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Friends of the Armstrong Library

Christmas Tour of Natchez Homes 2011

2011 Christmas Tour of Homes

2 - 5 pm on Sunday, December 4 

$15 one ticket 
Only $25 two tickets

Tickets can be purchased at the Library, 
the Visitors Center, 
or at the homes on the day of the Tour.

See article in the Natchez Democrat.

See pictures from the Tour.

Featured Homes

Callon House
Doyle House
Maples House
Staniforth House

Refreshments served at Stratton Chapel

Callon House

Callon House

400 South Pearl Street 
Home of Katherine & Lindsey Callon

This Greek Revival cottage was built for Thomas and Elizabeth Mackin. The construction and cost are documented in an 1852 lawsuit. A deposition filed by the Mackins states they built a "Dwelling House" valued at $3,000 and "Fencing & Out Houses" valued at $1,000, after buying the property at a sheriff's sale in 1841. Andrew Brown Sawmill Papers record sales of building materials, including a large amount of interior plastering lath indicating that the house was completed in 1843.

The 1850 census shows both Thomas and Elizabeth were born in Ireland. The quality of Mackin's house indicates that he was probably a levee contractor who boarded his levee workers on the property. Levee building was a common profession for Irish immigrants in river towns.

In 1858, the Mackin’s sold their residence to Ansel H. Kendrick for $3,200 who sold to Cade L. Holden in 1877 and it remained in the family until 1901. It was last the property of Eulalie Holden Reed and husband Richard F Reed, who published the pamphlet, The Natchez country; from the settlement by the French to the admission of Mississippi as a state.

The house sold frequently until Lindsey and Katherine Callon bought the house in 2009 and created the attractive historic cottage. Its restrained Grecian simplicity features a simple portico sheltering the doorway set within sidelights and transom. Well-detailed dormers light the upper half story.  An original two-room dependency was later relocated to the rear of Pleasant Hill.

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Doyle House

Doyle House

704 State Street 
Home of Chesney & Marc Doyle

One of three, almost identical, two story houses built by J Foggo Dixon in 1880, 704 retains its original front porch and Victorian gingerbread. In 2007, Marc and Chesney Blankenstein Doyle undertook a complete renovation. In Spring 2011, they finally moved in with their twins.  

Keeping the original footprint of the house, the Doyles created a three bedroom/three bath home with all modern amenities. Seven roofs were removed to install new architectural shingle.  Central air and heat were added for the first time.  

The family has been in the home since 1939. Her mother (Kathie Boatner) lived there until she married Rawdon Blankenstein in 1957. Their four children knew 704 as “Gram and Biggie’s house.” Their grandmother and great-aunt had always run a tight ship, evidenced by the typewritten “Privileges and Rules of this Playroom” from 1942 that Gram created for Kathie and her playmates, including “P.S. When grown-ups want to use the front gallery please vacate!”  

Wednesday was Gram and Biggie Day. Sliding down the banisters was allowed with adult assistance. Wooden blocks tied to socked feet with string were ice skates for sliding across the wool rugs. Gram even convinced the children that wire-brushing the mildew off patio bricks was fun!  

 The dining table, a favorite gathering spot, was on the steamboat Springer when it sank near Rodney. The table was rescued and sold it to Chesney’s great-grandfather, Alfred Vidal Davis of Tacony Plantation in Vidalia.  

Tour hostesses include Kathie Boatner Blankenstein’s childhood friends, all of whom were subject to the 1942 Rules.

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Maples House

Maples House

506 Orleans Street 
Home of Lisa & Ken Maples

This property has links to several families with long histories in Natchez, including the Pattersons, Reeds, and Brandons. In 1882, James William Henry Patterson and his wife Sarah Love Reed bought the property on Orleans Street from Rachael O’Conley. He borrowed money on the property in July 1885 to build the house. James was owner of Chamberlain & Patterson Dry Goods Company on Main Street with his partner James Chamberlain.

Ken and Lisa Maples acquired the house in 2008. They have updated the swimming pool and added a spa and landscaping to the backyard. They recently restored the front porch to its original period style and are in the process of adding an outdoor kitchen and living space to the rear of the house. 

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Standiforth House

Staniforth House

315 North Rankin Street 
Home of Kirk Bondurant & Bruce Zabov

Built in 1852, the Staniforth House is a classic Greek revival brick cottage. Thomas Staniforth, its builder, was a Natchez contractor/builder who lavished extra attention on what was a comparatively modest house for the time and neighborhood, probably because it served to advertise his business.  Original casings highlight the large windows across the front, and fireplaces grace several rooms.

Large antique salvaged windows have been added to the kitchen, providing a lovely view across the back gallery and walled garden toward Holy Family Church.  Other particularly attractive touches are the decorative painted paneling restored in the dining room and the faux stone walls in the entrance hall. Beautiful cypress cabinets complete the kitchen. The modern and handsomely upgraded baths make this home truly comfortable.

Many Natchezians will remember a previous owner repainting the bricks. An article in the Natchez Democrat in 2001 indicated that he had found photographs in Dr. Thomas Gandy’s collection including one taken by Marshall Gurney in April 1865, showing the front and northwest sides of the house. The walls were brick with a white cornice along the side.

The people staffing the house on the day of the tour include some of the people who did the actual restoration work on the house.

The Staniforth house is the home of Kirk Bondurant and Bruce Zabov. They have restored it carefully. Furnishings include antiques as well as interesting artifacts and memorabilia from years of living in Key West and Costa Rica.

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Stratton Chapel

Stratton Chapel
(Refreshment Center)

405 State Street
Located in the First Presbyterian Church

Located behind the Federal style First Presbyterian Church downtown and across from City Hall is an outstanding collection of photographs taken from as early as 1840 and offering a grand depiction of life in Natchez over the course of its early history. The collection boasts over 500 photographs of steamboat activities along the river, the families and homes of Natchez, and downtown Natchez as it once looked in the days of old. The collection for viewing is made possible through the generosity of the late Dr Thomas Gandy and his wife Joan who spent many years restoring the photographic works of Henry and Earl Norman. 

Refreshments will be served to the accompaniment of organ music.

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Click here to see pictures from the Tour.