Today we intended to share about one of our favorite cities in Mississippi to visit for a weekend getaway and a place that often plays host to the loveliest Southern weddings- the great city of Natchez, MS. But, as we jumped in to tackle it, we realized there are far too many places and things here to mention in one post! So, with scaled back ambition, but just as much joy today we bring you a feature on the Longwood Plantation of Natchez, MS- "the grandest Octagonal House in America". Natchez has the loving but appropriate nickname of being "Antebellum capital of the World" and Longwood is one of the most amazing and interesting testaments to this title. In the mid 1800's, Mississippi was booming with the cotton industry and as a port city, Natchez was home to many of the wealthiest of cotton plantation owners. One of those owners, Huller Nutt, had grand ambitions for his home and in 1860 construction began on his octagonal 30,000 square foot dream home, formally named Longwood (also known as "Nutt's Folly"). In April of 1861 with the declaration of the Civil War, the on-site workers packed up and all construction ceased. Unfortunately, the state the home is in now is just as it was left in 1861 and it will forever remain this way, as Huller Nutt fell ill and died in 1864 during the midst of the war. Once war time was over, with the increase in taxes and the loss of her husband, Huller's wife, Julia Nutt, had no wealth left to speak of and lived the remainder of her life with her children in the finished first story basement of the home. No photos of the finished first floor are allowed during tours of the home, but photos are welcome around the property and in the upper tiers of the home, though only the second floor is deemed structurally sound enough for a full walk-through. In the original plans, the home was to have four main floors, a fifth-story solarium, and a sixth-story observatory, and each of the 32 rooms was to have access to a balcony. The design plan and the bones of the structure are simply amazing- all of the bricks used were made on-site, but per the style of the time, these were only meant for structure and the entire exterior and interior was intended to be covered with stucco to create a villa aesthetic. For anyone with a love of history, architecture or fine southern story telling, we highly recommend a stop here. The Garden Club that owns Longwood does an amazing job giving information on the tours, and we love that they've agreed never to complete it, but to let it live on as a time capsule and a reminder of the abrupt nature of war.
Interested in a taking a tour? Find more info HERE