Lost Mansions of Mississippi, The Sequel

I had heard that Mary Carol Miller was writing a sequel to her helpful yet heartbreaking Lost Mansions of Mississippi, but from what I could tell, it wasn’t coming out in stores until October. But as proof that the early bird gets the worm, I spied a whole stack of Lost Mansions of Mississippi, Volume II as I wandered through Lemuria Books here in Jackson on Saturday. Of course, I immediately grabbed a copy, and I like to think that I, E.L. Malvaney, am the first buyer of the book in the world.

You can see a summary and a Google Preview of the book on the University Press of Mississippi site. I would also suggest, if I might be allowed a suggestion as the first buyer of the book, that University Press include a calendar of book signings for each book. I was told that the author will be signing Lost Mansions II on November 1 at Lemuria. I know that Mary Carol occasionally haunts the MissPres universe, so maybe she can fill us in on her other events around the state.

Here’s what University Press has to say about the book:

As preservationist Mary Carol Miller talked with Mississippians about her books on lost mansions and landmarks, enthusiasts brought her more stories of great architecture ravaged by time. The twenty-seven houses included in her new book are among the most memorable of Mississippi’s vanished antebellum and Victorian mansions. The list ranges from the oldest house in the Natchez region, lost in a 1966 fire, to a Reconstruction-era home that found new life as a school for freed slaves. From two Gulf Coast landmarks both lost to Hurricane Katrina, to the mysteriously misplaced facades of Hernando’s White House and Columbus’s Flynnwood, these homes mark high points in the broad sweep of Mississippi history and the state’s architectural legacy.

Miller tells the stories of these homes through accounts from the families who built and maintained them. These structures run the stylistic gamut from Greek Revival to Second Empire, and their owners include everyone from Revolutionary-era soldiers to governors and scoundrels.

Mary Carol Miller, Greenwood, Mississippi, is the author of numerous books on historical homes, landmarks, and sites throughout Mississippi. For Lost Mansions of Mississippi, she won the Non-Fiction Book of the Year award from the Mississippi Library Association in 1997. She is a physician with North Central Mississippi Neurological Surgery Center in Greenwood.

144 pages (approx.), 8 x 10 inches, 60 b&w illustrations

Properties included in Lost Mansions II:

  • Laurel Hill
  • Salisbury
  • Linden
  • Lonewood
  • Allen-Morgan House
  • Bellevue
  • Etania
  • Glenwood
  • Kirkwood
  • Austin Moore House
  • Prospect Hill (I)
  • Mount Hermon
  • O.J. Moore House
  • Montebello
  • Tullis-Toledano Manor
  • Stephenson-McAlexander House
  • Three Oaks
  • Valleyside
  • Grasslawn
  • Carter-Tate House
  • Llangollen
  • Colonel Thomas White House
  • Shipp House
  • Turner Lane House
  • Skipwith House
  • Eagle’s Nest
  • Delta Psi House

If you don’t have a friendly local bookseller, head over to Amazon, where you can also pick up some of the Mary Carol Miller’s other books, or a couple of other “Lost” books published in the last year: Richard J. Cawthon’s Lost Churches of Mississippi, and Marc A. Matrana’s Lost Plantations of the South.

It sure would be nice to not have any more landmarks lost in Mississippi–there’s enough already to fill even more volumes.

Categories: Books

11 replies

  1. I’ve noticed that release dates seem to be more like suggestions that are never followed. I bought several copies of The Classicist No. 8 back in June (about two months before it was supposed to be released) and found a copy of Michael Fazio’s Landscape of Transformations: Architecture and Birmingham, Alabama around the same time (again, about two months before its release date).

    I don’t have my copy of Lost Mansions of Mississippi but are any of the new houses listed in the old one? The old one had a list of several dozen lost mansions that were not covered due to lack of information and space. Did any of those make it into the new book?


  2. Yes, you’re right, I had forgotten about that list, added as an appendix to the original Lost Mansions. Looking over that appendix, I see on first glance a number of buildings that are included in Volume 2: Laurel Hill, Etania, Mount Hermon, Llangollen, Carter-Tate House, Shipp House.

    Volume 2 is not geographically organized, as far as I can see, so it’s hard to make a detailed list of identical houses without sitting down with pen and paper. And of course, several houses have entered the “lost” category only since Volume 1, including Tullis and Grasslawn.


  3. I see that Salisbury is listed. This must be the Shepheard-Salisbury House in Wilkinson County. I had hoped that something of the house still existed. One house I do not see is the John Wall House near Fort Adams, also in Wilkinson County. Perhaps this was in the first volume? My copy of the book is in Virginia at the moment.


  4. I know Grasslawn has been “Rebuilt”. Does anyone know if any of the other lost buildings have facsimiles anywhere?


  5. The book is available at Square Books in Oxford, of course; there’s a big pile.

    There are a number of local-to-Oxford properties scattered out through it. I can think of some other places that could be profiled in future volumes.

    There was a really odd Greek revival mansion south of Taylor towards Grinderswitch that finally collapsed I think in about the late 70s. I walked through it several times while a college student, probably at severe danger to myself. The odd part was that the second floor balcony was about 2/3 height– if you went out on it, you had to stoop over. Looking at the house from the front, you could see that the proportions were off because of it. Inside, the wood for the moulding was all osage orange wood that had squiggles of lamp-black decoration on it. I half-hoped someone would salvage that out of the place, but would assume no-one did. There’s a family cemetery about a hundred yards from the house site, and a small cedar grove still where the house stood.

    Another favorite is at Tula, hiding up in woods. It may not be lost yet, but won’t remain long. It’s a two story beautiful dog trot, with carpenter’s gothic decoration. When I last walked around it thoroughly, there was still a well at the back that had the wooden crank mechanism. In more recent visits, I’ve felt not quite comfortable walking onto the property– it seemed both decaying further and that whoever owned it was trying to keep people out.


    • That Grinderswitch house sounds really odd–I don’t suppose you have a picture laying around?

      As for the house in Tula, the official MissPres policy is to not encourage trespassing, so I guess I shouldn’t go trying to look for it . . . :-)


    • I have never heard of Osage Orange being used for architectural woodwork. Whoever did it must have been an incredible craftsman; afterall, it’s about 2400 on the Janka scale, which makes it the hardest wood not found in a rainforest. I would also like to see any pictures you have of that house.


      • I may know someone with pictures. My memory is that the moulding was really nice but a little rough. What startled me is that no one had ever painted it.

        I was prone to just explore and not document, unfortunately.

        I knew the wood (and had a friend’s father who did some woodworking ID it for me, too) because the local blacksmith, Mr. Hall, used it for making knife handles. I have a big knife Mr. Hall made in the 1970s (he’d been making knives since 1911) that has an osage orange handle. Recently, I got two paring knives that were made with osage orange handles by Andy Waller, a local blacksmith who learned from Mr. Hall and has his tools.


        • I have various things made from Osage Orange but nothing large or complicated, just handles and bowls and other similar things. I have always liked the hue and grain of the wood, presumably so did the owners of that house as they never painted it.

          I just thought of where the owners of the Grinderswitch house (or the woodworkers who built it) would have gotten Osage Orange? Unless I’m wrong, the tree is not native to Mississippi and was not introduced until later on. It became especially popular for hedgerows around cattle fields as a subsitute for barbed wire and later experienced a boom when New Deal workers planted it all over the place (for Dust Bowl windbreaks in the Plains and elsewhere).

          Also, I wonder how many Osage Orange trees had to be cut down before any suitable wood was found? I have never seen an Osage Orange with any more than about 5 or 6 feet of straight branches, the whole tree seems to be a tangled, gnarled mass. Woodworkers have also told me that the grain which looks so good makes the wood more difficult to work with (as if it wasn’t already due to the hardness).


  6. Hello ELMalvaney! My wife is a descendant of Senator Govan who owned Snowdoun Plantation House and I also believe he (or his family) owned Valleyside Plantation. Recently, while going through some old family heirlooms, we found a letter written by my wife’s grandmother Mary Pugh Govan. She states in the letter that she is writing from the Snowdoun house. She also talks in the letter about her slaves, a recent family wedding, and things she purchased. It’s a fascinating read! I’d love to share it with you… Sincerely, Trey


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