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 1816 by John Hampton White and his wife, Jane Surget White. 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 at Wikipedia.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 3


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



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


Here’s how it once looked.

Arlington Foyer Before Fire, Natchez Mississippi


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


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



This grand home once looked like this.

Arlington, Historic Home in Natchez, Mississippi 3


Arlington Natchez Mississippi



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.

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  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”. πŸ™
    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.

  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? πŸ˜€

    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! πŸ™‚

    • 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. πŸ™‚

  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. πŸ™ 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. πŸ™‚ In the meantime, I’ll just delight on the photos you’ll be sharing. πŸ˜€

  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.


  22. Responding to your email…no, still not getting your daily posts via my email. πŸ™ 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.

  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.

  34. Rebekah Cooksey says

    I saw Arlinton for the first time in 2010 and then again in 2012. It is so sad to see such a beautiful home disintegrate from exposure to the elements. It is haunting, and so sad. Let’s hope something happens to save it.

  35. I grew up in Natchez, where Arlington is located. In 2010, I had the opportunity to go inside this home with a law enforcement officer (not trespassing) to view the deterioration of the interior. Later, I find out it is owned by Dr. Vaughn, an anesthesiologist, once resided in Natchez … now in New Orleans … refuses to sell or restore the property. From what I understand, Dr. Vaughn inherited Arlington from his mother. It makes me wonder if the good doctor isn’t allowing Arlington to continue to dilapidate, as some sort of personal satisfaction related to family issues. I am not certain of this … just my personal rationale for anyone who would allow such destruction of his own personal property.

  36. I’ve told my family and friends that in my other life that that house was mine and that I wished I would’ve left it to me in a will so I could fix it up. Out of all the homes in Natchez that is the only one that draws me to it. My family and friends ask me why this house I tell them I don’t really know but it’s like back in another life time I was a southern bell and would wear them big dresses and have big parties. I just wished that someone would fix it back up. I tell them that if I ever win the powerball I was gonna try to buy it and fix it up and live there. They say I would have to win a big amount on powerball In order to do it the way it would have to be done. Then I tell them well I can still dream can’t I. But I do wish one day someone would fix it back up to its glory days.

  37. My husband and I walked through this house last year in 2015. It is truly heartbreaking and nothing has been done to the house at all except for that new roof. I don’t understand why the owner just lets it rot.

  38. Robbie and Shan Smith says

    My fiancΓ© and I are in Natchez for a long weekend vacation. While driving around we saw this house and pulled up to the gate for a closer look. Wow! So incredibly sad!!!

  39. I think the owner should be made to sell it or fix it up after all it is historical and many people tour that area so Mississippi gets tourist dollars from that. It is an example of history and I and another owner fixed up a home in rural Alabama built in 1870 that was large and sold it to a girl who loves it and is a nurse and has a family so the whole area was blessed because people cared about that old rural house known as The Wallace House.

  40. Gayle Dawkins says

    My husband and I walked through this home in Dec 2017. We saw it from the street and were immediately drawn to it. My heart broke as I walked through the demolished rooms. While we were there 2 extremely courteous and kind police officers drove up just wondering why we were there. We explained we were from out of town and noticed the property as we drove by. They were concerned for our safety. With good reason. The house is now almost destroyed by neglect. They went on to answer a lot of our questions concerning the house. They gave us the name of a lady who is the head of the historical society in Natchez so we could find out more about what was being done to possibly save the property. According to the officers they are still to this day having problems with the owner. If I could I would love to buy this away from him. It is so sad to see what has happened to this beautiful home.

    • Raphael B Babin Jr says

      I am from Baton Rouge, LoUiSiAna. There is a restored home there called Magnolia Mound. It was built on an Indian burial mound. This house had been empty for years and plans were to move it or tear it down to build a hotel lobby on the mound! A judge seized it and that never happened. In an all too rare instance the will of the people prevailed. Several comments said the doctor should lose it and I agree. What is Natchez waiting for? Tourism is a mainstay of Natchez economy so eminent domain is not out of the question.

  41. There is another home just like this in Bennettsville, SC. We drove past it last spring, and there are many more in this small Town that are falling into disarray. There must be a tax incentive here, there is no other reason to purchase these homes, never occupy, never rent, and let go into the ground. Here in Canada, absentee landlords cannot do this.

  42. Raphael B Babin Jr says

    I am from Baton Rouge, LoUiSiAna. There is a restored home there called Magnolia Mound. It was built on an Indian burial mound. This house had been empty for years and plans were to move it or tear it down to build a hotel lobby on the mound! A judge seized it and that never happened. In an all too rare instance the will of the people prevailed. Several comments said the doctor should lose it and I agree. What is Natchez waiting for? Tourism is a mainstay of Natchez economy so eminent domain is not out of the question.

  43. I had spoken to the owner a couple of times…Can’t comment to his accuracy, but he had 2 points- 1) you simply can’t find contractors today who can easily replicate the artisansip of yesterday, and 2) he got no support from local law enforcement in dealing with the vandalism even with video proof.

    Can’t attest to either, but thought i would share.

    • Thanks for that update. I’m sure it would be a mammoth task to bring it back to what it was. It would take someone or many someones with a burning passion to see the home restored to overcome all the roadblocks and hurdles to getting it done.

  44. jacquelyn kiernan says

    HI my family lives in Natchez its a beautiful town I love the history of the town and the homes its really ashame that these homes are destroy by human nelecgt every city,town,and country should past a law for these homes be restored when I was in jr.high school there was two homes that I dreamed about living there I went to school with a girl that lived in I was amazed with everything in the house so please restore this home Arlington and the other homes

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