Walt's Look Around: Windsor - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Windsor

The iconic ruin Windsor has been seen in everything from Eudora Welty photographs to Elizabeth Taylor movies. But what you haven't been able to see for over a dozen years is Windsor from the road. Well, now you can. And that's where we're going.

Back in 1957 they brought the iron steps back to Windsor from where they are now, at the Chapel on the campus of Alcorn State University to shoot scenes of the movie Raintree County.  Some of the shots in the movie where Montgomery Cliff and Elizabeth Taylor are riding in a horse drawn carriage up to the Windsor ruins show how open the area used to be.

But more recently, with the exception of the acre where the old home stood and the road leading up to it, the rest of it has been covered in a pine tree forest for years and years, long enough that a lot of people don't even realize that you used to be able to see the old ruin from a distance, like this, from far enough away that the columns seem to be growing up from the ground as natural as the trees around them.  

Well, the state owns the land where the tree farm used to be and operates it as the Cainmount Wildlife Management Area now, and they took down the pines between the road and the ruins to let visitors get a more unobstructed view of Windsor.  

This has always been my favorite time of year to head into the bluffs around the Windsor ruins. The hollows are full of dogwood about now. And the roads always lead to mystery and mysterious places.

Way back in the bluffs is the all but deserted town of Rodney. But recently another movie paid a visit there and did some repair on the old Baptist church for the James Brown story.  

Way on down south, all the way down to Wilkinson County just east of Woodville are more ruins. Not as extensive as Windsor. There are just three columns left standing of the old home Bowling Green.

It was burned by the Union Army during the Civil War. I can't figure out why. This was no strategic military area. There were just mostly old folks left at the old home places and in the towns, like Jackson, which was also burned. Twice. Ah, but it gives us something 150 years later to still talk about.

Windsor, by the way wasn't burned by the Yankees, but some 30 years after the Civil War a party guest accidentally caused the fire that made it more or less what you see here today.  

And as you traipse through the bluffs and the hollows looking for spring, make sure you look off to the south and east of Old Rodney Road out west of Port Gibson and see a sight you haven't been able to see in a long time, Windsor once again taking its place, standing out from the woods instead of being smothered by them.

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