Sketches & Engravings

Early Natchez: 1854 River Scene

This post is the second part of a short series of items from the collection related to the early days of Natchez, one of the early settlements in Mississippi and the center of government and society during the territorial years (1798-1817) and early days of statehood.

Natchez, 1854. Call Number: PI/1989.0001.1 (MDAH Collection)
Natchez, 1854. Call Number: PI/1989.0001 (MDAH Collection)

This 1854 engraving shows Natchez from the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River. Notice the steamboat traffic on the river and buildings in Natchez “Under-the-Hill.” Describing it as a “colorful, ribald old river port” one writer said:

There were times when flatboats were tied to its banks 14 deep in a stretch two miles long. Ships from Liverpool and other foreign ports came to its wharfs. All that remains is a single desolate street and a few moldy buildings; year by year the river eats away the soft rockless land.[1]

This was written in 1938, because now things couldn’t be more different–Natchez “Under-the-Hill” is a popular tourist spot that is proud of its colorful past.[2] 

Holiday Closing

All MDAH offices will be closed on Monday, January 17, 2011 in observance of the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 8:00 a.m.

[1] Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration, Mississippi: A Guide to the Magnolia State, The American Guide Series (New York: The Viking Press, 1938), 244.

[2] Natchez Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, “Natchez Under-the-Hill,” (accessed December 16, 2010).