Port Gibson was famously called a city “too beautiful to burn” by Grant but unfortunately not much of that remains today. The small town is severely impoverished and there are number of perhaps once nice old homes shown in the tourist brochures that are now quite dilapidated. Still, it’s worth passing through to see the famous steeple or to go to some of the surrounding natural and historic sites around it. (2023)
I think most people discover Port Gibson while trying to visit the more famous columns at the Windsor Ruins nearby – the remains of a burned down antebellum mansion that unfortunately themselves are starting to get weathered and falling down.
Near Port Gibson are the remains of two ghost towns–cities that existed around the time of the Civil War but were later abandoned due to the ravages of war, disease, or weather. Grand Gulf was the site of a major battles along the banks of the Mississippi River. Though the town is now gone, there is a large military park with remnants of the battle like the mortar cannon seen here. Meanwhile, Rocky Springs was a thriving trade town until the land could no longer sustain farming and nothing but a few artifacts remain within the nature park around it. (Even the spring creek that my family used to go play in there when I was a child has pretty much dried up.)
Also at Port Gibson is the famous HBCU Alcorn State
The state of this sign is almost a perfect symbol of what it felt like visiting the town, a sense that there was once something quite beautiful and historic to see but now very obviously broken and neglected.