Melrose Mansion Part 2

Back in 1848 when the Melrose Mansion opened, I’m positive the property didn’t look like it does now.  The out buildings have been well preserved, many trees planted and grasses grown but as we toured the grounds and I was in awe of my surroundings, I felt a sadness.

Melrose Mansion Part 2

Back view of Melrose Mansion and Dairy and Laundry buidling

The picture above is the back of the main house.  The building on the left was the dairy and laundry building.   The first floor was the working area and the second floor housed slaves.  There is a matching building on the opposite side of the lawn that was the kitchen and again rooms for the staff on the second floor.  These slaves worked for the family and took care of the main house.  They were also called “dependencies”.   If the slaves were called that because they were so needed, you think the family were called “the lazy’s” behind their back?  Hmm, something to think about.

Large oak behind Melrose Mansion between the out buildings

The tour guide/Ranger (how cool is that) said it was mostly dirt and small trees back in the late 1800’s.  Now the trees are gorgeous and master of their domain.  They tower over everything and definitely demand respect. Just look at them!

Tree with bench at Melrose Mansion in Natchez Mississippi



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The Slave Housing and a Little Insight:

There are two cabins about 70 yards from the main house with one shared cistern in between them.  The staff that were responsible for the property, the carriages and animals lived inside.  Each cabin has two rooms; one for dining and the other for sleeping.  We read each one held up to 17 slaves.  It seems awfully small for 17 people and it certainly couldn’t hold that many beds.  In the exhibit, one cabin is furnished and has interactive slavery exhibits.  The exhibits aren’t just about slaves as a whole but give insight to the people that lived and worked at the Melrose Mansion.

Housing for the gound and animal slaves at the Melrose Mansion

View of slave housing at Melrose Mansion in Natchez Mississippi

One of the exhibits has this sheet below from Charlie Davenport.  He was one of the children born and raised as a slave at the Melrose Mansion.

Letter from a slave that lived and worked at the Melrose Mansion in Natchez MI

 

The Barn, Carriage House and Garden:

These areas are on the self-guided tour so we didn’t hear much about them.  The barn was a bit of a surprise to me.  I believe the large groove in the floor was for easier cleaning of the stalls.  It slopes to the back which makes sense if they are washing away the yuck-genius!

Inside the barn at Melrose Mansion in Natchez MI

Animal barn at Melrose Mansion

Carriages houses at Melrose Mansion in Natchez MI

It’s fun to see carriages I’ve seen in old movies.  I began to wonder what it was like to ride in one behind a smelly horse; hearing the clippity clop of the horseshoes.  Then of the conversations the chauffeur may have heard while taking them places in the big black covered carriage.  It was probably reserved for the more exciting excursions and the other less fancy carriages for the more mundane trips.  You start to think you understand how they lived back then but the reality is we will never understand what the slaves really went through or how they felt.  Never.

This is the view of the side yard and garden area from the Melrose Mansion main house

Why do you think the gardens were so far away from the house?  Was it their excuse to get out and walk?  I would have thought they had had enough of that in the 15 thousand square foot house.  Maybe they wanted everyone to see the fabulousness of the estate?  Maybe it was cooler under the trees or being out there had more of a breeze?  Who knows.

The garden off Melrose Mansion Natchez, MI

Front lawn of the Melrose Mansion in Natchez Mississippi

Street view of Melrose Mansion at the front gate

Either way you slice it, the entire place is remarkable.  Next time y’all are out and about in Natchez Mississippi drive by, take the tour and take cash.  They don’t take credit cards but it’s only $10.00 per adult.  Oh bonus!  The house is now air-conditioned.  So even if it’s 100 degrees with 90% humidity, you’ll enjoy it.

If you’d like to learn a teeny bit more about the McMurrans, click on this link.  If you’d like to read more details about the Melrose Mansion, here’s another link. Or if you missed Part 1 – you can read about it here.

Hope you liked the Melrose Mansion Part 2 – the stop is seriously worth it. 😉

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4 Comments

  1. Pamela S Williams
    August 3, 2017 / 8:32 am

    Looks a lot like the plantation we visited in New Orleans! I think that was the best part of that vacation. So interesting!

    • August 3, 2017 / 11:22 am

      Ooh, which one was it? I’d like to look it up. Love it when y’all comment – Thanks!

  2. August 3, 2017 / 10:15 am

    So enjoyed your articles. We are not able to travel now and it is so nice to read such a wonderful write-up. We have toured many historical homes and we always felt for the slaves and how they were treated. And yes, thank heaven for air conditioning!! Thanks again and blessings.

    • August 3, 2017 / 11:21 am

      I haven’t toured many historical homes but when we become actual empty nester’s maybe we can. Sadly, air conditioning is top on my list when looking at fun things to do. Unless it’s fall or winter – then I don’t mind being outside. Thank you again for being a subscriber! Hope you have a great weekend.