TOUR AMERICA 2019: SWEET HOME ALABAMA – A TOUCH OF MISSISSIPPI

Home Is Where We Park It: Sharon Johnston Park 

June 12, 2019

Temperature 75 Degrees

Partly Sunny, Afternoon Thunderstorms and Rain

Auburn House, Natchez Mississippi

What you say?  Did you move back to Mississippi?  No, I’m just so far behind in terms of blogs that I need to get going.

First things first.  When we awoke this morning it was a rather chilly 59 degrees.  That’s chilly you say?  Yes, when you’re used to day time temperatures in the 90 degree range and night time temperatures never going below 80 degrees.  I’m glad we didn’t put the extra blanket away.

Let’s get going on our tour of the Auburn House.  The Auburn Antebellum Home was built by architect Levi Weeks and prides itself as being the inspiration for the antebellum mansion building craze throughout Natchez. The house was built for Attorney Lyman Harding who served briefly as governor of Natchez.  A notable feature of the house is the outside porch in front and back on the second floor.

Image result for auburn house natchez mississippi

IMG_5302

However, the home’s most popular resident was Dr. Stephen Duncan.  In the 1830’s, Dr.

IMG_5270

Duncan added the two symmetrical wings, in the Greek Revival style, which greatly expanded the interior space.

This is the entry hall as you enter through the front door.

IMG_5220

The most notable feature of the house is the free standing spiral staircase.  This staircase has attracted international interest and architectural studies due to its free-standing nature. The staircase is classified as unsupported as it has no connection to the foundation of the house. The structure only meets the floor of the first story and the ceiling of the second. We were told that the staircase was built as one piece.  The wood for the staircase was steamed and then curved to it’s final shape.  Today it is still only one of the three or four freestanding spiral staircases within the United States.

IMG_5217

IMG_5269

Before we move through the remainder of the house keep in mind that none of the furniture is original to the house.  After the Civil War, Auburn remained in the Duncan family until 1910, when Dr. Duncan’s heirs donated the home and 210 adjacent acres of land to the city of Natchez, to be used as a public park.  The contents of the house were sold at public auction.  Few of those items would ever return to Auburn.  In addition for many years after the house was left basically open and children often played in the house using the spiral staircase as their personal slide.  Today the property is known as Duncan Park and owned by the city, while the home has been restored and is owned by a small organization that depends on donations and tours to maintain the house.  That said let’s move on.

On the first floor is a small sitting room.

IMG_5224

Adjacent to it is the library.

IMG_5225

The original marble fireplace that has been restored.

IMG_5228

The curtains we were told were one of the few items original to the house.

IMG_5226

Moving out of the library across the main hall you come to the dining room.  Room enough to feed a crew of however many.

IMG_5229

Look closely and you will find a different type of flower on each plate.  The story goes that this was a sign that at each course in the meal you knew that you were being given a clean plate.

IMG_5234

Today this is the gift shop but when Dr. Ducan lived here it was his office.

IMG_5243

Moving upstairs this is one of the four bedrooms.  The bed in this room is known as a casket or coffin bed.  Looking at the top of the bed you can see why!  Not my style that’s for sure.

IMG_5254

This is a children’s bedroom on the second floor.

IMG_5275

The children’s prayer chairs.

IMG_5271

Toys that children of that period might have had.

IMG_5274

Did you notice the dolls of George and Martha Washington?  We were told that to have either one or the other was a visible sign of wealth.

IMG_5272

Also upstairs is the men’s parlor where Dr. Ducan would entertain his male friends.  Why the female manikin?  We were told simply because they could not afford to buy a male manikin!

IMG_5282

Notice the intricate wood work over the door.

IMG_5283

Dr. Duncan, however, was concerned the women in the house might overhear the banner between him and his male friends so the answer was – build a separate building!  This is his private billiard hall, adjacent to the house, built in the Greek Revival style.

IMG_5297

Here is an interesting piece of furniture – the courting couch.  Boy on one side, girl on the other and chaperon in the middle.  No hanky panky on this couch that’s for sure!

IMG_5265

Behind the main house and off to the left was the small house containing the kitchen and upstairs living quarters for the house slaves.

IMG_5213

This is the kitchen.  We were told when food was brought from here to the main house the person carrying it was required to either whistle or sing the whole way – proof that they weren’t stealing a bite!

IMG_5288

Common kitchen utensils.

 

This is a most interesting chair, the seat is made of rags woven together.

IMG_5295

Upstairs living quarters for the house slaves.

IMG_5296

IMG_5301

This concludes our tour of the Auburn House.  A different style of house from a different time and period in the history of our country.  We hope you enjoyed the tour as much as we did.  We are always amazed at what we learn as we travel around this great country of ours.

We have now come to the end of our day on The Road of Retirement.  We did a bit of shopping, Barbara was able to get a haircut, I picked up the battery hold down I needed to replace the one that is in place but missing a piece or two.  Plus, I was able to get one more blog done on sight-seeing trips past.  The day was a winner all the way around.  Thank you Lord for the day, our time together and this wonderful, exciting life we are privileged to live.

Glad you were able to travel with us again today.  Catch you tomorrow.

These are the voyages of  Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans.  Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before

See you on down the road!

One thought on “TOUR AMERICA 2019: SWEET HOME ALABAMA – A TOUCH OF MISSISSIPPI

  1. Loved the house but what a comparison between the servants living quarters and the main house. Don’t think I’d like the coffin bed. 😟 Enjoyed the tour.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s