Four Things You’ll Love at Lorman, Mississippi

September 21, 2011 · 0 comments

in The Natchez Trace Parkway

Lorman, MS, is not a tourist destination. You have to have a reason to go there. Our reason, as always was to discover things to amuse and enlighten … and we did! In fact we found four.

Lots of treasures are found in out-of-the-way places.

I found some things around Lorman, MS that you will enjoy. Not many people go to the internet to look for things to do in Lorman, Mississippi. Lots of folks pass through here, that’s all most of them do. If you have a bit of a bug for highly interesting events, places and things from the past … this is a great place to start. There are lots of treasures found in out of the way places. You have to get off the main road to visit these places, but that is what a road trip is all about, isn’t it?

We were on our way to Natchez, MS and began our journey down the amazing Natchez Trace Parkway. When we came to Port Gibson, MS we left the trace to travel south on US Hwy 61. This old roadway spans the western half of Mississippi from Memphis through Clarksdale, Vicksburg, Natchez and other smaller towns, then continues through Baton Rouge, LA and on into New Orleans, LA.

One of the places I want you to see is a very old town (almost ghost town) called Rodney, Mississippi. You will probably need these directions to find Rodney, MS since it is no longer on many maps. But in the robust, ribald days of River Boat lore a thriving community was established here.

Travel south on US HWY 61 toward Lorman, MS. Turn west on MS Hwy 552. Pass under The Natchez Trace Parkway and take your 2nd left. You will be on Firetower Road. Ignore the two small roads which turn left, but at the 3rd choice … keep to the right. This is Rodney Road and it will take you into the nearly extinct town of Rodney incorporated in 1828. It was noted for its high level of culture, county fairs and business activity. The city once had two banks, two newspapers and 500 people and 35 stores adding to these its riverboat taverns and high rate of literacy: Rodney was an attractive town.

See the Cannonball above the door?

The old town of Rodney is situated 2 miles east of the mighty Mississippi River. During the Civil War, during an attack on the town, a cannon ball stuck the Rodney Presbyterian Church just above the upper windows in the front of the building. The church was shelled by the Federal Gunboat “Rattler” from 2 miles away on the Mississippi River, because some Federal sailors were captured while attending Sunday services on Sept 13, 1863. This church was dedicated in 1832.

A change in the river channel and a disastrous fire led to the decline of the town shortly after the Civil War.

Laurel Hills Plantation is located near Rodney. Directions to this beautiful Antebellum private home are given on a Legend Board on the grounds of the Rodney Presbyterian Church. Locations of other interesting sites are noted on markers on the church grounds. You can find most points of interest in and around Rodney, MS by beginning at this site and following directions given. Rodney is included with the tour of the Windsor Mansion.

Services have been discontinued for years, but the church is still well maintained and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. There is an old cemetery behind the church which has some ancient graves and historical markers that tell the story of this fascinating place which once was home to a thriving community. The floods of 2011 destroyed at least one of the old buildings which was still standing the last time I visited Rodney. The water rose to the top step at the church entrance. Rodney, MS is a highly recommended historical site.

Retrace the path you followed to enter Rodney until you reach the Natchez Trace Parkway. Turn south on the Parkway until you reach MS Hwy 553. Turn south on Hwy 553 and continue about 3 miles to Church Hill, MS.

Church Hill Church - Church Hill, MS

Church Hill, MS  is home to one of the oldest churches in the country. It is named for Christ Church the oldest Episcopal Organization in the state. This old Episcopal Church which was formed in the 1790’s, became a parish in 1820. It was sometimes called “Maryland Settlement.” An interesting feature of this church: it  is  completely surrounded by the cemetery. There are literally grave markers on both sides of the sidewalk leading into the building. We were not able to enter the building, but the architecture of this church is unlike any I have ever seen.

Due to driving time, these four sites will occupy the major part of a day trip. Convenience stores are not to be found so be sure you carry some water, drinks and possibly snacks. We managed to do without the snacks because we timed our arrival at the Old Country Store for dinner time. But you will still need some bottled water as a minimum. Be sure to have a camera. All these sites are photo friendly, so don’t regret being able to carry some of these memories with you to share with others.

Rosswood Plantation, now operates as a Bed and Breakfast. It is located 2 miles east of Hwy 61 on MS Route 552. The road is paved and the beautiful, towering antebellum home is impossible to miss. Enter Rosswood by its long un-paved driveway to this authentic 1857 Southern Mansion. As you enter you see the beautiful hedge and brick fence with columns which frame the sidewalk and driveway. Four Beautiful columns reach from the large front porch to the top of the equally large porch on the second story. Three chimneys rise above the roof structure. This old home has all the marks of plantation homes built before the Civil War.

The house was built by David Shroder, architect. An unusual item in this home is the gold-leaf signature marker above the front door in the interior of the house. The house has been fully restored and furnished with fine antiques. The furniture and furnishings of this home were gathered from all over the world by the present owners and are themselves worth the $10 admission price for a tour.

Rosswood Plantation was built as the big house on a cotton plantation. Records and diaries show what plantation life was like. The original owner of this plantation  freed his slaves before and during the war between the states. In his estate he provided money to pay their passage back to Africa, but none of the slaves accepted the offer.

This house was not under direct fire during the civil war, but on one occasion a cannon ball destroyed the kitchen and the home was taken to serve as a hospital which treated soldiers from both sides. A swimming pool now occupies the spot where the kitchen that was destroyed by the cannon ball once stood. Rosswood Plantation is open daily for tours from March to December and is also a highly attractive Bed and Breakfast.

Just south of Lorman at 18801 Highway 61 South,  stands the Old Country Store. This store operated as an old time general store until some time in the 1900’s. The Painted Grocery and Dry Goods signs on the store front once purveyed the goods on sale inside. Several years ago Arthur Davis came from Florida to go deer hunting in the surrounding wilderness area, he fell in love with the area and never returned to Florida. He bought this old store and installed an Old Country Buffet inside the Old Country Store. The inside of the store is filled with antiques and early american items which are for sale, but outside of telling you “everything in the building is for sale, including the building,” there is no pressure to by anything.

This restaurant/store has a pleasant atmosphere. Mr Davis sings a song for the diners … “my Mama was a corn-bread cooking queen.” I’m sure he made up the lyrics. The buffet features a variety of true deep-south items and the selections change … when they want to change. The feature item on the buffet is fried chicken. It is delicious. Arthur calls himself ‘Chef boy Art D.” Mr D says, “If Colonel Sanders would have had my chicken recipe, he would have been a 5 star general.” Don’t pass up the fruit cobbler when desert time comes around. Everything here is ‘fit to eat.’

This is all I have time for right now. But while I’m parked you keep rolling up the miles and dialing up the smiles.

Until next time,

Bill Taylor

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