Springtime in Mississippi is definitely an enchanted season - azaleas and wisteria put on their showy colors of purple, white, and crimson while the warm air is lightly permeated with the delicate scent of fragrant jasmine. Springtime also means pilgrimage in Mississippi. It is during this special season that many of the state’s historical towns and their homeowners show genuine Southern hospitality as they open their majestic historic homes to the world.
One such Mississippi event is Aberdeen’s Southern Heritage Pilgrimage. This year the 33rd annual pilgrimage in Aberdeen, located on the Tombigbee in neighboring Monroe County downriver from Fulton, will be April 4-6.
Well before the Civil War, Aberdeen became one of the busiest ports in the state where upland cotton was shipped downriver to Mobile. Most all of Itawamba County’s cotton was shipped from Van Buren, Cardsville and Ironwood Bluff to nearby Aberdeen on flatboats, eventually destined for the Mobile cotton market.
Founded in 1835 by Robert Gordon and chartered in 1837, the city of Aberdeen boasts an abundant eclectic collection of historic properties. This year’s pilgrimage will feature nine of those beautiful historic homes including Lenoir Cottage. Holliday Haven (1850), Bella Vida (1879), Harrison-Phelan House (1839), Sanders Place, Miss Quilla (1897), The Old Homestead (1852), The Magnolias (1850) and Painted Lady (1885).
Numerous events take place in Aberdeen during pilgrimage weekend including quaint carriage rides, a proper afternoon tea at beautiful Greenleaves, the Pilgrimage Tea Room Luncheon, a pancake breakfast, a 5K Run/Walk, historic cemetery tours, the Aberdeen Antiques Symposium and the unique and entertaining comedy “Life in a Small Southern Town” at the historic Elkin Theatre in downtown Aberdeen.
Take time to discover beautiful historic Aberdeen on the Tombigbee during pilgrimage season this spring. For detailed information about the 2008 Aberdeen Pilgrimage, including ticket information, special events, and detailed information about the featured houses, visit the Aberdeen Pilgrimage website.
About the Photographs
Built in 1850 by planter, Dr. William Alfred Sykes, The Magnolias (top) is an excellent example of late antebellum townhouses built in the Upper Tombigbee region.
The "crown jewel" of the many elaborate Victorian mansions which once lined Aberdeen's Silk Stocking Avenue, Bella Vida (bottom) has survived to reign supreme on Franklin Street.
Photographs used with permission from the Aberdeen Visitors Bureau.