Some of you know I was at Haven a couple of weekends ago in Atlanta GA. That’s the Blogger Convention of all Blogger Conventions and even though I learned so much and brought home so much swag it filled up the back of the car, I won’t bore you with the details. What I will bore you with (just kidding) is our stop over at the Melrose Mansion in Natchez Mississippi.
There was so much to see I’m going to separate it out into two different posts. Part 1 is on the main house.
Melrose Mansion in Natchez Mississippi
This place was magnificent. Declared a historic landmark in 1974, it was well preserved and taken care of and had a family living in it up until 1988. Melrose sits on 80 acres and the homes is 15,000 square feet of beauty and sad stories. Doesn’t every mansion have a sad story though? Someone dying, something burning down, slaves – something? You can read about that here.
We were told John T. and Mary Louisa McMurran spared no expense constructing the mansion. The doors, windows, cornice moldings, stairways and floors were all the best you could get back then. The wallpaper was hand painted and the canvas floors were the same. They ended up selling it because of financial problems due to the Civil War and because they were grieving over the deaths of their daughter and two grandchildren.
The picture above is the lavish living room. Check out the gold! The picture below is the formal dining room. They must have had every meal in here because they certainly weren’t going to eat in the kitchen with the slaves. The tour guide mentioned the family wanted everyone to think the house just ran itself without slaves. I don’t actually understand that one because who was the person pulling on the rope over there in the corner to fan the family and keep flies off of the food? He or she wasn’t invisible. Different times back then – sad and different times.
Now this staircase is more to my liking. Simple and detailed at the same time. The picture below is the handrail with an ivory button for an added touch. The floor is the hand painted canvas I mentioned earlier.
Upstairs housed all of the bedrooms. This is the master bedroom. I thought the little bed may have been for a child who maybe had a bad dream or something, but nope. It’s in case you wanted to take an afternoon nap. Once they got up for the day and a slave made the bed, you weren’t supposed to mess it up – goodness gracious. Below are a couple more bedrooms and play rooms for the children.
The house actually had an indoor bathroom and even though it had a chandelier and a pretty fireplace, the rest was yucky so I’m sparing you of that grossness. I’ll say this, touring this mansion certainly makes me appreciate being born in the 1960 somethings with showers, flushing toilets, and air-conditioning. Even now I must have a little fan blowing on me when I get out of the shower. That could be because of my age (insert rolling eyes) or just the humid hot summers here in Texas. Either way, what in the world did the lady of the house do back then? I’m sorry but that poor child standing in the corner pulling a rope to fan me wouldn’t have done it. No way, no how.
There were a couple different sets of stairs used only by the slaves. All of the dark green shutters weren’t used to keep the sun out, they were used to hide the slaves from coming and going. Remember, out of sight out of mind and the house ran itself?
The picture above is one of the bells that were hung along the back of the house. If someone wanted something, they pulled the string and depending on which bell rang, the slaves could tell from where in the house they were being beckoned.
Next time (Part 2) I’ll show you the grounds and the out-buildings!