Clio Logo
Duncan Park is a public park in the heart of Natchez, Mississippi that is rich with history. It consists of 213 acres, and was donated to the city of Natchez by the heirs of Stephen Duncan, Jr., the son of Dr. Stephen A Duncan, along with the family home, Auburn. The land and home were donated with the stipulation that the two must stay together and become public park in memory of the Duncan family. Duncan Park consists of walking trails, nature trails, various sports fields, playgrounds, and a historic train display, for the people of Natchez to enjoy.

An entry to Duncan Park

Flower, Spring, Pink, Plant

Historic Train Display

Property, Real estate, House, Land lot

Auburn: The Home of Stephen A. Duncan and his Family

Building, Property, Estate, House

Duncan Park is historically named after its second owner, Dr. Stephen A. Duncan, of Natchez, Mississippi. Duncan was one of the largest and wealthiest slave owning planters of the Antebellum South, and he purchased Auburn and the surrounding 222 acres, which would later become Duncan Park, with his second wife, Catherine, around 1821. Auburn was the first mansion to be built in Natchez, completed in 1812, for the attorney Lyman Harding, and is known for its unique and romantic architecture. It was inherited by Duncan's son, Stephen Duncan Jr., who lived there off an on until his death in 1910.

When Stephen Duncan, Jr. died, his heirs decided to donate Auburn and the adjacent lands totaling and completing the 213 acres of Duncan Park today. The heirs of Stephen Duncan donated the house and all of its furnishings to the city of Natchez, with the stipulation that the land be used a public park in memory of the Duncan family. They also requested that the land and the house stay together. The city decided to sell all of furnishings of the house in order to manage it with the property.

The Duncan family was heavily involved in the community of Natchez and its development. Dr. Stephen Duncan's philanthropic efforts of institution building resulted in the campaign to build Trinity Episcopal Church in the 1820s. He also lobbied the federal government to donate land to Oakland College, and served as a trustee for Jefferson College from 1830 to 1840.

The city of Natchez honored the wishes of the Duncan family, and remolded the upstairs of Auburn into an apartment for the caretaker of the park. The bottom floor of the house remained virtually empty, and became a playhouse for the children who visited the park. Later, the Garden Club leased Auburn from the city of Natchez in order to generate income for the house and the park. The Auburn Garden club offered tours and a bed in breakfast in order to generate income to buy the original furnishings of Auburn, and to bring awareness and preservation to the history of Auburn and Duncan Park.

Today, Duncan Park offers facilities for the use of Natchez's public and historical monuments to educate patrons. It consists of nature and walking trails, two open air pavilions, two volleyball courts, three lighted youth baseball fields, eight lighted tennis courts, three playgrounds, and a historic train display. This monument displays a Shay locomotive engine that is one of the thirteen surviving locomotive engines in Mississippi. The locomotive was used by C. and R. Lumber company, and was sold to Crosby Lumber and Manufacturing Company in 1935 and later retired in1958. Crosby Lumber donated the locomotive to the City of Natchez, where it was put on display in Duncan Park in 1965. The monument is safely enjoyed by children and patrons of Duncan park from afar.

Duncan Park is a public space enjoyed by the citizens of Natchez, Mississippi. Its facilities and historic monuments such as the Shays train locomotive, and the Auburn Antebellum home offer learning experiences for the youth and people of Natchez, mirroring how its owner and namesake, Dr. Stephen Duncan, developed educational opportunities and public institutions. The park informs patrons of its local history and provides a space for public enjoyment.

Brazy, Martha Jane. “Stephen Duncan (1787-1867) Planter and Banker,” The Mississippi Encyclopedia, July 10, 2017.

Brazy, Martha Jane. An American Planter: Stephen Duncan of Antebellum Natchez and New York. Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.

Carpenter, Mary Katherine. "Fence around Duncan Park train falls during storm." The Natchez Democrat (Natchez, Miss.) July 28, 2015.

Facilities: Duncan Park, The Historic City of Natchez. Accessed November 27, 2020.

“Lima Locomotive Works, Inc.” 115 Known Surviving Shays, 2013, 

Image Sources(Click to expand)