“Richmond,” Natchez

Richmond, Natchez – (1784, c. 1800-10, 1832, 1860) (National Register) Richmond, also known as the Marshall House, illustrates a type of organic building in Natchez, as the house was enlarged and altered according to current tastes and requirements. According to the National Register nomination form, “As it stands today, Richmond is the union of three distinct buildings, each with its own architectural interest.” Local and family tradition states that the original section of Richmond, a frame house on a raised basement foundation, was constructed in 1784; the Federal style interior woodwork indicates a possible remodeling date of between 1800 and 1810. The original section became the rear wing around 1840, when the Marshall family added the front section, a one and a half story, raised basement, Greek Revival structure. Although not as large as later Greek Revival mansions in Natchez and elsewhere in Mississippi, Richmond’s interior and exterior detailing is as intricate as any other Greek Revival building in the state. From parlor pocket doors to the Ionic portico to the Corinthian-columned entrance to the multiple wrought iron balconies and other architectural features, the 1832 section of Richmond exudes style. In 1860, a two-story hipped roof addition, complete with Tudor-arched marble mantles, was constructed adjoining the original frame structure. Richmond is also surrounded by the remains of a formerly immaculate landscape, complete with original cast iron benches.

Mimi Miller of the Historic Natchez Foundation has this to say about this complex and old house:  “The center section may well be one of the earliest structures in the state and strong evidence supports the traditional 1784 date.  The building was remodeled during the Federal period–with the addition of front and rear galleries with slender turned columns and Federal millwork on the first story interior.  The Federal columns were later replaced by Greek box columns, probably when the front wing was added.

Protected from the weather in the eave formed by the  gallery addition are original,  massive hewn log gutters.  The second-story is largely unaltered.  The window panes in the side elevation, obscured for approximately 170 years by the flanking additions, are among the tiniest that I have seen.  The detail of the stair and the trim is early.  We know that the property was owned by Juan St. Germaine, an Indian interpreter.  At his death in 1786, he was described as owning a house built in the “English” style.  I think this might be an apt description for a gabled roof building with no porches.  The basement is crude with wall partitions created by wide cypress boards held in place by shoe and ceiling moldings.”

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