When Haller Nutt started building Longwood Plantation in 1859, the future looked bright for the successful plantation owner, his wife and 12 children. The antebellum octagonal mansion held promise to be one of the most distinguished homes in Natchez, Mississippi.
That promise was fulfilled, but not for the reason Nutt would have wanted. Because what distinguishes Longwood from other mansions is not what it has, but what it lacks.
Today the home is open for tours. As you drive up the windy, forested path, you’ll see the grand mansion peeking through the trees. The outside displays the grand vision of architect Samuel Sloan.
But two years after construction began, the Civil War started. The construction workers left. And, three years later, Nutt died of pneumonia, leaving Longwood with only nine of the 32 rooms completed. Only the basement was finished, and that’s where tours start – at the bottom of the staircase that leads to the rest of the mansion.
As Shreveport resident Becky Kolbenschlag walked through the unfinished rooms one day this fall, she expressed amazement at its beauty, but also melancholy.
“There was a sadness about the house,” Kolbenschlag said. “It was like time stood still.”
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