Way back at the beginning of this blog in 2009, I visited Waverley on Columbus’ Spring Pilgrimage and like many visitors before and since, I gave it my gold star for “Most Favorite Building.” The house with its distinctive octagonal cupola or belvedere is also a National Historic Landmark, and MissPres readers named it to the 101 Mississippi Places to See Before You Die list in 2011.
The house’s preservation story is part of what makes it so special–abandoned and overgrown in the woods for decades, visited by fraternities and sororities for late-night parties, it stood mostly intact but forlorn in the 1960s when Robert and Donna Snow of Philadelphia, Miss., came upon it and decided to spend their adult lives restoring and loving the house:
“As we came around a huge oak tree, we stopped dead in our tracks—absolutely breathless, mesmerized. There was the house, rising up out of the jungle, four stories high with the dome set against the bluest sky. Vines clung to the house and swayed in the breeze. The porch floor had collapsed and the marble steps were scattered in the yard. We scarcely spoke.”
The Snows and their children have kept up the big house and its outbuildings, opening it for tours and doing almost all of the work themselves, but now they need the help of others who love the house. The newly formed Friends of Waverley Mansion has started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to paint the house; $15,330 will clean, repair and paint the front of the house, and if they can raise that, they’ll move on to the other sides.
Friends of Waverley Mansion would like to move quickly to get the front done before the onset of winter, so head over to their webpage, read more about their project, and see if you can contribute. Those who give $50 get to go up to the cupola! What more motivation do you need?