Mrs. Thompson hosts Symposium Club
Posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 8:03 pm
Members of Symposium Club met recently in the home of Rosalee Thompson near Union City.
Diane Riley, co-hostess, served jam cake and peppermint ice cream.
Barbara Jones presented the program on Longwood.
Longwood, a house in Natchez, Miss., epitomizes the rise and fall of the prosperity of southern planters better than any other. Once the oldest city on the Mississippi River, Natchez had the largest concentration of antebellum structures and boasted over 500 millionaires. Longwood stands today as a hollow shell of a Moorish castle hiding itself in a primeval forest.
Dr. Haller Nutt was building this home for his wife and children. It is six stories high. Each story a little smaller than its lower one, until the floor becomes a tower. There are no halls in the octagonal house. On the ground floor the rotunda, made up of eight large octagonal rooms, is open to the glassed-in tower.
Early work was done by slaves but later, skilled labor was brought in from Philadelphia. A shot at Fort Sumter ended it all. When the Philadelphia men heard of it, they dropped their tools and headed back north. Orders had been placed for statuary, a marble staircase, silver and linens in many of the countries of Europe. Orders had also gone out for furniture of walnut, mahogany and rosewood and to cabinet makers in New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia. Today, visitors can see the old tools, cans of paint and shipping crates of a few pieces just where they were dropped.
Dr. Nutt died in 1864, just before the end of the war. Before his death, he had everything boarded up except for the basement floor, and he and his family moved into this. His heirs sold the property in 1968 to Mr. and Mrs. Kelly McAdams. The McAdams Foundation deeded Longwood to the Pilgrimage Garden Club in Natchez as a gift. In April, 1970, it was designated as a national historic landmark.
Published in The Messenger 12.14.11