Sorry for my lack of posting this past week but as you know if you follow my blog, we took a week off for a leisurely trip to some of the oldest and most interesting cities in the south. I took LOTS of pictures and it will take 2-3 postings to give you an idea of all we took in so get ready for a lot of pictures!
We started out last Saturday traveling west out of Montgomery toward Vicksburg, MS. Traveling down Highway 80 West brought back a lot of memories as I spent many years in Lowndes County, Alabama. (Last spring mama and I took a little day trip to see some of the beautiful old antebellum homes I grew up around. You can see some of those homes here). We crossed the Edmund Pettus bridge which takes you to downtown Selma, Alabama. This bridge was made famous during the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. I had a front row view of that march and many other historic moments during the civil rights movement.
We arrived in Vicksburg late in the day on February 13th. We were tired so we rested up for the next day. Thanks to Janie’s suggestions, we ate lunch at Walnut Hills for Valentine’s Day.
You could eat at the “round table” which put you sitting at a huge round table with a lazy susan in the middle laden down with all sorts of fabulous southern foods. We chose to eat at a table for two but it would have been fun to meet all those “strangers”….
My mom had a table just like this big round one she bought many years ago in North Carolina. It was sold in her estate sale as no one had room for it but our family celebrated many good times around that old table.
I had fried chicken, rice and gravy, black eyed peas and asparagus wrapped with bacon plus corn bread….my kind of eating!
After stuffing ourselves, we drove around downtown Vicksburg to get a feel for the place. Being a Sunday and Valentine’s Day, a lot of places were closed.
As you can see, there was still some snow on the ground….a very rare sight here in the deep South!
Our first stop was the historic mansion Anchuca. It was not open to the public on Sunday as they were hosting a private Valentine’s Day luncheon but we did come back the next day and you will see those pictures later. Here are a few photos I snapped of the outside and the grounds which were spectacular.
Everywhere you looked were these wonderful old homes with unbelievable ironwork.
This spooky old building sat on the bluff above the river. The mighty Mississippi River flows through Vicksburg and as I found out there and in Natchez, it is referred to as just “the river, always the river”….the lifeblood of those cities.
Look at these tree roots!
The old courthouse in downtown Vicksburg. It now houses a wonderful civil war collection.
We found Cedar Grove open and were fortunate enough to be the only ones touring it that day. We were given a brochure of information and were told to just tour to our hearts content which we did. I think this was my favorite place to see. Here’s a picture I took from the side of the property as the front sat up so high on a bluff it was hard to get a picture from the street.
I can’t find the brochure we were given and I hope I didn’t throw it away because it was a wonderful tool to use while touring the home. So I went to the Cedar Grove website to get some history of the home to share with you.
“Once upon a time in the land of cotton, there lived a planter and a businessman by the name of John Alexander Klein. Being a shrewd young man, he diversified his wealth in the fields of banking, lumber and cotton until he could afford a wife and a family. Elizabeth Bartley Day came to New Orleans to visit relatives. The young girl's face never left his mind.
He began the Greek Revival style mansion we know as Cedar Grove in 1840 while he waited patiently for Elizabeth to mature into the beautiful young woman he wanted to grace both his arm and his home. In 1842, he married Elizabeth. She was 16, he was 30.
Then off to Europe for a year-long honeymoon. While there, Klein bought many of the furnishings we now find at Cedar Grove like the Italian marble fireplaces, French empire gasoliers, Bohemian glass for the doorway, towering gold leaf mirrors, exquisite clocks and paintings that adorn the mansion. In New Orleans, they commissioned Prudent Mallard to make several pieces of furniture. The best example of his work can be found in the Grant Room. When the young couple returned to Vicksburg, they lived in the poolside cottage as the beautiful and elegant Cedar Grove developed underneath the skilled hands of many craftsmen. In 1852, Cedar Grove was finished.
Then the War came and Cedar Grove experienced bombardment by cannon. A cannon ball is still lodged in the parlor wall. Mrs. Klein experienced rejection in Vicksburg due to her family ties to General William T. Sherman.
The Kleins survived the War with their house in tact mainly because it had been used as a Union hospital. Many of the furnishings are original to the house.”
Interestingly, there is a Klein family jewelry store here in Montgomery. I bet they are related to the Kleins in Vicksburg!
Here are just a few of the photos I took inside the home.
The original gasoliers in the home have been converted to electricity.
Standing in the back of the massive hallway looking toward the front door. The red over the door was a sign of wealth during this time as well as a method to conduct heat into the home during the colder months.
We were told this was Elizabeth’s favorite tea set on her wicker tea cart she used every morning in the sunroom.
View from upper veranda….look at that gorgeous ironwork! And you can see the “River” beyond…..
In the ballroom is this old piano that is considered to be very rare and now valued at an estimated $1.3 million!
Calling card for Mr. and Mrs. Klein for a fancy mask party on May 7, 1878!
All of the moulding in the home is original to the mansion.
A cannonball fired from a Union ship on the Mississippi through the front door which has been repaired…..
In the floor of the same room is another cannonball lodged in the floorboards.
Dining room set with some of the original family silver and china
Every place setting had a different napkin holder for each family member. Apparently, the linens were not washed as regularly as we wash ours now so each family member would place their napkin in their napkin holder at the end of each meal to try and prevent germs being passed around.
Gorgeous soup tureen on the sideboard.
Look at this domed silver server…..it was huge!
Gorgeous silver chargers!
While the lives of this family was lived out in much splendor, it was a sad fact that many children died early in life. This was the original burial site of 5 of the Klein children whose bodies were eventually moved to another cemetery after the property passed out of the Klein family.
Standing at the back of the property looking toward the rear of Cedar Bluff….
Don’t forget to come back for my next post where we will see the hauntingly beautiful Windsor Ruins in Port Gibson.