Next Sunday will be a different kind of home tour in Columbus. As a fundraiser for a mission trip, the First United Methodist Church is having a Christmas Tour of Homes. What makes this tour different is that the homes that will be open track almost a century of development of architectural styles in Columbus. The houses date from the early 1800s into the 20th century.
The tour includes two Antebellum homes, Snowdoun and Rosewood Manor, Ole Magnolia an Antebellum home that was later enlarged and two later though still old homes, Highland House and the First United Methodist Church Parsonage. Each has a different story to tell.
Rosewood Manor is the oldest of the homes on the tour and was built by Richard Sykes about 1835. It is one of the older brick homes in Columbus and is a Greek Revival style home which retains elements of the earlier Federal style. An early name of the house was “Bird’s Paradise” because of its extensive landscaped grounds.
Snowdoun was constructed in 1854 with an octagonal center and a diagonal Greek-cross floor plan and is an example of the Picturesque Movement. The home was built by Gov. James Whitfield who was said to have been inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello, though the home’s design actually appears to be much more like an 1847 design by H. William Ranlett for an “Anglo-Grecian Villa.”
Among the more notable events at the house was a nighttime speech from its balcony by Jefferson Davis. It is also interesting that the exterior paint color of Snowdoun in the 1880s was mustard yellow with brown trim. In 1919, the house was heavily damaged by a fire that destroyed the roof and its ornate cupola. When the second floor and roof were rebuilt the roof lines of the house were altered to its present appearance.
The fire had started in a house behind Snowdoun but the city’s old fire truck would not crank and the delay in fighting the fire allowed it to grow out of control and spread to Snowdoun. The city had a new fire truck, that probably could have extinguished the fire, sitting at the fire station behind city hall. However, it not been approved for service and the firemen were not allowed to use it.
Highland House is located on North Side just south of Lee Park. It was built on the site where one of Columbus’ most elegant Antebellum homes had once stood. In 1909, Columbus contractor W.S. Lindamood and his family were living in one of the most beautiful Antebellum homes in the town. Then, early on the morning of Wednesday, May 5, 1909, the house caught fire. The fire originated in the home’s kitchen ceiling beside a chimney flue. The fire could not be contained and the house burned to the ground.
Since the house was a total loss, Lindamood immediately pulled down the ruins of the old house and built a grand neoclassical style brick home to replace the burned mansion. In 1919, the house again caught fire but the fire was confined to the roof and quickly extinguished. The Lindamood House, now known as Highland House, survives as one of the largest neoclassical style houses in north Mississippi.
The Ole Magnolia was built in the early 1850s as a small, one-story house. In 1900, the house was purchased by Columbus mayor David McClanahan who enlarge the small antebellum structure into a large two-story mansion. Today, the footprint of that original house can be seen outlined in the pattern of the heart pine floors of the house. Also on tour is the turn of the century brick parsonage of the First United Methodist Church. It is located on Third Avenue North between Snowdoun and Ole Magnolia.
Next Sunday, Dec. 13, offers a great opportunity to see a wonderful sampling of Columbus’ historic homes while supporting a most worthy cause. Ticket information is available at the First United Methodist Church office or by calling the office at 662-328-5252.
Rufus Ward is a local historian. Email your questions about local history to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rufus Ward is a Columbus native a local historian. E-mail your questions about local history to Rufus at email@example.com.
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