Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jackson, Mississippi

Mon, April 11th - Thur, April 14th

Last Monday was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, just a little trivia. The State Capitol erected on the site of the old penitentiary in 1903 at a cost of $1 million, was renovated in 1982 for $19 million.

View of the interior. There are lights framing all the archways and trim. It is quite beautiful.

We toured the Governor's Mansion which was designed by the same man who designed the Capitol. It was first occupied in 1842 and is the second oldest continuously occupied governors residence in the United States. No, I don't know which one is the oldest, but I'm sure we will get there eventually. JFK slept here while he was campaigning for president. Sherman and his officers celebrated here after the surrender of Vicksburg. The King and Queen of the Netherlands and Spain dined here, and even The Terminator himself has dined here.

This is City Hall with a statue of Andrew Jackson out front. There are beautiful gardens and fountains, which had pink water this week in honor of breast cancer awareness. It is one of the few buildings to have survived the three burnings of the city during the war, which gave the city the nickname of Chimneyville. It was built in 1846-47 of handmade brick by slave labor for $7,505.58.

The Old Capitol Museum was the Capitol from 1839 to 1903. When the new Capitol opened it was state offices until 1961 when it became the State Historical Museum. In 2005 it was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina and reopened again in 2009 as a museum to itself and it's history.

It was built of brick, but covered with stucco that was scored to look like stone. The back faced a swamp and was not considered important, so it was left bare.

These figures in the senate chamber debated some of the historically important bills, with the spotlight on whoever was talking. It was kind of fun to watch. Mississippi was the second state to secede with a vote of 84 to 15. Their state flag was made in 1894 with the left half very much resembing the confederate flag. They did not ratify the U.S. constitutional ban on slavery until 1968.

There are lots of these historical markers around town with the magnolia on top for the Magnolia State. But this one is in the museum, I think because it refers to the Constitutional Convention of 1868 as the Black and Tan Convention.

On one side of the museum is the Confederate Monument Park. The monument was put up in 1891 after the death of Jefferson Davis with a private on top standing watch and Davis inside the bottom. The plaque says, "God and our consciences alone, Give us measures of right and wrong. The race may fall unto the swift, And the battle to the strong; But the truth will shine in history, And blossom into song. The men to whom this monument is dedicated were the martyrs of their creed; their justifcation is in the Holy keeping of the God of History."

On the other side is another war memorial with this inscription inside. "Home to God who made their soldiers heart beat with selfless zeal to right satanic wrong; How sweet must be the peace the heroes find, when crusade ended, death has borne them home."

Statue of Medgar Evers at the public library near his home. We also drove by his home, where someone waited at the end of his block, and when he came out to go to work, assasinated him in 1963.

Home of Eudora Welty, one of the most acclaimed authors of the 20th century. She wrote novels and short stories about a bygone era of American life in the south. She won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, some French writer's award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Optimists daughter. I had never heard of her. We just decided to go when John noticed that is was free if the 13th fell on a day they were open. As it turned out, April 13th happened to be her birthday and they were serving cake and lemonade in the garden, which was huge and beautiful and restored to how her mother had it in 1925. Now that I have read some excerpts from her books, I am anxious to read some of them. Her name and image has appeared in settings such as The Simpsons, West Wing, Jeopardy and cartooons. Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote a book and a song based on one of her stories, plus other plays and films have been made based on her stories. This was a really nice tour. If you are a fan of hers, it is a must see.

Back at our beautiful and peaceful campground.

We are camped at Le Fleur State Campground which is right in the middle of the city of Jackson, but you would never know it. We are surrounded by the lake, woods, bogs or bayous or whatever they are called, and the boat launch for the river is just a few hundred yards away.

There are lots of nature trails and we have been doing a lot of hiking. The restrooms are built up high for when the floods come, but they are very nice with showers and even a washer and dryer.

This shows how the kudzu or vines wrap around the trees and eventually can kill the tree. They will even completely cover a house in a years time, if you don't keep cutting them back.

I stopped to take a picture of these turtles and must have startled them. About 30 of them dove in the water simultaneously. I stood there and watched for a minute and they all started climbing back up on the log, one by one. I counted over 40 on one of my pictures and I'm sure I didn't get them all on there.

I love it when I can get cool photos of animals. I wish my grandkids were here to see them with me.

Lucky shot!

View of the river. It's so pretty here. Moving on to Tupelo tomorrow to see the "King's" birthplace and childhood home.

Just breezin by the bayous.


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