National Geographic : 1949 Feb
p~ Century-old, Silk-damask Drapes Hang from Gold-leaf Cornices at The Burn Vegetable dyes gave to the rare carpeting its vivid shades of blue and red. During the War Between the States this Natchez mansion was turned into a hospital for Union soldiers. Now the Italian mirror (left), the Empire mirror (right) and cornices, and the Louis XV type chairs have helped restore The Burn to its former grandeur. The tours began in 1932. Each year owners who open their homes receive a percentage of the proceeds. In the lean years before World War II this addition to the meager incomes of many of the households actually saved historic landmarks from ruin. Accompanied by charming and well-informed Garden Club guides, I visited the houses and absorbed the lore of Natchez. King's Tavern is the oldest surviving build ing. No one knows just when it was built. Squat construction, ancient timbers, and loop holes on the upper floors suggest that it once may have been a blockhouse of Fort Rosalie. Richard King, an Englishman, acquired it as a tavern in 1789. For the past 130 years it has been the home of the Postlethwaite and Bledsoe families of Natchez. Among the household's prized possessions is a Benjamin West portrait of the early settler, Samuel Postlethwaite. Homes Recall Spanish Way of Life King's Tavern has a lurid past. It enter tained the rude backwoodsmen, flatboatmen, itinerant merchants, outlaws, and adventurers who traveled over the Natchez Trace. I saw a jeweled dagger which was found between two bricks of one of the old chimneys a few years ago, when workmen were repairing it.