If you’re traveling the Natchez Trace Parkway through Mississippi, Windsor Ruins is a side trip well worth your time.
At the time of our visit there were 23 of the original 29 columns still standing, along with another five partial columns that unfortunately have not withstood the test of time.
The History of Window Ruins
In 1849 Smith Coffee Daniell, II, a young, successful cotton planter who owned several properties scattered along the Mississippi delta, married his cousin Catherine Freeland. They had several children together, only three of whom survived into adulthood.
In 1859 he began construction of the mansion now known as Windsor Ruins. The three story Antebellum home styled after Greek revival architecture, was once part of a 2600 acre plantation that overlooked the Mississippi river in the distance. The cost to build the home was approximately $175,000. In today’s terms that would be around $5.1 million.
Sadly Mr. Daniel died on April 28, 1864 at the age of 34, only a few short weeks after moving in to the mansion.
During the Civil War, the mansion was used as both a hospital and observation post.
In 1890 the mansion burned leaving only the columns, balustrades, cast iron stairways, and a few pieces of china. Three of the four stairways have gone missing over the years, but one still remains having been moved to Oakland Memorial Chapel at Alcorn State University.
in 1971 the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1974 the estate was donated by the descendants of the Daniell family to the State of Mississippi.
in 1975 it received it’s designation as a Mississippi landmark and it has become a favorite destination for photographers, architects, and the curious since then.
The hauntingly beautiful 45′ tall columns make for outstanding photographs, but I was also drawn to the beautiful metalwork of the iron Corinthian capitals sitting atop of each fluted column.
Time is taking it’s toll and the columns are becoming unstable and deteriorating, but restoration and an effort to preserve this unique landmark is scheduled to begin Fall of 2020.
If you’d like to know more detail about the history of Windsor Ruins, I found a well researched article HERE.
On our next stop we return to the NTP and head north were we hop out of the SUV and take a short self-guided trail on foot through a deeply eroded section of the original trace.
Windsor Ruins 15095 Rodney Rd, Port Gibson, MS 39150 website
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