Mississippi State

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Historic Sites
Tourist Attractions

Historic Sites

Natchez National Historical Park
Natchez National Historical Park celebrates the history of Natchez, Mississippi and interprets the pivotal role the city played in the settlement of the old southwest, the Cotton Kingdom, and the Antebellum South. The park is made up of three units. Fort Rosalie is the location of an 18th Century fortification built by the French and occupied by the British, Spanish and Americans. The William Johnson House was a house and business owned by William Johnson, a free black man, whose diary tells the story of everyday life in antebellum Natchez. Melrose was the estate of the John T. McMurran who rose from being a middle class lawyer to a position of wealth and power in antebellum Natchez. Melrose is the only unit currently open to the public. For information call: (601)442-7047

Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park was established on February 21, 1899, to commemorate one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War, the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg. The Vicksburg campaign was waged from March 29 to July 4, 1863. It included battles in west-central Mississippi at: Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Big Black River and 47 days of Union siege operations against the city of Vicksburg. Located high on the bluffs, Vicksburg was a fortress guarding the Mississippi River. It was known as "The Gibraltar of the Confederacy." Its surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South, and gave the North undisputed control of the Mississippi River. Today, the battlefield at Vicksburg is in an excellent state of preservation. It includes over 1,300 monuments and markers, reconstructed trenches and earthworks, one antebellum structure, over 125 emplaced cannon, restored Union gunboat, USS Cairo, and the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Like most Civil War areas, Vicksburg National Military Park exists as a lasting memorial to the soldiers and civilians that suffered through the widespread tragedy and conflict of the Civil War. It is a vivid legacy of America's past, a place where students can learn and individuals reflect upon the dramatic events that shaped a young and developing nation. Orientation to the park begins at the park visitor center with an 18 minute film. Visitors can then drive the historic 16 mile tour road through Union and Confederate siege lines. Halfway through the park, visitors get a close-up view of the Union gunboat, the USS Cairo. The 175 foot long ironclad was sunk on December 12, 1862, by underwater Confederate mines just North of Vicksburg in the Yazoo River. Raised in 1964, the restored city class gunboat offers visitors a unique opportunity to view original cannons, cannon carriages, engines, boilers and pilot house, via a reconstructed gundeck. The nearby USS Cairo Museum houses a variety of military and personal artifacts, which were recovered with the Cairo during its salvage operation. Adjacent to the USS Cairo is the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Established in 1866, it contains in excess of 18,000 graves, of which over 12,000 are unknown. Soldiers from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War are interred here. For information call: (601)636-0583

Tupelo National Battlefield
Here, on July 13-14, 1864, Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest tried to cut the railroad supplying the Unions march on Atlanta. Established as a national battlefield site Feb. 21, 1929; transferred from War Dept. Aug. 10, 1933; changed to national battlefield and boundary changed Aug. 10, 1961. The Battle of Tupelo, which was a part of a larger strategy by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to protect the railroad that was his supply line, broke out on July 14, 1864, when Federal troops under Gen. A.J. Smith battled Confederates under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Both sides also battled the heat that ultimately forced the Federal retreat. Tupelo National Battlefield was estqablished as a national battlefield site on February 21, 1929. It was transferred from the War Department Aug. 10, 1933, and changed to a national battlefield Aug. 10, 1961. For information call: (601)680-4025

Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
The Confederate cavalry was employed with extraordinary skill here during the battle of June 10, 1864. The site commemorates a battle initiated by Union forces to keep Confederate troops from disrupting Union supply routes. For information call: (601)680-4025

Tourist Attractions

National Historic Landmark home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. 52 acre seaside estate includes restored c. 1851 home and outbuildings, two museums, cemetery, and nature trails. For information call: (228)388-9074

Jackson Zoological Park
For more than three generations, The Jackson Zoo has been Mississippi's "Window to the Wild". The Jackson Zoo's Purpose is, quite simply, to foster a compassionate understanding of our relationship with the living world. For information call: (601)352-2582

Elvis Presley Birthplace
Perhaps the most significant landmark of Tupelo's modern history is a modest, two-room house where the King of Rock & Roll was born on Jan. 8, 1935. From this humble beginning, Elvis Presley began his meteoric rise to become the world's most popular entertainer. The Elvis Presley Birthplace is part of the Elvis Presley Center and has been restored to the period before the singer's family's move to Memphis. The center includes the Elvis Presley Museum, Memorial Chapel and Elvis Presley Park, which offers complete recreation facilities for picnics and community events. The home was built by Elvis's father, Vernon Presley, for $180 borrowed for materials. Even after achieving worldwide fame, Elvis occasionally returned to the house to revisit his humble origins. The museum houses a unique collection of long-hidden treasures from Elvis's early life as well as his illustrious career. Themed "Times and Things Remembered," the museum contains hundreds of articles of clothing and personal mementos such as motorcycle boots and a jumpsuit from Elvis's Las Vegas act. For information call: (601)841-1245

Marine Life Oceanarium
Open year round, features high jumping dolphin shows, hilarious sea lion skits and amazing exotic birds. Watch underwater divers feed giant sea turtles, take a 15 minute ride on the Harbor Tour Train and have your picture taken kissing a sea lion. For information call: (228)863-0651

Mississippi Petrified Forest
Located north of Jackson off I-55 N, the existence of this Petrified Forest has been known since the middle 1800's, but only within the past three decades has it been developed and opened for the public. Expert research during this time has brought forth a wealth of facts and features about the forest. The many points of interest are viewed from an easy walking nature trail about 6 blocks long. A printed trail guide explains each feature and point of interest. In 1966 the forest was declared a Registered National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service as possessing exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the United States. For information call: (601)879-8189