HABS in Mississippi: Stanton Hall, Natchez

HABS photographer Lester Jones took a grand total of one photo of Stanton Hall in 1940, and because there are no photographer’s notes, it’s not clear why this grand historic home, now a National Historic Landmark and open daily for tours, seems almost an afterthought in the HABS coverage of Natchez. The HABS website does contain a note about the building, which is more than many other buildings get:

Significance: Built between 1851 and 1857 for wealthy cotton broker, the palatial proportions of this house and the variety of its Victorian detail represent antebellum opulence rarely achieved and more rarely maintained. Stanton Hall dominates an urban hilltop site a full block square. In the summer of 1863, after the occupation of Natchez by Federal troops, Union Army flags were raised here.

Notice that architect Hays Town, who had been the HABS District Officer for Mississippi, had already moved to Baton Rouge by this time, as seen in his address on the data sheet included with the photo on the HABS site.

SOUTH ELEVATION (FRONT) - Stanton Hall, Pearl & High Streets, Natchez, Adams County, MS. Lester Jones, Photographer February 21, 1940.

SOUTH ELEVATION (FRONT) – Stanton Hall, Pearl & High Streets, Natchez, Adams County, MS. Lester Jones, Photographer February 21, 1940.


See also:

Categories: Antebellum, Architectural Research, Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Natchez


3 replies

  1. Took only one pic but it is a striking one. Helps to have a gorgeous subject, true.


  2. there is almost too much one can say about ‘stanton hall’–originally called ‘belfast’. first of all, thank heavens it survives, and, is, i presume, in good condition, and, yes, open to the public. some original furnishings now, too–so, that’s ahead of a number of our ‘great ms houses’!

    interesting mix of grecian and italianate details, the grecian ones rather old-fashioned in the 1850s. i think there is still, i suppose, the controversy—started at the time of its construction–as to the artisans involved–some think new orleans folks, others, local natchezians— this could be the subject of another conversation.

    it is unfortunate that a big part of the huge service wing is gone– yes, more maintenance today, but, yes, more space for ‘whatever’. the wall-to-wall carpeting in some of the rooms installed in recent years–particularly in the parlors– makes a big difference, although it is sad that the repro pattern chosen doesn’t more closely match the original–seen in some great 19th century interior views(in collection of mdah–webmaster, can you post any of these?)

    the current laminated seat furnishings in the large parlor are not original to the house, but have been there for some time and are known as ‘the stanton hall pattern by j and j w meeks[nyc makers]’; the original rococo revival suite, some of which survives, was much more proportional to the high ceilings— purchased from siebrecht, new orleans(along with some incredible gothic revival items, a few of which are also in the house now)– scholars differ in opinions as to whether they were made in new orleans, new york city, or france—

    there must be some ‘back story’ as to why ‘stanton hall’ wasn’t ‘more documented’— i don’t know the owners of the house then, but someone in our ‘group’ must– had the pilgrimage garden club–current owners– acquired it by then? am not certain as to which was the largest house built in the natchez area, but, certainly, one of the competitors, homewood, got a lot more habs photo documentation.

    know we will have other comments, so, don’t want to hog the floor!


  3. brief update— according to information from the stanton hall website, the pilgrimage garden club purchased the property in 1938— so, one would have thought that the house would have been available to habs in 1940; anyone have any comments?

    and, i neglected to comment on the handsome etagere in the large drawing room— no, not part of the room’s original furnishings, but a handsome example of this form, probably from the nyc manufactory of j.h. belter(the creator of the original late 1850s double parlor suite at ‘rosalie’, also in natchez). the pair of empire pier tables exhibited in the room are quite ‘period inappropriate’, and, someday, maybe they will be removed.

    in a recent view of this room(found on the net), i see ‘in the distance’ what i am guessing is a blow-up of possibly an archival view of the room, on a modern easel– a great idea!


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