Courage." He went on to lead a successful political career. Today, Lamar’s former home serves as a museum, which has been named the state’s "best free attraction" by Money magazine.
8. Tupelo National Battlefield (2005 Main St., Tupelo)
From July 14-15, 1864, more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers battled at this very site. Today, the battlefield is full of monuments and informative markers, commemorating the hundreds who lost their lives. And just to help get younger visitors interested, the park has Civil War trading cards available for children.
9. Natchez "On Top Of The Hill" Historic District
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, this historic district is brimming with must visit sites from yesteryear. Much more than plantations, the collection of historic destinations includes everything from churches to King’s Tavern - Natchez’s oldest building,
10. Windsor Ruins (Rodney Rd., Port Gibson)
Unlike any other site in the nation, the Windsor Ruins are considered the "most imposing ruins in the United States." The ruins, which include 23, 45-foot tall columns and a few pieces of cast iron balustrade, are all that remain of what was once one of the most impressive homes in Mississippi. Today, you can tour the ruins any time during daylight hours, free of charge.
11. Waverly Mansion (1852 Waverly Rd., West Point)
Built in 1852, Waverly Mansion has a lot of history – and that includes the supernatural kind. Notoriously plagued by several spirits, it’s taken the title as "one of the most haunted homes in the South." Today, the historic home is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm for touring.
12. Biloxi Lighthouse (1050 Beach Blvd., 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 built in the South. Second, it has a lengthy history of being maintained by female lighthouse keepers. Tours, which cost $5 for adults and $2 for children 2-12, are available daily.
13. Byram Bridge (100 Swinging Bridge Dr., Byram)
Following a 2015 renovation, people began placing padlocks on this bridge’s railing - a tradition that actually dates back to Serbia during WWI. As a way to symbolize unbreakable love, sweethearts would inscribe or paint their names on a lock, attach it to a bridge, and throw away the key into the water below. The perfect date destination, visit the bridge with your love and bring along your own lock to attach to the bridge.
14. Rodney Historic District
Filled with dilapidated buildings and remnants of what once was, Rodney is the very definition of a ghost town. Located about 30 miles northeast of Natchez, the now abandoned town was once destined for big things, but a series of unfortunate events completely changed the fate of Rodney, leaving behind an eerily quiet town that appears to be frozen in time.
15. Dentzel Carousel in Highland Park (1720 Jimmie Rogers Memorial Dr., Meridian)
Located in Meridian’s Highland Park, the Dentzel Carousel is one of only a few two-row Dentzel menagerie carousels left in the world. An incredible, hand painted work of art, it was purchased in 1909 for $2,000. Today, it’s estimated to be worth more than $1 million! Take a spin on the carousel for only 50 cents.
So, have you ever visited any of the places listed above? Did you know about all of these great locales? Tell us in the comments section!