Melrose - Natchez, Mississippi - Historic House

Melrose is a historic house situated in the Natchez National Historical Park at Melrose/Montebello Parkway in Natchez, Mississippi. The estate is open everyday of the year except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Dayand New Year's Day. The grounds are open daily from8.30am to 5pm with tours offered at the top of the hour from 10am to 4pm.

The mansion was built between 1842 and 1848 at a time of great prosperity in the south and in particular the cotton industry. It sits among 80 acres of land maintained by the National Park Service and remains much as it did when it was built by Mary and John T McMurran. It was built in the Greek revival style with Doric columns and railings at the front entrance.

Visitors will be able to see the many grandiose features including 36 solid cypress original doors, which were hand painted to look like white oak leading them to be named as "faux bois'' or "false wood.'' There are also 10 Italian marble fireplaces, rare French gilt mirrors and French zuber wallpaper, which is made from original wood blocks carved in 1843. Visitors will also find Cornelius bronze and brass lighting fixtures and chandeliers from Philadelphia as well as rosewood furniture.

Round the back of the house there are still original structures such as the two storied kitchen and dairy buildings, latticed octagonal cistern houses, a smoke house, a privy, slave quarters, a barn and a carriage house. The guided tours provide an interesting insight into the lifestyle of wealthy people and their slaves in the American South before the Civil War. It also highlights the French influence on the city with the furnishings housed at Melrose.

Only the first floor of Melrose is wheelchair accessible via a wheelchair lift, buta video tour of the second floor is available at the visitors' center. Assisted listening devises are available for hearing impaired visitors as well as a tactile exhibit of the house. Accessibility parking is available in the main parking lot.

Another house owned by the Natchez National Historical Park is William Johnson House on State Street. Johnson was a free black barber in the city, who used bricks from buildings destroyed in the tornado of 1840 to build the house. A tour of this house will give visitors an understanding of the life of free African-Americans in the pre-Civil War South, as well as learning about Johnson's diary from 1835 to 1851 detailing life in Natchez.

Melrose is just one of several mansions tourists can visit as part of the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, with trips to Rosalie, Longwood and Stanton Hall amongst others available to book at the visitor's center in S. Canal Street. Just two miles away is the First Presbyterian Church and Stratton Chapel Gallery, where many photographs of the city dating back to the mid 19th century can be viewed. Visitors looking for places to eat will find South China Restaurant and Edna's Cake Creations about one mile from Melrose.

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