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Mount Locust: Historic Inn on the Trace     

At milepost 15.5 on the Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the most significant historic sites in Mississippi. Originally constructed as an inn or "stand" on the historic Natchez Trace, Mount Locust offers visitors a chance to step back through time to the days when the "Kaintucks" used the old Trace as a primary route of transportation.

The historic home, now maintained and preserved by the National Park Service, was begun in 1780 by an early settler named John Blommart. The leader of a failed rebellion against the Spanish, who then controlled the Mississippi Valley, Blommart lost the home and the rest of his fortune. It was then taken over by his former business partner, who carved a plantation from the wilderness and made Mount Locust a fixture for travelers on the Natchez Trace.

In the early days of American expansion, farmers and other entrepreneurs carried their products down the Mississippi River on flatboats. Although they were from places besides Kentucky, these individuals became known as "Kaintucks." After selling their goods in New Orleans and Natchez, they would walk or ride horses back home via the Natchez Trace, which connected Natchez with Nashville.

Mount Locust lay about a day's walk from Natchez, and so developed as a popular "stand" on the historic road. Travelers would stop here for a meal and lodging, readily available for a price of 25 cents.

The development of steamboats soon brought most traffic on the Trace to an end. The paddlewheel boats could travel up the Mississippi as well as down, enabling travelers to get back home easily by water. Foot travel on the Natchez Trace had all but ended by 1825, but Mount Locust remained in operation first as an inn and finally as the center of a prosperous cotton plantation. Five generations of the Chamberlain family lived in the house, the last leaving in 1944.

The National Park Service acquired the Mount Locust property at the time of the creation of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The historic home has been restored to its 1820 appearance and walking paths lead through the grounds past such historic sites as the brick kiln, family cemetery, slave cemetery and sites of plantation structures such as the slave quarters and overseer's house.

The National Park Service uses the site to interpret life along the old Trace for both white travelers and enslaved African American laborers.

Located at milepost 15.5 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, Mount Locust is open to visitors every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from February through November. Admission is free and rangers are available on the grounds to provide information. There are restrooms, exhibits, an information center and a bookstore on the grounds and the walkway to the historic home is wheelchair accessible.

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