Tag Archives: House

Natchez, Mississippi – Stanton Hall

2 Aug

Stanton Hall

Stanton Hall is Natchez’ largest antebellum mansion.  Grand in scale but beautiful and approachable and friendly.  One can come within a block of the home and not know that it is there and then once it is found one wonders how in the world could they have missed this place?

When the mansion was first built, by Frederick Stanton, it was named Belfast.  Yes, Mr. Stanton was born in Ireland but I am not prepared to say that is the reason he named it Belfast.  In walking around the wonderful structure the cost of building such a structure comes to mind and why was it built in Natchez?  Cotton is the reason.  Stanton Hall is a testament to the importance of cotton and to the wealth that cotton brought to the area.

Stanton Hall is also a testament to the skill of the architects and craftsmen that built the mansion.  The house is monumental in many respects but the small details, such as decorative carvings, demonstrate the master skills of the builders.

The home encompasses 11,000 square feet on the two main floors.  Ceilings are 17 feet high and the doors stand at 10 feet tall.  I was wondering too how many people it would take to keep such a place going – not only the house but the grounds?

Yes, Belfast, or Stanton Hall, is a grand monumental place that once expressed the great wealth of the cotton economy, the South, and Natchez.  Yet by the 1930s this magnificent place was empty and in desperate need of repairs.  In 1938 Stanton Hall was purchased by the Pilgrimage Garden Club.  Since then it has been under their maintenance and is open to the public.

Frederick Stanton built this magnificent home in 1857 but in 1858 Stanton died.  Since then the cotton dominated economy has died. If not for the Pilgrimage Garden Club it would not have lasted 75 years.

Arabi, Louisiana -The LeBeau House

19 Jul

The LeBeau House - Old Plantation Home in Arabi, Louisiana.

No matter how much I learn about the New Orleans area there is always something “new” to stumble upon.  A year or so ago I was looking at some photographs and saw one of a very interesting old home.  One cold tell it was very grand in its day but the years had taken a toll.  I was shocked to find that the “house” was in Arabi, just a few miles from downtown New Orleans.  The old home that I saw in the pictures, and which I later visited, is called the LeBeau House.  As with many old homes around New Orleans the LeBeau House has an interesting history – but it is hard to tell fact from fiction.

I paid a visit to the house back in the Spring and took pictures. While there I did not get the feeling that the place was haunted but then again the house has been fenced and boarded up.  A boarded house is sad.  It seems the windows to a house are much like the eyes of a person.  The expression of the windows can say a lot about a place but when they are sealed the mind has a hard time going beyond the plywood or planks. Here is a brief history of the house:

Francoise Barthelemy LeBeau purchased the property  in 1851 and soon after began construction of this home.  The home was completed in 1854 and a few months later Mr. LeBeau died.  That is a sad story but one befitting of a place like the LeBeau House.  What better way to start a story that will last for generations!  For the next 50 or so years the house remained in the family but in 1905 it was purchased from the family and it became a gambling center named Friscoville.  During this time it was operated as the “Friscoville Hotel.”  In 1928 the house was purchased by another group.  Legal gambling was on the decline but the house lived on and was used as an illegal casino known as the “Cadone Hotel.”  It served too as a boarding house for casino dealers.  Since the late 1930s the house has seen little use and time and wear and vandalism have scarred the once grand house.  Now the above gives an outline of the history of the house but there is more.  Much more!

A house as old as the LeBeau House and in the New Orleans area has to be haunted.  As I mentioned when I visited I did not feel that the place was haunted but Indeed the LeBeau House is the focal point of many local ghost stories.  Legend has it that the LeBeau family had a history of mistreating slaves that worked the plantation.  Sometimes punishment resulted in death and the dead slaves were buried in the adjoining fields.  That wasn’t a good move as the departed slaves began to find their way to the home and they began to haunt and to torment the LeBeau family.  One by one members of the LeBeau family succumbed to insanity.  It is reported that two LeBeau family members hanged themselves on the second floor of the home.  There are also stories of other types of strange and ghostly behavior but one of the stories comes from as recent as the 1970s.  The home was rented at that time, and one of the occupants, a little girl, was thrown from a window of the fourth floor cupola.  She was thrown from the cupola but not by human hands.  Since then the place has not seen human occupation.

More information about the LeBeau House can be found in local books and libraries and even some old photos are in the Historic New Orleans Collection.  As per taking photos, or visiting, the home is easily seen – if you can get to Arabi or Chalmette you can certainly get to the LeBeau House.

New Orleans, Louisiana – Garden District – E. Burton White, Jr. House

1 Dec

At one time this house was known as the E. Burton White Jr. home. It is located in the historic Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Garden District has a very interesting history and it is always a pleasure to learn more about this historic and unique treasure.  It is always a pleasure to stroll this area of town and to photograph the beautiful homes and yards. It is as much park like as it is residential.

New Orleans is a very historic city and the Garden District certainly contributes to that designation. Because of the old system of filing many legal transactions by the notary it can be challenging to discover the important things about a structure or about a person.   I think that most of the homes in the Garden District have stories to tell and it is always interesting to know some of the history.  If one sees a beautiful home it feels good to know the name, if it has one, or maybe the families that have lived there.

I’m not interested in a detailed history of most homes but I always like to know a little information about any building that I photograph. I have purchased several books on the Garden District, and New Orleans, but even with those it is difficult to learn the history of one of the homes.  Somehow I discovered that one of the beautiful homes, in the Garden District, that I had photographed was called “The White House.”  It could be called something else these days or in times past but there is a description of this home in “The Great Days of the Garden District,” by Martha and Ray Samuel. The information was published by “The Parent’s League of the Louise S. McGehee School.” In this booklet the structure is referred to as the “E. Burton White, Jr. House.”  So the home is/was known for one of its owners – not the color of the house.

E. Burton White, Jr. appears to have been a medical doctor in New Orleans.  I have found information on him by doing searches on the Internet.  From what I have found he is now deceased but I have found other sources that do not make this clear.  At the time that the Garden District book was written Dr. White was the owner and resident of the house. The “White House” which is not the color white is good enough for me.

The above publication says that records of 1877 show the house advertised as a “raised cottage facing Chestnut Street.”  In 1878 a renovation took place in which the entry of the home was moved to First Street and the cottage was raised even higher. A new first story was constructed and the old first floor was moved to the second story and a new facade was constructed.  Bays were added to both floors.

The original construction of this structure is believed to have taken place in 1849. It was a typical Louisiana cottage with a gallery across the front, having a wide center hall with two large rooms, on either side, and two additional bedrooms in the “attic like” second floor.

Sometime after the 1878 renovation the house was converted into three apartments. When the publication was printed in was stated that the present owners were in the process of converting the structure back to a single family dwelling.

Today the home is a beautiful structure that adds its character to the Garden District.  It is hard to picture this home being located anywhere else! Oh, if you have a few million bucks to spare you can purchase this house – it is for sale. It has five bedrooms and five baths and is 6,751 square ft. in size.

New Orleans, Louisiana – Garden District – Col. Short’s Villa

23 Jun

Prytania Street View of Col. Short's Villa

Located at Fourth St. and Prytania, in the Historic Garden District of New Orleans, this beautiful home has  a number  of items of historical interest attached to it. It was designed by Henry Howard  and built by Robert Huyghe for Robert Short in 1859.

One of the most unique features of this home is not the house itself but the fence.  It is a cast iron fence with a design of intertwined morning glories growing with the corn stalks. The fence was erected by Wood & Mitenberger, the New Orleans branch of the Philadelphia foundry of Wood and Perot.  Wood and Perot also cast the corn fence located in the French Quarter.

Legend has it that Col. Short’s wife was lonely for her native Iowa and so Short had the fence made for her.  Another source says that the Short’s simply ordered it from the company catalog. Outside of the two corn fences in New Orleans and I am not aware of another in the U.S. or one that is at least a tourist attraction.

Fourth Street View of Corn Fence at the Col. Short Villa

Before the occupation of New Orleans, by the Union Forces, Col. Short returned to his native Kentucky.  As a result his property was seized on September 1, 1863.  Short was classified as an “Absent Rebel” even though his wife still occupied the house.

Close Up View of Col. Short's Villa

She was ousted from the house in March of 1864 and General Butler turned it into the Executive Mansion for newly elected Federal Governor Mr. Michael Hahn.  Two weeks later The U.S. Commander, Department of the Gulf, Major General Nathaniel Banks and family became the new residents.

On August 15, 1865 the property was returned to Col. Short by the U.S. Government.  He remained a resident here until his death in 1890.