During a recent visit to Natchez, I had the pleasure of staying with a sweet couple named Randy and Helen Smith at their little cottage next to their home 18th century home called Texada, 222 S. Wall Street.
Texada was touted the oldest brick building in Natchez in an 1856 newspaper article. During Texada's history it has been a home, tavern, hotel and Territorial Legislative Hall. In 1810 an elephant could be seen in the courtyard of Texada for an admission of 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.
Texada served as Mississippi’s state capitol from 1817-20 when Natchez was the capital, before the state capital moved to Columbia, then Jackson. Texada is the earliest surviving state capitol since 1993, when Assembly Hall in Washington (also known as the Charles de France Tavern) territorial capitol during the 1800s and 1810s, burned.
And back to the Elephant Story...
An ad in the Natchez newspaper dated Jan. 15, 1810, claimed Mr. Texada was having a live elephant show in the courtyard of his house.
"Apparently the elephant that Mr. Texada was showing in 1810 was given some beer to drink or found some beer to drink, because now there's a law that it's illegal to have your drunken elephant on the street," Helen Smith said.
Keep that in mind next time you're in Natchez.