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Saloon An International Landmark     

Once thieves, cutthroats, ladies-of-the-night and riverboat gamblers lurked in the shadows and trod the dusty streets. Up from the docks where the great river packets were tied they came – up Silver Street to the heart of the most notorious port on the river. Up from the river they came to the saloons and taverns seeking the pleasures these places provided – cheap whiskey, illicit love, or a winning hand at five-card stud...

Built in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s the building that now houses Under The Hill Saloon has experienced a lot of Natchez history. The date of its construction is unknown due to a courthouse fire that destroyed most of the records, but historic research shows it has been used as a brothel, bar, warehouse and general merchandise store.

Early settlers from the north would float their goods down the Mississippi River to be sold in Natchez or New Orleans. While a better price may be paid in New Orleans, Natchez was the beginning of the Natchez Trace, which most all of the travelers would use to go home. Therefore many flatboats loaded with goods were sold in Natchez rather than continuing on to New Orleans. Settlers that continued on still had to come back to Natchez for their return home, and it is estimated that only half of the flatboats went all the way to New Orleans.

New Orleans dock records from 1841 recorded that 2,792 flatboats docked there. So it is conceivable that there were about 15 flatboats arriving daily in Natchez. Depending on its size, some were 100 feet long and 20 feet wide, their crew could number 15-20 men per flatboat. If you take everything into consideration - flatboats coming down river to sell their goods and then the settlers coming up river to return home - there were hundreds if not thousands of people passing through Natchez on a daily basis.

Natchez was one of the chief resorts of these river men. When they arrived here they knew their journey was almost over and therefore they indulged in one last fling before entering the wilderness on their way home. Drinking, gambling and ladies of the night were readily available and the travelers were anxious to indulge them all.

Natchez was divided into two parts: the town on the bluff which was orderly and respectful where life and property were safe, and then there was the lower part along the river bank, or “Natchez Under The Hill” as it was called and it was the home of every vice imaginable. It was so bad during the Spanish days no boatmen were allowed to come on top of the bluff without special permission of the Spanish commandant.

Natchez Under The Hill had a rough and tumble time during the flatboat days with thousands of people passing through each year, but the numbers only increased with the arrival of the steamboats.

Now there is one place on Silver Street that is in business for YOUR pleasure and that is –UNDER THE HILL SALOON! You won’t find cheap whiskey, but you will find the beverage of your choice. You won’t find illicit love, but you may fall in love. There is no more gambling, but there’s always entertainment. Sometimes a rinky tink piano, or a jazz band will play. ”Pretzel” the chicken is usually on hand, and there are old photos, artifacts, riverboat models and river memorabilia to interest most anyone - or just sit and watch the river roll by...

Visit their web site.

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Under-The-Hill Saloon
25 Silver St Natchez
Natchez Little Theatre
319 Linton Ave Natchez

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