This is the Longwood Plantation. It is probably my very favorite plantation I've ever had the opportunity to visit. The layout and the design are beyond it's time. I must say that the architect, Samuel Sloan, was a mere genius.
The story behind the Longwood Plantation could have honestly been made into a movie. It's hard not to imagine the family and their circumstances while walking the property and house. The hardships that they endured reminds me of the sacrifices that many Southerner's during the Civil War were faced with. Tragic loss in possessions and life are just a few that come to mind. Of course everyone first thought of the Civil War and the South is slavery. However, it was more about state rights and many families who lived in the South did not want to get involved. Over the years these families have been demonized into racist plantation owners who's only mission in life was to lord and rule over people. Not true. Hollywood has made its fortune on the misfortunes of others for years. Of course, I do not deny that some slaves were mistreated and I do believe all men and women in our nation should be free. But to demonize every plantation owner is just as ignorant and wrong as slavery itself. I hope you find the history of this family as interesting as the house itself.
Dr. Haller Nutt was a wealthy cotton plantation owner. He had cotton fields in Louisiana and Mississippi. He married Julia Augusta Williams in 1840. She also came from a wealthy cotton plantation family. Together they began building their dream home in Natchez, Mississippi in the spring of 1860. They hired an architect, Samuel Sloan, from Philadelphia. Mr. Sloan designed a multistory Oriental Revival style home. It's rather impressive once you step inside. Unfortunately, they frown upon interior pictures so I was unable to take them inside the home. I truly wish I could have shared those with you. The furniture and china are very impressive.
As luck would have it, during the construction of the home the Nutts found themselves right in the smack of the beginning of the Civil War. As word arrived about the war the construction workers had to halt and run home to where they were immediately enlisted to fight in the war. The work men's tools and buckets can be seen as they left them behind in a hurry. The Nutt family moved into this building while they were anxiously waiting for the house to be completed.
One of the builders snuck across the line to come work on the house at night. Everyone assumed the war would be over within three months. If only they knew it would anguishly last for years. The first floor was completed but the war took a toll on Mr. Nutt's health. He had lost many of his cotton fields in Louisiana and the Union army had taken many of his much needed supplies. The Civil War caused such stress on the Haller that his health finally turned for the worse and he died of pneumonia in 1864. Mrs. Nutt and her children remained living on the first floor of the house.
Most of the family's possessions are on display inside. The artwork of the children and of Haller and Juliana was expected. However, I did see a very expensive painting of a black servant on the family wall. When I asked our tour guide about the painting and who the man was he told us it was their servant. They treated him as if he was part of their family and he had lived with them until his death. He was a very important person in their lives and they paid to have a portrait painted of him and hung on the wall of the study (next to Haller and Julia).
The Pilgrimage Garden Club runs the property, as well as many of the other historical homes in the Natchez area.
Look at this fabulous old buggy parked inside. Can't you just hear the wheels moving across the dirt roads? I wonder what it must have been like to travel into town. I'm sure there wasn't near the traffic, Ha!
Of course you can't survive in the South without a porch or rocking chairs. It just wouldn't be proper.
My husband and I had a debate on what we thought this little basket might be used for. My husband won when I finally stepped inside and asked an employee. It's a baby swing!
I attached two pictures. One the steeple from the outside and a view from the interior. This is what I found the most fascinating part of the house. The dome was designed to capture light and travel it down to the basement. There were holes that were going to be aligned by each floor to reflect sunlight into the house. I only wish they had been able to complete the house. It would have been the best plantation in the entire country.
This is wild when you think of the era this was built. There are shutters inside the walls that run on a track. Considering that we do get harsh rain and winds in the South (mostly from hurricanes) we often see shutters in our houses. Isn't that just amazing.
The details are so stunning
Thank you for stopping by and viewing my pictures. If you ever find yourself in Natchez, Mississippi there are loads of historical homes that you will be able to tour. I highly recommend a visit to one of our nation's most beautiful cities.