Longwood Mansion - the very name conjures up history, opulence, and heartbreak due to it being partly constructed by slaves and also because of the original owner's downfall. It is known as the "crown jewels of mansions" in Natchez.
The mansion is one of the most highly rated sites to see in Natchez. Ranked by Tripadvisor as #11 out of more than 50 places to see in Natchez, you can't go wrong visiting this antebellum mansion which serves as a legacy from the Civil War.
The mansion is unique because it is constructed in an octagonal shape. It is also partly unfinished. Construction began in 1860 and was then stopped due to the onset of the Civil War.
With its glamorous exterior, the mansion is located on a hillside and is hidden behind trees. It is quite difficult to see because it is on a heavily wooded hill. Visitors to the mansion will need to purchase tickets to even see the outside of the mansion.
Construction of the mansion began in 1858 by Dr. Haller Nutt who was a rich plantation owner. He wanted to build a mansion that would highlight his wealth and be so unique that it would be recognized as an architectural marvel.
The house was designed by architect Samuel Sloan from Philadelphia and a million bricks were used in the construction. The mansion is beautiful with its white balconies and red bricks. There is a domed cupola on the top.
Due to the war, Dr. Nutt lost a lot of money and the mansion could not be completed. He eventually died from heartbreak and illness. The result was that the mansion was given the nickname, "Nutt's Folly." Only the basement of the house was used as living quarters. The second level of the home remains unfinished.
Dr. Nutt's family lived in the basement of the mansion. They did not have the funding to finish the construction.
The uncompleted mansion was eventually donated to the Pilgrimage Garden Club who are the current managers and preservationists.
Visiting the Mansion
Longwood Mansion is located at 140 Lower Woodville Rd in Natchez. It is open for touring year round and it is one of Mississippi's most popular attractions. Tickets can be purchased at the Natchez Visitor Center. Tickets start at $15 for children and $25 for adults. The tour lasts for about 30 minutes.
You will see that the original pieces of furniture used by the owners during the Civil War period are still around. The main floor is finished while the upper floors are unfinished. The unfinished floors contain tools, materials and paint buckets that were left behind by the workers during the Civil War. Tour guides help explain the history of the mansion and the descriptions of the furniture.
What is especially interesting about the mansion today is that there are rumors that the mansion is haunted by the ghosts of Dr. Nutt and his wife.
While some visitors may be concerned that the mansion is unfinished, once they learn of the history behind it, they will agree that it should remain as it is.