Longwood is a historic mansion located at Lower Woodville Road in Natchez, Mississippi. Situated on the old Longwood Plantation on the southern edge of town, the house opens throughout the week from 9am to 4.30pm. The house is approximately 120 miles from Jackson-Evers International Airport.
The house was designed in 1859 by Samuel Sloan for a cotton planter by the name of Dr Haller Nutt, but due to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 the work was stopped. The owner then died in 1864 and subsequently the home was never completed with only nine rooms on the basement floor of a projected 32 rooms finished. The house managed to survive years of neglect and is now owned and operated as a historic house museum by the Pilgrimage Garden Club, after it was handed to them by descendants of the Nutt family in 1970.
This popular tourist attraction is probably most notable for being the largest octagonal house in the United States, but also features a Byzantine onion-shaped dome. It has been placed on the country's National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Longwood is also sometimes referred to as Nutt's Folly in reference to the owner, who never saw his dream home completed although his wife and children continued to live in the basement rooms.
Visitors will still be able to see some of the family heirlooms along with furniture and artifacts dating back to the time building commenced. To add to the experience visitors are provided with a tour with guides telling the story of Haller Nutt and his wife Julia, how the construction was curtailed by the war and what the plans were for the unfinished part of the house, which is six stories high and 30,000 square feet. It is a sad tale of how the family could not afford to finish the construction, after the fields and land owned by them had been burned by Union soldiers in the Civil War.
The plantation can be hired for functions such as wedding rehearsal dinners and other events. This applies if clients book their weddings or special events at nearby Stanton Hall, which is located at 401 High Street in Natchez and was also built just before the outbreak of the Civil War. The house is named after the original owner Frederick Stanton, who was born in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S aged 21 before becoming one of the richest men in Adams County.
Longwood is just one of several mansions tourists can visit as part of the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, with trips to Melrose, Rosalie and Stanton Hall amongst others available to book at the visitor's center in S. Canal Street. Less than three kilometers away is the First Presbyterian Church and Stratton Chapel Gallery, where many photographs of the city dating back to the mid 19th century can be viewed. Visitors looking for places to eat will find South China Restaurant, Edna's Cake Creations and Castle Restaurant just a short distance from Longwood.
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