Framing: Arlington Plantation

The remains of the transom above what was a grand entry way.

Built in the early 1800’s, Arlington Plantation sits on 55 acres in Natchez, Mississippi.

Architecturally, she is described as a Federal style home. Regardless of what design she was built, she has withstood neglect, fire and exposure to the elements. Over 200 years have passed. Civil War, World Wars I & II, civil unrest, civil rights, equal rights. All during her lifetime. And she still stands.

Arlington is currently owned by a Dr. Thomas A. Vaughn, and reports list the home has been in his family over 80 years. Articles list he has lived in Gulfport, MS and Jackson, MS. Purportedly he grew up in Arlington, and an open letter in The Natchez Democrat from a prior classmate pleads with Dr. Vaughn to rescue Arlington from ruin. Published July 5, 2013:

I haven’t lived in Natchez for 45 years, but I still follow some of the events and activities back there.  For the past few years I have followed the tragedy around the burning of “Arlington.”
That house was a treasure, and I know you treasured it.  We played there as kids.  I came to your birthday party on the back lawn.  You described to me its history, including how the mirrors were buried in the garden to protect them from Union attack.  I particularly remember a suit of armor in the main foyer.
We were in Cub Scouts together, with Jim Blough – now Judge Blough – who you are now obligated to face in court.  His dad was our pack leader.
This letter is not about property rights and obligations.  It is about remembering.  And I am not addressing it to Dr. Thomas Vaughn in a gated community in Jackson.  I am addressing it to Tom Vaughn, Braden Elementary School, Cub Pack 166.  And I will say it the way kids today would say it:  “Dude, what IS your problem???!!!
Your Friend,
Neal Nathanson
Faintly, you can still see the wallpaper pattern and border.

Without much attempt, you can find pleadings such as this; as well as frustration due to attempts by members of the community and organizations have exhausted attempts to rescue her from ruin.

Years of vandalism and the fire of 2002 really have done a number to her interior, but her walls still stand steady and proud.

Walking around her interior there is so much of her grandeur that is still fighting for existence. The ornate carvings on what is left of the staircase. The wallpaper pattern and border in the Drawing Room.

I just cannot even fathom to think if at some point and time in the 20-plus years of attempt to save her what she would look like. If her chandelier still hung in the foyer instead of the single remaining chain. If the trees and landscape were still manicured and maintained.

I am left to wonder the thought process would allow the level of selfishness to destroy this treasure.

Photos by Terri Witt and can only be used with permission.

Additional resources and content:

Historic Arlington, Home To Raccoons Now

Blink Twice and Arlington Might Vanish…

Uninsured Natchez antebellum home goes up in flames

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