Lost Plantations of the South

Marc R. Matrana

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1578069424

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The great majority of the South's plantation homes have been destroyed over time, and many have long been forgotten. In Lost Plantations of the South, Marc R. Matrana weaves together photographs, diaries and letters, architectural renderings, and other rare documents to tell the story of sixty of these vanquished estates and the people who once called them home.

From plantations that were destroyed by natural disaster such as Alabama’s Forks of Cypress, to those that were intentionally demolished such as Seven Oaks in Louisiana and Mount Brilliant in Kentucky, Matrana resurrects these lost mansions. Including plantations throughout the South as well as border states, Matrana carefully tracks the histories of each from the earliest days of construction to the often contentious struggles to preserve these irreplaceable historic treasures. Lost Plantations of the South explores the root causes of demise and provides understanding and insight on how lessons learned in these sad losses can help prevent future preservation crises. Capturing the voices of masters and mistresses alongside those of slaves, and featuring more than one hundred elegant archival illustrations, this book explores the powerful and complex histories of these cardinal homes across the South.

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landscape than the plantation mansion. Traditionally, most scholarship has focused on the plantation mansion itself for several reasons. First, the great houses were more likely to survive than the rest of the plantation complex. Secondly, plantation mansions were usually the most elaborate and arguably the more architecturally interesting structures on the plantation. And finally, until recently, most scholarship and local history focused on the lives of the white masters rather than their

one is to accept that history is written in architecture, then it is paramount that one consider lost architecture along with extant structures in order to fully grasp a comprehensive and accurate picture of the past. The stories of these plantations—their emergences and their ultimate devastations—seek to augment those sagas of remaining southern estates, which often receive a relative lion’s share of attention. Some of these plantations were destroyed even before the Civil War, but most

widow, Catherine, took up management of the plantation. She received two visits from George Washington in 1791. He came in grand style with carriages and wagons commanded by drivers, coachmen, footmen, and a valet all dressed in fancy red and white uniforms. These visits are said to have inspired Catherine Greene to continue her efforts to profit from the plantation. She appointed Phineas Miller, her children’s Yale-educated tutor, as her plantation manager, undertaking day-to-day operations of

pound, Page’s much-prized variety sold for a whopping fifty cents per pound. The plantation house had been built by Spalding, after the estate’s original residence had been destroyed in a coastal storm. The newer house was a replica of Orange Hall, Oglethorpe’s West Indies–style house in Frederica. This raised cottage was one and a half stories, with a full basement and shuttered porches. A two-story building called Grasshopper Hall was connected to the rear of the main house by a breezeway. It

with the search for Merrill found her body in a thicket. She had been shot to death. The story was a sensation, making headlines across the world. Readers were fascinated by the high society crime and the eccentric individuals involved. One person who read these headlines was the chief of police of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He immediately called the Natchez sheriff, explaining that the night before one of his officers had shot and killed a man named George Pearls, after Pearls had pulled a gun on the

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