Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Town Too Beautiful to Burn

Located almost halfway between Natchez and Vicksburg, Port Gibson is the third oldest incorporated town in Mississippi. It is best remembered from the legendary Civil War story in which General Grant reportedly declared the town "too beautiful to burn."

I visited Port Gibson recently, and captured with my camera traces of that beauty still lingering in some of the old homes lining Church Street.

Some of the houses have been restored and are well maintained, while others have fallen into disrepair. It always saddens me to see the toll time takes on these old homes, constructed mostly of wood, but I can certainly understand how costly it must be to maintain them.

My first stop on my tour was the Drake House, ca 1900, a lovely example of the Queen Anne style of architecture prevalent around the turn of the century.

Here is a close up view of the beautiful old stained glass window transom which is characteristic of Queen Anne architecture. I love those lace curtains, too!

My next stop was at the Disharoon Home, ca. 1830s, one of the finest Federal-style houses in Claiborne County.

This Greek Revival house is the Presbyterian Manse, ca. 1830-31, the first building to house the First Presbyterian Church.

And speaking of the Presbyterian church, its steeple is probably the most photographed landmark in Port Gibson. Built in 1859, the church's steeple features a gilt hand pointing to Heaven.

Another fine example of Queen Anne architecture is the Schillig House, ca 1896 ...

Gage House, ca 1830

One of the things I love most about old houses is the lagniappe you find in unexpected places. Like this pretty design almost hidden under the eave of this house.

Here are a few more houses that caught my eye. The first one is McDougall House, ca 1820 (think about that for a second -- that's 41 years before the Civil War started!).

I love the flag hanging on this house, and just look at those magnificent swan planters waiting to welcome guests.

Spencer House, ca 1840. The rocking chairs on the porch caught my eye.

Be sure and click on this picture to see the details on the rocker, plus the beautiful stained glass hanging in the window.

I love the wide brick sidewalk leading to the Tuscan Columns Bed and Breakfast, ca 1904.

I hated to see the remains of this old home place on Church Street. What a waste ...

But next door, this cute little cow mailbox made me smile. Don't you know the postman loves to put mail in that.I wonder if it moos when you open it!

I wanted to get some pictures of the downtown historic district, but traffic was heavy and I had had enough walking for the day (especially with the humidity at 97%!). I did manage to get a shot of the old Trace movie theater, though ...

And this old Red Goose Shoes sign brought back some memories. Isn't it neat!

If you're ever in Natchez or Vicksburg, I hope you will take the time to visit Port Gibson. And while you're there, I highly recommend you take a side trip to see the Windsor Ruins.

You can find out more about Windsor here: The Story of the Ruins of Windsor).


southerninspiration said...

I remember that steeple!!! What a fun tour today!!Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics!!!


Blondie's Journal said...

Great post, Janie! I love Queen Anne homes and we have much of that architecture here where I live. And I remember Red Goose Shoes!! Thanks for the memory jolt!!

Wonderful post! :-)


The Quintessential Magpie said...

What a charming town, Janie. I bet some delightful people lived there over the years! :-)



Marti said...

What a lovely town. Those rocking chairs on the porch are lovely. Too bad they have to chain them down to keep them. Thanks for the photo tour!

Tonja said...

I love these old homes. Like you, it always makes me sad when I see a former 'grand' home left to just fall apart at the whim of the elements. It's a shame, really. All those old places must have some stories to tell!

nancygrayce said...

Everything is so beautiful there, but that steeple is great!!

Karen said...

Just gorgeous! I love your photos so much! I agree with Marti...the rocking chairs were exquisite but it's a shame they have to wire them down to keep someone from taking them!