Southern charm...

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Flag of United States  , Mississippi
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Our next stop in Columbus (no not Ohio, but Mississippi still) was another wonderful find. http://www.columbus-ms.org/about_columbus/index.html
If you do browse this link, what it won't give you is the relaxed feel of a town packed with southern charm. In the warm spring sunshine - that probably helped a lot - we bathed in this as we wandered around the downtown area. (It really did have an historic downtown Gill!) I half expected one of those gracious southern belles to come gliding and swishing around a corner at any moment. We're suckers for interesting architecture, so we were spoilt at every turn.








Could we live here - probably - though when we learned that the summer temperature hits 3 digits we did have a re think. It is neat and tidy, even on the outskirts, there seems to be few of the 'shacks' that we have often witnessed. Flourishing with its mix of history and new industries it seems to have the balance just right. Eager to explore some of these antebellum homes we abandoned our walking tour, had a bite of lunch and headed off to Waverley mansion, which was completed in 1852.
It is one of the most photographed antebellum homes in the South and features a self-supporting curved stairway and an octagonal cupola.'









 

I can't give you a link because they do not have a web site and since it is a family home we couldn't take piccies inside which was a real shame as it was 'awesome'. This page does give some background http://www.wpnet.org/waverley_mansion.htm Melissa Rodreguez
our very knowledgeable guide is a friend of the family who grew up with their children, she brought the house alive in the way that only someone who cares can do. Lapsing into an even slower southern draw as she relayed stories of its past and the people who had once lived here she took us back to the time when it was the hub of a large cotton plantation, the centre of a community of over 300 slaves and many tenant farmers. She told us the tale of Belle Edmondson, a confederate spy who took refuge in the house and you can catch a glimpse of her at www.civilwarwomenblogspot.com
I could wax lyrical for pages. But I'll spare you that, here's the gist:
The original owner Col.Young bought the land, 50.000 acres way before 1852 for $1.25 an acre
Located on the Tombigbee river it had direct link to Mobile and the world beyond.
House stays a cool 15 degrees below outside temperature because of its 'funnel' design.
Complex included; brickworks, tanning shop, flour mill and its own cotton gin.
When the last son died, his sister did not want to live there so the house stood empty for 50 odd years.
In all that time despite 'visits' from students, hunters, wildlife and vegetation virtually no damage was done.
Of all the spindles in the staircase (hand turned by the slaves from mahogany, rosewood and I think walnut) only 3 were missing
Only 3 windows were broken - can you imagine something like that surviving at home?
The present owner Mr. Snow and his wife bought the house in the 60's and began to renovate it, filling it with the antiques that would have been found in it in its heyday. It has indeed been a labour of love!
 
We had a great camp site just outside Columbus, another of those State parks we love so much - almost on our own (maybe we're not really sociable people after all!) Malc found some more feathered friends













It (the park) also had something I've never seen before, though Malc and Leo assure me it's not unusual...






 
 
Our stops are somewhat arbitrary now as we start the home run, in fact we very nearly did a 200 mile detour on leaving Columbus, we happened to hear an article on the local news about a restaurant celebrating it's 40th anniversary. So what? I hear you say, well here's the short story... it was the original 'Whistle Stop Café' that became 'Fried Green Tomatoes' of the book and film that took its name. Having watched and enjoyed the film only last week and not having eaten fried green tomatoes yet - it was very tempting! However common sense (and the price of the 'gas' prevailed) So we're off to Montgomery in Alabama.
See you there.
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