Two historic transportation routes are incorporated into this walking trail.
The concrete highway, ca. 1927, is generally the same route used by the Union army marching toward Raymond in May 1863. The bridge and highway, however, are more elevated and possibly a few feet to the west of the earlier roadway.
Another portion of the trail is the abandoned roadbed of the "Little J" railroad. Completed in 1882 between Natchez and Jackson, the Natchez, Jackson and Columbus Railroad invigorated small towns and created new ones along its route. As was typical of successful railroads of the day, it was purchased in 1890 by a larger railroad company, the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railroad, which was purchased in 1892 by the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, a subsidiary of the Illinois Central Railroad. It was always known locally, however, as the "Little J" because it was the only narrow-gauge ("little") railroad that entered Jackson ("J") when it was built.
(Upper Left Photo Caption)
A scene at the railroad station in Natchez in the early twentieth century.
(Lower Left Photo Caption)
As railroad construction increased, some routes or sections of routes were abandoned and others merged. This dramatic railroad cut through the Loess bluffs near Natchez would eventually be the route of the "Little J" into town.
(Center Right Photo Caption)
William T. Martin of Natchez, a former Confederate General, spearheaded the movement to building the Natchez, Jackson and Columbus Railroad.
(Right Photo Caption)
This locomotive, now in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, is the only survivor of the first railroad built to connect the river port at Natchez with the interior of the state. Known as the Natchez & Hamburg Railroad, it operated from 1837 to 1844.