Things for architecture-lovers to do this season

‘Tis the season for architecture lovers to get out and tour historic (and even a few newish) places around Mississippi.

"Glen Auburn" by JuralMS (Flickr)

“Glen Auburn” by JuralMS (Flickr)

Christmas in Natchez, of course, has been going on for a few weeks now, and to see their full and busy calendar, be sure to check out their website. Historic homes on tour include The Towers, Stanton Hall, Auburn, Linden, Magnolia Hall, Dunleith, among others. This Sunday, December 4, from 2:00 to 5:00, is the special Armstrong Library Tour of Homes, including Glen Auburn, Garner Home, Magnolia Cottage, and the McMullen Home. Tickets for that event are $15 and can be purchased at the library (220 S. Commerce), at the Visitor’s Center, or at any of the homes on the day of the tour.

Jackson’s annual Christmas by Candlelight, hosted by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, is on the calendar for this Friday, Dec. 2. Always popular, the tour this year will once again include the New Capitol, which was not on tour last year due to scaffolding in the Rotunda.

NewCapitolatChristmas3On Friday, December 2, the State Capitol, Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Manship House Museum, Eudora Welty House and Garden, and William F. Winter Building will be decked out in traditional holiday decorations for the twenty-first annual Christmas by Candlelight Tour. Free transportation will take visitors from site to site, with parking available at the Old Capitol and the State Capitol. The tour begins at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m.

The Mississippi State Capitol returns as a site of the Candlelight Tour this year. Music performances include “Christmas Jazz at Sunset” under the direction of Bob Davidson, director of Senate Legislative Services. The group features a rhythm section with horns and will perform in the Rotunda throughout the evening. Punch and cookies will be served.

The circa-1842 Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will be decorated with seasonal greenery. The East Garden will be open, and a very special guest from the North Pole will greet visitors. Treats prepared by Mansion chef Matt Huffman will be served along with hot chocolate. Traditional Christmas piano music will be performed inside the mansion by Dan Michael Colbert from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and Sam Brady from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, will be decked with greenery in the style used in 1840 when local women prepared the building for a visit by Andrew Jackson. Garlands will hang around the rotunda railing on the second floor and the stairwells, and wreaths will decorate the exterior of the building. Performing will be First Presbyterian Day School, 4:30-4:50; Hinds Community College Choir, 5-5:30; Isabel Elementary Choir 5:40-6:10; Mississippi Girlchoir, 6:20-6:50; Murrah Singers, 7-7:20; and Florence Elementary choir, 7:30-8:15. The Hinds Community College Brass Ensemble will play between the choir sets throughout the evening.

The 1857 Gothic Revival Manship House Museum will open its doors for a Victorian Christmas. Musical performances will include the Figgy Pudding Singers of St. Phillips Episcopal Church, 5–5:45 p.m. and the Bonnie Blue Band singing songs of the Civil War era from 6–8 p.m. Bread pudding provided by Drago’s Restaurant will be available to guests.

Visitors to the Eudora Welty House and Garden will tour the first floor of Welty’s house featuring holiday photographs and a selection of hand-crafted greeting cards from architect Hays A. Town, composer Lehman Engle, photographer Bruce Weber, artists Mildred Wolfe, Barry Moser, and Ethel Wright Mohamed. Bread pudding and hot apple cider will be served as Taylor and Valley Hildebrand provide musical entertainment.

At the William Winter Building, the ever-popular model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will also be on display. Historic holiday-themed home movies will be played and historic railroad depot photographs from around the state will be on display. There will be opportunities for photos at our selfie station. Hot apple cider will be served.

For more information about the 21st Annual Christmas by Candlelight Tour call 601-576-6800 or email

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal gives us the scoop on Holly Springs Holiday Home Tour, which includes a home decorated for Hanukkah and a home in nearby Byhalia. The homes are open Saturday, Dec. 3 (9:30 – 5:00) and Sunday, Dec. 4 (1:00 – 5:00). Tickets are on sale at the Marshall County Historical Museum at 220 E. College Ave. for $15 through Dec. 1. After Dec. 1, tickets are $20.

The homes

Hilltop, 201 Park Ave., was built in 1856 in the Greek Revival style. The Zelmans purchased the home earlier this year after moving to Holly Springs from Cincinnati.

The Magnolias (1850), Holly Springs

The Magnolias (1852), Holly Springs

The Magnolias, 305 Craft St., was built in 1852 by W. F. Mason, one of the founding fathers of Holly Springs. The Gothic Revival home boasts intricate New Orleans-influenced cast iron posts and trim said to be made at the Jones McElwain Foundry in Holly Springs. The home is owned by Frank and Genevieve Busby.

Doxey House, 150 N. Randolph, was built in 1891 by the father of Sen. Wall Doxey. It includes elements of the Prairie and Federal styles along with antebellum influences. The home is owned by Andrea Edgeworth.

Gwydir, 295 E. College Ave., was built in 1886 by James Barnett Walthall, the great-grandfather of artist Kate Freeman Clark, who lived across the street. The cottage is owned by George and Laurie Gwin, who chose the name Gwydir to honor their Welsh ancestors.

Thistledome, in Byhalia, was built in 1840 by A.L. Chalmers of South Carolina, who later became a Confederate general. The home has been restored by owners Todd and Jill Maxwell.

Wynne House, 195 Randolph St., was built in 1872 by G.A. Palm. The Italianate-style home is noted for its heavy cornice brackets. Inside is a winding staircase with mahogany railing. The home, soon to be a bed-and-breakfast, is owned by Stephen and Jan Suzette Woodgate.

McQuillin, 160 Walthall, is a raised basement house in the Greek Revival style. The house was built in the 1840s by Robert McQuillin, who owned it until 1861. The home was rebuilt in 1920 after being destroyed in a fire a year earlier. The current occupants are David Little and Tim Tatum.

Livingston, 1995 Highway 4 East, was built in 2003 by Anita and Heath Barnett in the French Country style. Built in the middle of a working pasture, it’s the newest home on this year’s tour.

The Marshall County Historical Museum website also notes that the annual Christmas Parade will be rolling around the Square on Saturday and “Tracks of Generals” will be going on at the Depot (a separate event from the home tour). See the ticket information for Tracks of Generals on the Depot’s website.

And finally, this isn’t a tour, but it might be something for our Coast readers to consider attending on December 9, 9:30 – 2:45 At the Bay St. Louis Library (312 Hwy 90).

Categories: Bay St. Louis, Gulf Coast, Heritage Tourism, Holly Springs, Jackson, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, Preservation People/Events


1 reply

  1. WOW!!! Great post full of beautiful things to go see. Thank you for gathering all of the dates and times and letting us know.


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