Van Dorn's plan of Jackson

Original Plan of Jackson. Call Number: MA/2003.0101(b) MDAH Collection

Before statehood in 1817, Mississippi’s capital had at various times been at Natchez, Washington, and Columbia. A commission was appointed by the legislature in Februrary 1821 to find a more central location for the seat of state government. On November 20, 1821 the Mississippi legislature heard their report: the site the commissioners chose was called Le Fleur’s Bluff, on the Pearl River. It was named after Louis Le Fleur, a trader in the area, who was also the father of Greenwood Leflore. The legislature named the new town Jackson, after General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), the hero of the War of 1812.

Pictured above is the original plan of Jackson, drawn by Peter Van Dorn in 1822. Van Dorn based his plan on the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, leaving alternate blocks on the grid as undeveloped woodland, so that all developed blocks faced woods on each side. These lots were later sold to finance the construction of the Old Capitol in the 1830s.

Source: John Ray Skates, Mississippi’s Old Capitol: Biography of a Building (Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1990), 8-17.