HABS in Mississippi: Chaffin Farm, Amite County

There’s so little information about the Chaffin property that the MDAH Historic Resources Database throws up its hands and says “location not documented.” Because no one has seen it since 1936, when HABS photographer James Butters came through, the house and barn probably belong to our Lost Mississippi series. The house appears to have begun as an I-house, defined as a residence only one-room deep and at least two rooms wide, covered with a side-gabled roof. In this case, the HABS data sheet tells us that a gallery wrapped around to three sides of the house. Typically, Mississippi I-houses have a center hall, and that seems to be the case here with the Chaffin house (see the longer facade on the right). But then there’s an oddity in the doorway beside the chimney leading out onto what is the side porch, even though it’s front and center in this photo, and a rear one-story wing stretches off to the far left, probably a kitchen that began as a detached building and was later connected. Butters was more interested in the log barn, where he took the time to take a detail shot of the half-dovetail joints at the corners. Notice also the barn’s stone pier foundation.

Perspective View. - Chaffin House & Barn, Liberty, Amite County, MS. James Butters, HABS photographer, April 4, 1936.

Perspective View. – Chaffin House & Barn, Liberty, Amite County, MS. James Butters, HABS photographer, April 4, 1936.

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PERSPECTIVE VIEW. – Chaffin House & Barn, Liberty, Amite County, MS. James Butters, HABS photographer, April 4, 1936.

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(DETAIL VIEW OF CORNER OF BARN) – Chaffin House & Barn, Liberty, Amite County, MS. James Butters, HABS Photographer, April 4, 1936.

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More about the Chaffin House and Barn:



Categories: Architectural Research, Cool Old Places

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3 replies

  1. Wow, Wow, Wow!!! What an amazing complex this was. Makes me want to drive and look for it!!! Does anyone have a clue as to where this was?

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  2. ELM, I suspect that the core of the house had a hall-and-parlor floorplan rather than a central hallway floorplan. Both of course would have had a central front door, but the former consisted of two rooms, one (the “hall”) being wider and wide enough to sufficiently span the central axis as to allow a central door. Based on my experience, Amite County had far more hall-and-parlor houses than central hallway houses for the 19th century. Kitchens separated from the main house by a breezeway, as seen in this house, were also quite common.

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