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Historic Arlington, Home To Raccoons Now

I’ve been going through the thousands of photos I took last week while touring 13+ historic, plantation homes in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  As I was looking through some of the pictures today, one particular home still haunts me from the trip, Historic Arlington.

Arlington is a Federal style home located in Natchez, Mississippi. It was built in by John Hampton White and his wife, Jane Surget White around 1816. Unfortunately, Mr. White died in October 1819, a victim of the dreaded yellow fever epidemic. His wife died a few years later in 1825.

Here’s how Arlington looked in 1934 in this photo found on Wikipedia.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 3

 Source

Here’s how it looked Monday of last week. Let’s move a little closer for a better look.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 4

 

Frightening, isn’t it?

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 5

 

In an article titled, Blink Twice and Arlington Might Vanish, found on Preservation in Mississippi, I learned a terrible fire swept through the attic of Arlington in September 2002. The Historic Natchez Foundation paid for a new roof but since that time, vandals broke out all the windows and defaced much of the interior and exterior woodwork. Unfortunately, nothing has been done to prevent further deterioration.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 1

Source

 

As the byline for the Preservation in Mississippi site states, “It Ain’t All Moonlight And Magnolias.”

Arlington, Natchez, Mississippi

 

Here’s a photo of how the grand entrance hall looked after the fire.

Arlington Foyer After Fire, Natchez, Mississippi 2

 Source

Here’s how it once looked.

Arlington Foyer Before Fire, Natchez Mississippi

Source

Apparently, a lawsuit was filed by the Natchez Preservation Commission against the absentee owner and he was convicted and fined in 2009 for “demolition by neglect.” Despite all this, no action has been taken to save this beautiful home once considered by architectural historians (per Wikipedia) to be one of the four important Federal Style villas that set a precedent for later antebellum houses in Natchez.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 3

 Source

I love how the home used to look in back with dormer windows and a second story porch. I think I even see a screened porch on the lower level.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 8

 Source

 

This grand home once looked like this.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 3

 

Arlington Natchez Mississippi

Source

 

Today it stands forlorn, its former beauty only remembered in pictures. Truly heartbreaking.

After seeing Arlington in this state, I Googled  to learn more about it and found a video on You Tube. It appeared to be taken by some folks who walked through it at night. As you can imagine, it’s pretty creepy. At the very end they encounter a raccoon who has taken up residence inside and it scares the heck out of ‘em. I saw its glowing eyes before the expletives started flying. It’s an interesting video though and really shows how the inside has been trashed. I won’t link to it here but if you search on You Tube for “Natchez Spooky Antebellum Home,” you’ll find it.

Arlington, Natchez, Mississippi

 

Wish someone could convince the owner to sell and wish someone with a big pile of money and a love for historic homes, would buy it.

Okay, I’m off to sort through 1,000’s of more photos. The next homes you see from my trip will all be beautiful. But Arlington’s story needed to be told, just hope it’s not too late.






Comments

  1. Wow Susan! That is heart breaking. So much history just let to waste away. There are people out there who have the means to bring it back to life. Can not wait to hear more about your tours!

  2. That is so sad. I hope someone saves that beautiful old historic home.

  3. Kymmberly says:

    I imagine the owner would sell if someone would come along and afford to buy it which would include paying off the liens and court fees AND have the money to restore it.

    The stories of these beautiful old homes in America, and even England, are very sad indeed.

  4. Such a sad ending to a glorious piece of history and architecture. Not 150 years old like this Federal beauty of the past, but our town is in the middle of a similar situation with a 1960’s modern architectural home built on the side of a rock cliff (even has trees incorporated into its central open space, much like a Frank Lloyd Wright study). Vandals have graffitied and broken out windows, and the city is contemplating fining the owner who bought the house in 2011 and basically abandoned it. Thanks for sharing. I love reading about these historical homes, and I’ve not been to New Orleans or Natchez.

  5. So sad that such a beautiful place with so much history is just “left to the elements and vandals”. :(
    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. I agree, SOMETHING should be done…what a wasteful shame!! franki

  7. Dear Susan,
    Again, it breaks my heart to see the shameful outcome of such a one time, beautiful mansion.
    Too bad the city did not purchase this piece of historic architecture. They could have turned it into a museum.
    Ann

  8. How sad! It would be wonderful if someone restored it. I can’t wait to see your photos. I have always wanted to go to the Natchez pilgrimage and now I can go through your pictures!

  9. Linda Page says:

    What is really sad is that sometime around 2010, someone actually started to repair Arlington. I walked through it and in the main hall was duct work as though someone was about all heat and air. Also lots of the crown molding from the hall was on the floor but it was neatly stacked as though someone was going to do something with it. The original cast iron fireplace grate were still intact but the creepy video you referenced showed the grates to be gone. I know that one of the local garden clubs, which run the pilgrimage and preserve houses, made an offer to the owner and were turned down. For so many years only the tip top of the roof was visible from the street and a few kids had partied in the empty house but when all of the overgrowth was cut down and the house completely exposed, vandals really began to destroy it. It is a very sad situation. You have written a good story about the plight of Arlington. Thanks.

  10. I shared this on my facebook page with hopes of it helping some how to save this piece of history.

  11. Aww, that is horribly sad. the before pictures are lovely! I hope the owner steps up and corrects this piece of history, if not sell it to someone who will!

  12. Looking forward to more of your pictures from your trip. I have also been wondering how your new sod is doing after the winter.

  13. That’s such a shame to see such a grand style home like that left to ruins. I don’t understand that kind of reasoning to hang onto a home like that if you’re not going to do anything with it. Seems like they could force the individual to sell it. I watched that video. There were some very nice details in that home. It looks like it would have to be gutted to do anything with it’s such a shame.

  14. I was born and raised in Mississippi. I will always LOVE Mississippi! Who in their right mind would want to destroy such history and such incredible beauty. This is so heartbreaking…..but I thank you for featuring this article. She was a grande dame!

  15. Pan ~ CC says:

    Susan, this is really a shame. So sad. It looked to be quite the magnificent family home at one time. What a shame the current owner doesn’t do something about it – at least sell, as you suggested. I wish we at BNOTP could pool our resources and bring it back to life. It could be our ‘meeting’ place and we could all get together for spa weekends and discuss decorating, entertaining, table – scaping and gardening. Wouldn’t that be a dream? When we’re not meeting to conspire making the world a prettier place, we could rent it out as an elegant Inn. What do you say? :D

    Btw, I am using a different browser this time (Chrome) and everything looks different, so let’s see if I can proof read my post. I’ll let you know!

  16. Pan ~ CC says:

    Okay, well, it still didn’t how up. It just said, “Submitting comment” and disappeared.

    No worries. Apparently I’m the only one experiencing this anyway, so don’t worry about it, Susan. It’s just a minor thing. At least I can still view the site! :)

    • It should work the same now on Firefox, now…my tech folks deleted the plugin I was using and they activated another one. I noticed that it just shows “submitting a comment” really quickly, then disappears.

    • It should say, “Comment is awaiting moderation.” I’ll see if I can change that…that would make more sense. Thanks, Pam!

      • Pam ~ CC says:

        Yes, exactly. It would say that my comment was awaiting moderation but it would show the comment so I could read it in it’s entirety (not limited by the small box) to check spelling, etc. But again, please don’t worry about it. You do so much for us and this is just a small thing. :)

  17. Susan, do you think that if everyone here, who has a Facebook and or Twitter account, shared this story like Rose-Mary ( No. 11 above, I think) already did, word might reach someone or some organization that has the know-how to save this historic home? I will share it anyway.

  18. Pam ~ CC says:

    Susan, I watched the video you mentioned. Yikes! It was even worse than I imagined. :( Such a shame, a true disgrace. I am usually all about personal freedom but the owner of this home is making me angry! I didn’t read the link about him yet, so I don’t know what his reasoning is, but it does make me wonder — since this (former) home now clearly has a reputation as a ‘hang out’ spot, I just wonder if he could be held liable if someone was injured there. Did you see that in several spots the floor is missing and a person could easily fall through to the floor below? And the handrail is gone and it would be so easy to fall not only off the stairs, but down that center area right through to the first floor! Yikes! It’s like that place is a million accidents waiting to happen. Of course, I suppose he could always plead, “They were trespassing,” but it just seems that once something has that sort of reputation, a homeowner should be responsible for at least boarding it up to prevent further access. Grrr. Grrr! Grrrrr!!!

    • I don’t know why they haven’t boarded it up…it definitely needs to be…to keep all the critters out. And the vandals. A bit like closing the barn door after the horse is out at this point, though.

  19. Pam ~ CC says:

    Btw, after watching that video you mentioned, that house would be IDEAL for a spooky movie. Oh my goodness, the first thing I thought of was The Blair Witch Project. Wasn’t that supposed to take place somewhere near there?

    And Susan, I am so jealous of your innate ability to find beautiful homes to tour. After reading you had been on this adventure I got online to see what I might be able to tour here and I had just missed a couple of big home tours. We just don’t have nearly as many as you do down there, even though we have a fair share of Antebellum homes here. *Sigh* I;m going to have to put it on my calendar to watch for tours earlier, next spring. Hee. Can’t wait. :) In the meantime, I’ll just delight on the photos you’ll be sharing. :D

  20. Pam ~ CC says:

    I can’t help but wonder what the folks who built that home and all the other families who once lived there would think if they knew the state it was in. Can you imagine your personal home being mistreated like that at some point in the future? I’m sure if they ever considered it, they would have thought it inconceivable. And right they would be, imo.

  21. Jake's a Girl says:

    Once beautiful and now. So sad. It could be beautiful again but the amount of money it would take would be mind blowing and the people that owns it won’t sell.

    Searching this led me to other abandoned homes and much more. Watching them, seeing the waste inside them and all the hurt, pain and of course the love that had once lived in them broke my heart. Gave me such and eerie feeling.
    I really was amazed at how some Towns/States could consider closing down a perfectly good school and letting it go to ruin. I don’t understand the reasoning behind the decisions. Brings up a whole other bag of why’s.

    JaG

  22. Responding to your email…no, still not getting your daily posts via my email. :-( sorry, wish it had worked. Must be driving you to distraction

  23. SharonFromMichigan says:

    Oh wow, this was a beauty back in the day. I absolutely love the old southern homes that sit so far back from the road. I bet the vandals went in there and took the crown moldings, leaded glass windows, etc and sold them. So many old abandoned homes here in Michigan have been stripped by vandals and scappers. Too bad the owner won’t “step up to the plate” and either sell or restore this gem. If the owner would sell, This Old House magazine advertises the “fixer uppers” in the back part of their magazine. On a happier note, I had my first hummingbird visit my feeder this morning! Yay!

  24. Sandra Garth says:

    I hope this home can be made beautiful again.

  25. Breaks my heart. So sad how a beautiful home just dies when no one lives there anymore.

  26. I once owned a home that was a replica of a Natchez Mississippi plantation home. The up keep was lots of work! But beautiful. It’s so hard to see that someone would allow such a beautiful historic home to deteriorate …… I wish the owners would step up and renovate or allow someone with ability to do so. Breaks my heart…..

  27. pam heine says:

    Natchez has brought back many homes from the brink, maybe they can somehow force the person to sell. Wonder whyhe doesn’t? He clearly has no interest in the home. I once saw a book that I think was called “Ghosts along the Mississippi”. It had many pictues of plantation homes that were being reclaimed by the earth.

  28. alecia block says:

    I hope you had the opportunity to visit Longwood.

  29. This breaks my heart… Hopefully someone will rescue
    his beauty.

  30. As a Mississippi girl, that makes me doubly sad. Thanks for sharing the story.
    ~april

  31. What a gorgeous home and such a sad story too.

  32. Susan,
    I am from Natchez, was actually in the Pilgrimage as a youth, and my parents still live there today, These homes are truly gorgeous and a peek into our history. I am embarrassed to say, that when I was young, I took these homes for granted. We drove by them every day and I guess I just never really appreciated their beauty until I became an adult. Many of the homes have fallen into disrepair but have been restored. The plight of Arlington is sad but maybe your post will draw the attention of the right people. Since I have grown-up, I have been touring the homes each time I return and have taken my daughters as well. Every town has its treasures so please don’t take them for granted! One day they may not be there…

  33. Marsha Hughes says:

    I’ve photographed Arlington this summer myself. It’s so sad to see it in this condition and especially seeing photos of it’s once grand self. It’s now just a place for vandals.

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