Memories of the Past: Ruins of
Windsor near Port Gibson, MS
Twenty-three fluted columns are all that remain of Windsor Plantation, built in 1861 and once the largest plantation mansion in Mississippi.
Mark Twain reportedly stayed here and ventured to the home’s roof observatory to view the Mississippi River.
During the War Between the States (Civil War), the mansion was used by both Union and Confederate soldiers.
But although the mansion survived the war, it was destroyed by fire on Feb. 17, 1890.
The fire was reportedly started when a lighted cigar was accidentally left on a balcony (or, as another story goes, when a cigarette left by carpenters working on the third floor ignited some wood chips).
The family was planning a dinner party that evening and saw the flames coming from the rooftop as they were returning from town.
It was too late to save Windsor, though.
Today, nothing remains except the mansion's 23 fluted columns – used as an eerie setting for the 1957-era Raintree County, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
Forty years later, Windsor's columns were also a backdrop in the movie, Ghosts of Mississippi, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin and James Woods.
If you would like to visit Windsor, stop into the visitor center in Port Gibson, MS, for directions.
On our visit, we discovered that signage on some roadways in the region isn't that clear.
Still, it's definitely worth a trip from Port Gibson (about 15 miles away) to view Windsor's majestic towering columns.
For information about Port Gibson visit www.portgibsononthemississippi.com.