21 Southern mansions & plantation homes from the Old South

Longwood Plantation in spring, Natchez, Mississippi

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As you can see here, there was no single architectural style of these Southern mansions & plantation homes — but what they all had in common is that they were intended to be beautiful and showy.

Rosemont historic mansion in Forkland, Alabama

Also known as “Grand Mansion of Alabama,” this Greek Revival-style mansion features 20 rooms and sits on 3,000 acres.

Location: County Road 20, Forkland, Greene County, Alabama

Open to the public: No

Rosemont historic mansion, Eutaw, Alabama

Mobile, Bragg-Mitchell Mansion

One of the most popular tourist sites in Mobile, this beautiful mansion is near the ocean and surrounded by massive old oak trees.

Location: 1906 SpringHill Ave, Mobile, AL 36607

Open to the public: Yes

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, Mobile, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama: The Governor’s Mansion

Originally built in 1911, and replaced in 1950, this historical home features 17 rooms, gardens, a pool, guest home, and tennis courts.

Location: 1142 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104

Open to the public: Yes

The Governor's Mansion in Montgomery, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, President’s mansion (University of Alabama)

The President’s Mansion is one of the few buildings that survived the burning of the campus in 1865.

Location: University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Open to the public: Yes

President's mansion, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Rhodes Hall in Atlanta, Georgia

The Rhodes Hall mansion on Peachtree Street — once a symbol of “Old South” refinement in Atlanta —  features stained glass and other medievalism and late Victorian architectural type features.

Location: 1516 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30309

Open to the public: Yes

Website: rhodeshall.org

The Rhodes Hall mansion in Atlanta Georgia

D.A. Jewell mansion in Chickamauga, Georgia

The D.A. Jewell mansion, built in 1912 for one of the owners of the Crystal Springs finishing and textile mill in Chickamauga, Georgia. It later became a vacation rental property.

Location: 105 Cove Rd, Chickamauga, GA 30707

Open to the public: No

D.A. Jewell mansion, built in 1912 for one of the owners of the Crystal Spings finishing and textile mill in Chickamauga, Georgia

MORE: 16 beautiful Victorian homes & mansions in old Detroit from the early 1900s

Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, Georgia

The old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, which was the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868 (notably during the American Civil War).

Location: 120 S Clarke St, Milledgeville, GA 31061

Open to the public: Yes

Website: www.gcsu.edu/mansion

The old Governor's Mansion in Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia from 1804 to 1868, notably during the American Civil War

Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. The official residence of the governor of Mississippi was completed in 1841 to a design by state architect William Nichols, and is a prominent example of Greek Revival architecture.

Location: 300 E Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39201

Open to the public: Yes

Website: mdah.ms.gov/new/visit/governors-mansion/

The Mississippi Governor's Mansion in Jackson

Longwood Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi

A beautiful Longwood Plantation, also known as Nutt’s Folly, in the springtime. On 86 acres of land, this mansion is well recognized for its striking appearance, with an octagon shape and byzantine-inspired dome.

Location: 140 Lower Woodville Rd, Natchez, MS 39120

Open to the public: No

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Longwood Plantation in spring, Natchez, Mississippi

Stanton Hall historic home (“Belfast”) in Natchez, Mississippi

Built in 1857, this home became the base design for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

Location: 401 High St, Natchez, MS 39120

Open to the public: Find out here

Mansion, Natchez, Mississippi

Vaile Victorian Mansion – Independence, Missouri

Vaile Mansion was built in 1881, and features Second Empire architecture with Victorian details.

Location: 1500 N Liberty St, Independence, MO 64050

Open to the public: Yes

Website: vailemansion.org

Vaile Mansion, Independence, Missouri

Raleigh, North Carolina Executive Mansion

Also known as the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion, this mansion is an elegant example of Queen Anne style architecture.

Location: 200 N Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Open to the public: Yes

Website: ncdcr.gov

North Carolina Governor's Mansion

Dunleith in Natchez, Mississippi

Dunleith Historic Inn is an antebellum mansion in Mississippi, which was built in 1856.

Location: 84 Homochitto St, Natchez, MS 39120

Open to the public: No

Dunleith antebellum mansion in Natchez, Mississippi

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Körner’s Folly (Korner’s Folly) in Kernersville, North Carolina

Featuring 22 rooms, this historic home features unconventional architecture and Victorian features.

Location: 413 S Main St, Kernersville, NC 27284

Open to the public: Yes

Website: kornersfolly.org

Korner's Folly Kernersville, North Carolina

Eastover, Kensington Plantation House – South Carolina

Kensington Plantation House, also known as Kensington Manor, is from the antebellum Kensington Planation’s history located on 175 acres of land.

Location: SC-764, Eastover, SC 29044

Open to the public: No

Kensington Manor on the antebellum Kensington Plantation, Eastover, South Carolina

The William Post Mansion – Buckhannon, West Virginia

The William Post Mansion (aka the Post Mansion Inn), is a two-story historic home renovated in 1891 with Neo-Classical Revival style.

Location: 6 Island Ave., Buckhannon, West Virginia

Open to the public: No

The William Post Mansion, also known as the Post Mansion Inn, historic home in Buckhannon, West Virginia

The West Virginia Governor’s Mansion, Charleston

Featuring 30 rooms and completed in 1925, the WV Governor’s Mansion features a ballroom, library and garden.

Location: 1716 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25305

Open to the public: Yes

The West Virginia Governor's Mansion in Charleston

Oatlands Plantation – Leesburg, Virginia

Settled on 415 acres of farmland, the Oatlands Plantation has several other buildings on its property, featuring one of the South’s oldest greenhouses.

Location: 20850 Oatlands Plantation Ln, Leesburg, VA 20175

Open to the public: Yes

Website: oatlands.org

Oatlands mansion, Leesburg, Virginia

Elmwood Mansion – Union, West Virginia

Elmwood Mansion (aka the Hugh Caperton House) is a beautiful a historic home in Union, West Virginia.

Location: 184 Elmwood Ln, Union, WV 24983

Open to the public: Yes

Website: elmwoodestate.com

Elmwood Mansion, also known as the Hugh Caperton House, a historic home in Union, West Virginia

ALSO SEE: 20 real old-fashioned Southern fruitcake recipes: Traditional Plantation-style desserts from the old South

Elmhurst Mansion – Wheeling, West Virginia

Elmhurst Mansion, also known as the House of Friendship, is a Victorian-style home that has been an assisted living residence for 130 years.

Location: 1228 National Rd, Wheeling, WV 26003

Open to the public: No

Website: elmhurstpch.com

Elmhurst Mansion, also known as the House of Friendship, in Wheeling, West Virginia

Edemar Mansion – Wheeling, West Virginia

Built in the early 1900s, the Edemar Mansion, later the Stifel Fine Arts Center, is a 2-1/2 story Classical Revival style historical home.

Location: 1330 National Rd, Wheeling, WV 26003

Open to the public: Yes

Website: Stifel Fine Arts Center

Edemar Mansion, later the Stifel Fine Arts Center, in Wheeling, West Virginia

All photos above by Carol Highsmith, via the US Library of Congress

Plantation home architecture not truly Southern (1952)

By Fred L. Halpern – The Knoxville Journal (Tennessee) July 6, 1952

Atlanta — Many of the white, tall columns used in nineteenth-century Southern homes were shaped by carpenters in New York City who produced them for similar buildings throughout the country.

The widespread belief that the Southern plantation house was a regional contribution to architecture was spiked by Prof. James Grady of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s school of architecture.

“The planters’ homes of the period between 1815 and 1855 were usually models of Greek revival architecture,” according to Professor Grady, ”and there are similar copies throughout the country.”

Grady told of a house in Raleigh, N. C., which was a typical example of the so-called Southern style, and said: “It’s an exact copy of one in Princeton, N. J., which had been built earlier.”

Antebellum plantation - Vicksburg, Mississippi (1936)
Mansion fallen into disrepair – Antebellum plantation – Vicksburg, Mississippi (1936)

The professor indicated that the common idea that the large, impressive homes were built with a view toward fighting the heat also is erroneous. He explained: “Though they had what they needed for good ventilation — high ceilings, full-length windows, large attics and double porticos — the first thing they were designed for was display.”

“Of course, there was a need for large homes on the plantations, due to large families and the custom of entertaining guests for relatively long periods of time,” Professor Grady continued: “It was fashion that dictated the style of Southern homes, though, and not the weather.

“There’s no extremely hot weather in Williamsburg, Va., and yet there are examples of Greek revival architecture there. You also find such buildings in Ohio and Michigan.”

The style now attributed to the Southern region was originally brought from England where it was popular, under the auspices of Thomas Jefferson. The British examples were known as ‘English Regency.’

“One variation is generally attributed to the South,” according to the professor, ”and that is the detached kitchen. There were the very practical considerations of odors and heat that led to this development.”

Grady concluded: “By and large, though, if a man had money and wanted to show it by building a large house, the national fashion of the time would have pointed to a Greek revival home.”

ALSO SEE: Rosedown mansion: See a restored plantation home from the Old South

Antebellum plantation - Greene County, Georgia (1937)
Old Antebellum plantation in ruins – Greene County, Georgia (1937)

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