1865 Greek Revival – Natchez, MS

Off Market / Archived
Posted May 2018. This home has been archived on OHD. The sold status is unknown.
Added to OHD on 5/15/18   -   Last OHD Update: 9/5/18   -   31 Comments
403 N Union St, Natchez, MS 39120

Map: Street











Untouched for decades! Grand mid-19th century Greek Revival, Center Hall residence in Natchez on large square lot. Portico has arabesque wood trim and railing with Greek Revival door surround. 2 bd/2.5 bth with a library & parlor rooms on either side of the foyer, central dining room, reare sunroom, one bed w/ private sunroom, rear kitchen attached to mudroom with a half bath, and laundry with rear porch entry. Plaster walls, original architectural details, operable shutters. Architecture lover's dream!
Last Active Agent
Peter Patout, Talbot Historic Properties
(504) 415-9730
Links & Additional Info
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31 Comments on 1865 Greek Revival – Natchez, MS

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  1. Bethany otto says: 2264 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Escondido, CA

    “Untouched for decades” is my second favorite phrase, right after “as-is.” What treasure in this house! Even the kitchen, such as it is, is at least not updated and ready to be restored in the proper fashion. P.S. is it too early in the day for my “left behind piano” shot?

  2. codum55 says: 10 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1926 Colonial Revival
    Erie, PA

    I NEED this house!!! It is absolutely amazing!!

    • codum55 says: 10 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1926 Colonial Revival
      Erie, PA

      ohhh.. and where do you think the stairs go? To an attic?

  3. CharlestonJohnCharlestonJohn says: 682 comments

    Beautiful example of a single story c.1860’s Greek Revival that does indeed appear to have been relatively untouched since the early 20th century when that little lunette window was likely added. Numerous other details seems to date from that same time such as some of the fireplaces, lighting, and some windows.

  4. StevenF says: 511 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1969 Regency
    Nashville, TN

    I really like this house, but the floor plan is a bit of a puzzle. The dining room is not adjacent to the kitchen, which may be an artifact of the original kitchen being in a separate building and later added onto the back of the original house. You can see that the kitchen is of a frame construction rather than brick in that one picture taken of the kitchen doorway from the enclosed “sunroom”. Speaking of which, I’d revert to the original sunroom’s footprint by lopping off the back half (you can see the difference width of the ceiling boards which denote the newer extension) and enclose in glass. This would bring more sunlight into the dining room, where the current sunlight is limited by the too deep sunroom onto which the dining room windows open. I also think it rather odd to have a prominent staircase that proceeds upward to nothing more than an attic. I wonder if the original builders had intended to build upwards later? It’s a nice staircase though, in any event.

    Regardless of the above observations, I really like what I see; the proportions of the public rooms are graceful. it would be fun to make this beauty shine.

  5. Hoyt Clagwell says: 221 comments

    I would leave this as intact as possible. Broken plaster, stained, peeling wallpaper–I’d leave all of that. There’s a beautiful, rough patina on everything that’s irreplaceable. That’s _actual history_ on every surface.

    • Lancaster JohnLancaster John says: 457 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1875 Victorian Farmhouse
      Lancaster, PA,

      My I join you on your soapbox, Hoyt? Restoring a home to an imagined ideal past point in time erases so much history and the fabric of an ever-evolving home. Much as was done, to my great regret, with James Madison’s Montpelier, where the DuPont family’s alterations were stripped down to what it supposedly looked like in Madison’s time. What a loss.

      • cc2001 says: 18 comments

        Such a beautiful home. And, Lancaster John, you echo my sentiments about Montpelier. I saw it before, during and after the renovation. Removing the Dupont alterations, which were historical in their own right, was a costly mistake I believe.

      • Crimson_Roo says: 126 comments

        Respectfully, I disagree. Montpelier’s restoration was no restoration to an “imagined ideal past point in time”; there was a lot of research and science that went into that restoration to return it to what it was during Madison’s time (all three versions as it underwent two renovations during Madison’s life in addition to the initial build – which was, itself, a move from the earlier Mount Pleasant his father built several years earlier). Indeed, there was very little “supposedly” about it and it’s quite a fascinating study into the technology that exists to allow us in this day to understand what things looked like “back then.” (For what it’s worth, when Marion duPont Scott bequeathed Montpelier to the National Trust for Historic Preservation she did so with the wish that the house and grounds be returned to its Madison-era form.)

        If one starts from the proposition that Montpelier’s overriding historical significance is as the home of one of the nation’s founding fathers, the greater “loss” would be to leave the house in the state to which the duPonts renovated it.

        Even if you don’t buy that starting point, I’m not sure it’s such a great “loss” to return a house to what it was originally – after all, that’s what most of us on Old House Dreams seem to desire as expressed in so many of our comments. What is the difference between Ross reversing the changes made to the Cross House over the years to return it to its original form and the Montpelier Foundation reversing the changes the duPont family (and others) made to Montpelier over the years and returning it to the form it took under its original owner?

        As to leaving the house in the state of urban decay in which it was found – one might argue that it is more historical to return it to the form that hard, in-depth research such as that conducted and posted by many readers of this blog (to wit: Ross, John Shiflet, JimH, CharlestonJohn, etc) would yield than to leave it standing as a half-decayed corpse. While I see – and respect – your respective points, I confess I find them baffling; where do you draw the line? As the plaster, ceilings, and other wall coverings continue to decay, do you propose to allow the continued decay in the name of “actual history” or will you shore things up at that point? And if the latter, is this not in direct contravention to your original point that such decay is “actual history” and therefore it’s more historically desirable to allow the decay to stand as it is – or rather as it evolved?

    • Carry says: 15 comments

      Glad to hear you say that. First two years in our 1885 Victorian I kept the lights off in the parlor when people came over and they were allowed only a brief glance in there. Mostly because of the falling, stained ceiling paper.

      Now in our fourth year in the house we embrace the “patina of age” as we call it in the parlor. The ceiling paper, original to the home, was imported from England. It’s stained in places, buckled, peeling, but for being 133 years old it’s pretty amazing. It’s staying as is. The faux painting on the wainscot is almost perfect so the two kinda balance each other out!

      Keep the old as much as possible.

    • shellbell67 says: 139 comments

      I absolutely agree with you! There’s something very beautiful about this houses’ patina. I love it!

      • Gregory Hubbard says: 285 comments

        I disagree with all of you. The builders and later occupants of these homes would be appalled to see them frozen as near ruins. This has become fashionable, but it does not represent or preserve the wishes of any of the owners prior to us.

        As for Montpelier, the work that has restored the house was based on astounding documentation. You may or may not agree with the decision to remove the DuPont alterations, but the restoration notes on which the work was based are amazing to read.

        The problem for the DuPont house was that they altered the Madison house to create it. A presidential house is a presidential house, and for better or worse, the DuPonts simply got in the way.

        • Hoyt Clagwell says: 221 comments

          Let me ask you this, Mr. Hubbard: If you could have your choice between being gifted a Monet painting that has suffered a little wear over the years, but is still an authentic Monet and still a beautiful painting despite its wear, or instead a convincing copy that reproduces the painting exactly as it is conjectured to have looked when fresh–or more to the point, would you take a damaged original Monet, or the same canvas after a very aggressive restoration that has obscured and obliterated parts of the original painting in order to present a prettified conjecturing of what the painting might have looked like when fresh?

          Doesn’t a 1750’s Massachusetts highboy lose a significant amount of its value and appeal if it has been stripped, sanded, and Minwaxed?

          Why should a building be any different?

          As to your example of Montpeilier–well, many architectural historians lament the too-aggressive restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park, because subsequent alterations–authentic work by Wright’s own hand, were destroyed so parts of the house could be made into replicas of what they once were, or are believed to have once been, where instead a more sympathetic restoration might have been undertaken, that showed some of the layers of actual history and age, instead of an anticipation of what may have once, sorta, been.

          • stephen says: 29 comments

            We aren’t talking paintings or old furniture here; this is just a house that people need to live in. In the end, it will perish anyway, no matter what it done to it.

  6. TGrantTGrant says: 391 comments
    OHD Supporter

    New Orleans, LA

    It’s quite possible this house was two story at one time. It wasn’t unusual to reduce the size of a house after the Civil War when family fortunes were reduced or war related damage occurred. Though the only Natchez house I can remember receiving war damage was the Briers. It caught a gunboat cannon ball in the wall.

    • Mark Covey says: 17 comments

      When I last visited Natchez years ago, I remember local tour guides talking about the town being mostly spared from war damage. Guess I’ll have to revisit some history books because I don’t quite remember why. Was it that Union forces captured the city early? Regardless, what an awesome, elegant old home. Natchez is a treasure trove of them too.

  7. Robercn says: 63 comments

    Is it possible that the staircase was enclosed? It is very small and out of place. Or, perhaps it was originally an extension of the hall.

  8. FlaOHDJunkie says: 112 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1902 FL

    I love Natchez, any “Dreamer” that hasn’t done the Pilgrimage should put it on their bucket list.

  9. JRichard says: 227 comments
    1763 center-chimney cape
    Biddeford, ME

    What a beautiful house.

  10. Rick R says: 10 comments

    My wife and I have always joked about the “P” word when we were considering the purchase of an old house. ( We’ve restored several through the years.) When the realtor says excellent POTENTIAL, ( the “P” word ) we joke that that that means it’s an utter disaster and you should run like hell. But seriously, I think this house does have a lot of potential. I love the style and the corner lot. I’m too old now, but this is a great project for someone. It could be a real showplace.

  11. Michael says: 15 comments

    The women saved Natchez while all their menfolk were serving far away in the Confederate army. They saw what had happened to other cities and laid a plan to keep their beautiful city from being burned to the ground. They decided to grit their teeth and entertain the Yankee occupying forces, hoping that their faux hospitality would save them. They continued having their social events and invited the Yankee officers to every ball, every party, every event. For the most part, it worked, but the most magnificent mansion in Natchez, “Clifton”, with its French imported marble, lacy iron work, mahogany wood, cut glass windows, crystal chandeliers, and all its fabulous treasures, was blown to smithereens by the U.S. Army’s chief engineer, John M. Wilson, because he was inadvertently left off a guest list at Clifton. The owner, Frank Surget, never recovered from the loss of his home, telling friends, “It was assuredly not an intentional affront. I would have asked the devil himself to dinner if it would have saved Clifton.” Sadly, there is not even a photograph of the palatial Clifton. The only likeness of it appears in a painting of the Natchez bluff which shows it at such a distance that no details are evident. There were a few other homes that were damaged by Yankee soldiers, but no other homes were burned.

    • Mark Covey says: 17 comments

      Thank you for refreshing my history knowledge. I’d say with the exception of the sad loss of that house, they did well keeping the town beautiful.

      A little Natchez story of my own is from about 20 years ago. I was walking down a street with beautifully kept antebellum homes, and I saw a gorgeous home with a deep porch. An elderly lady was sitting on the porch and said hello. She asked us if we were enjoying our visit. I told her “very much” and asked her about her home. It was built in 1812 and had always been in her family, she said. I asked if she would mind if I took a photo of it. She said “certainly”, but she insisted on stepping inside so she wouldn’t “sully my photograph”. I really wanted her in the shot too, since she was such a big part of it’s history! Then again, I had to recognize her graciousness. In Natchez, southern hospitality is no joke!

  12. kate says: 31 comments

    I LOVE this house, and agree would hardly change a thing but– what to do for Summer in Natchez w/ no A/C and no ceiling fans?

  13. Van says: 3 comments

    My guess would be, the house had a fire that damaged the top floor and it wasn’t rebuilt. I love this house and could be very happy here. I find it strange that a house this nice was built in 1865. The war was not going well in 1865 with soldiers returning ravaged by war. I have the diary of my great great grandfather’s experience in the war. A house like this would be like living in his time. I would like to welcome the descendants of the slaves that built the house.
    Frankly ms Scarlett, I think it’s time for a party, welcoming everybody.

  14. Nan c. Drew says: 1 comments

    What about asbestos and mold. Isn’t that why a new owner is encouraged/required to fix these problems.

  15. HilaryP says: 23 comments

    I am just absolutely in love with this house. I, too, am curious about the unusual floor plan. I would love to go and explore this beautiful home. If only I could convince my husband…

  16. MarthAllenaMarthAllena says: 85 comments
    1921 Craftsman
    St. Paul, MN

    This house is fantastical and oh so charming and that tree makes me want to be a kid again.

  17. Todd Sanders says: 8 comments

    Having worked as a professional architectural historian in Mississippi for over 20 years I can say that this floor plan is very common in this part of Mississippi. It was never two full stories. Having a stair in a rear area like this is fairly common in this area even if the upper level is not habitable. It may have had an observatory on the roof.

    Natchez was not militarily significant during the war so there was no reason for it to be faught over. And many of the residents opposed secession anyway.

    • Hoyt Clagwell says: 221 comments

      I wondered about something on the roof that the stairs may have been giving access to–a widow’s walk, a cupola… In Google Earth, the roof doesn’t have a flat part where such a feature might have been and doesn’t appear to have been alterd (Not that that’s conclusive that the house didn’t have a cupola. With open stairs and high ceilings, an opening on the roof might have created a very nice stack effect on hot days, naturally cooling the house.

      It’s a very uncanny property to me, because the massing and floorplan are very Georgian, like Jeffersonian, but then the details are actually a mix of Italianate and Greek Revival, instead of the Robust Palladian that one would expect at a glance.

    • Mark Covey says: 17 comments

      Ah, so it wasn’t a particularly strategic port nor especially hostile in a military sense. I enjoy learning the history of these homes. Thank You!

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