ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Natchez Trace Parkway, MS, AL, TN
Mount Locust, Mississippi
This historic plantation house
on the Natchez Trace in
Mississippi was once a stand
or overnight stop for travelers
on the historic road.
Elizabeth Female Academy
These brick ruins are all that
remain of the historic 1818
academy that was the first
school for women chartered
in Mississippi.
Natchez Trace Parkway - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee
The Natchez Trace is a road as old as the
South and yet it is one of the modern era's
finest destinations.

A 444-mile long national park stretching from
the historic bluffs of Natchez, Mississippi, to
the skyline of Nashville, Tennessee, the
Natchez Trace Parkway attracts tens of
thousands of people each year. It spans
three states - Mississippi, Alabama and
Tennessee - and passes some of the most
significant landmarks and historic sites in
the nation.

The original Natchez Trace was a roadway
that connected frontier settlements in
Tennessee, Kentucky and the Ohio Valley
with the lower Mississippi River. Sections of
the original road, however, followed ancient
Native American trails that had been in use
for thousands of years before European
explorers arrived in North America.

Traces of the prehistoric Indians of the South
can be found along the modern parkway at
such locations as
Emerald Mound, Owl
Creek Mounds and Bynum Mounds. Emerald
Mound, in fact, is one of the largest Native
American earthworks in the nation.

Other sites along the Trace interpret the
years when these original civilizations
collided with Europeans as they explored
and spread their settlements into the
Mississippi Valley. One exhibit, for example,
interprets the passage of the Hernando de
Soto expedition, while another preserves the
scene of a village and fort built by Chickasaw
Indians in the
Tupelo area to resist French

The Natchez Trace became a major roadway
when American frontiersmen pushed their
way west from the Atlantic seaboard into the
valleys of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers.
These early farmers and fur trappers would
carry their products down the Mississippi
River to New Orleans on boats that floated
along with the current of the great river.

Steamboats, however, had not yet been
invented so getting back home was a major
ordeal. To make things a bit easier, the
Natchez Trace was opened across the
modern states of Mississippi, Alabama and
Tennessee. The early boatmen, called
"Kaintucks," would travel downstream by
water and then leave Natchez on foot or
horseback for the trip home.

The Natchez Trace was in use by the time of
the American Revolution and historic sites
dating from the 1700s can be found along
the modern parkway. One of the most
fascinating is
Mount Locust, a plantation
established along the Trace during the 18th

Now an interpretive center and historic site
near the southern end of the parkway, Mount
Locust preserves one of the oldest homes in
Mississippi. This plantation was an
operating farm, but also functioned as a
"stand" or overnight stop for travelers along
the Natchez Trace.

From roughly 1800 to 1825, the time of
heaviest use of the Trace, thousands of
farmers, traders and boatmen traveled the
Natchez Trace. Even a then unknown militia
general from Tennessee named Andrew
Jackson earned his famed nickname "Old
Hickory" when he led an army up the Trace
from Natchez at his own expense after the
government refused to supply his men.

The Natchez Trace remained a vital roadway
until the 1820s, when the development of
steamboat travel on the Mississippi River
ended the need for the overland route. Steam
power allowed boats to turn around at New
Orleans and make their way back upstream.
The birth of the great floating palaces of the
riverboat era ended the earlier age of the
The Natchez Trace in Mississippi
A national park that stretches from Mississippi to
Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway
commemorates America's first "super highway."
"Kaintucks" and the Natchez Trace.

Sections of the old roadway, of course,
remained in use over the years that followed.
The army of General Ulysses S. Grant
marched along a section of the Trace during
his 1863 Vicksburg Campaign and battles
were fought at numerous spots on and near
the Natchez Trace at locations including Port
Grand Gulf, Vicksburg, Raymond,
Tupelo, Brices Cross Roads,
Corinth, Shiloh, Franklin and Nashville.

In more modern times, Elvis Presley was
born and spent his boyhood years just off the
Natchez Trace in Tupelo, Mississippi.
birthplace and boyhood home is now the
center of a park and memorial complex in the
fascinating city.

The Natchez Trace Parkway was built by the
National Park Service to commemorate the
original road. It does not follow the exact
route, but crosses it numerous times. Be
sure to visit the
National Park Service's
website for maps and other information if you
are planning a trip.

To learn more about some of the points of
interest and historic sites along the Natchez
Trace Parkway, please follow the links below.
Section of the Original Trace
Today's parkway crosses
many sections of the original
Natchez Trace as it winds its
way from Natchez north to
Emerald Mound
The magnificent Emerald
Mound near Natchez is one of
many significant Native
American sites along the
Natchez Trace.
Elvis Presley Birthplace
The birthplace of the "King of
Rock and Roll" is located just
off the Natchez Trace in
Tupelo, Mississippi.
Civil War Battlefields
Numerous sites associated
with the Civil War can be
found along the Natchez
Trace, include Brices Cross
Roads National Battlefield.
Natchez Trace Points of Interest:
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Natchez Trace Parkway, MS, AL, TN
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Natchez Trace Parkway, MS, AL, TN
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