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Friends of the Armstrong Library

Christmas Tour of Natchez Homes 2013


2 – 5 pm on Sunday, December 8

$15 one ticket
Only $25 two tickets

Tickets can be purchased at:

  • The Armstrong Library
  • The Visitors Center
  • Any of the locations on the day of the Tour
  • May be paid by credit card at the Refreshment Center

Featured Homes

Bailey House
Holly Hedges
Carkeet House
Karlson/Walker House
Peter Isler House

Bailey House

Rodriguez

Bailey House

400 South Commerce Street
Home of Linda & Jack Rodriguez
Refreshment Center


The Bailey House, an outstanding example of Colonial Revival, was built by the Jacobs, a Jewish family influential in Natchez in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Details include columns with bold Corinthian capitals, exterior decorative ornaments, parquet floors, stained glass windows, and exceptional interior millwork.

After the Civil War, the planters ceded influence and affluence to a new merchant class, who advanced credit to planters, sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and freed slaves with repayment made at harvest. Many came here in the 1840's from Europe, escaping Jewish persecution. The second generation was very successful, numbering less than 10% of the local population, but controlling a substantial percentage of commerce.

In 1877, Adolph Jacobs operated a dry goods business, a liquor business, and a cotton warehouse. In 1912, he was president of Adolph Jacobs and Son Banking Company. His son was Albert C Jacobs, owner of Providence Plantation, president of the Natchez Cotton and Merchants’ Exchange, and a city alderman. He was the building chairman for the Prentiss Club, a private men’s club for “social and literary purposes”. The membership of the Prentiss Club is indicative of the Jewish experience—half of the founding members were Gentiles; half were Jewish.

Adolph and Betty Jacobs moved to New Orleans after the boll weevil decimated the Natchez economy and the house changed ownership several times. By 1950, Herbert and Freddie Bailey acquired the house for both a residence and business location. Herbert headed Bailey Construction Company and Freddie operated a clothing store in the house named “Tot, Teen, and Mom”. She also became well known for “Aunt Freddie’s Hot Pepper Jelly” and wrote cookbooks. The Bailey family sold the house after Aunt Freddie’s death in 1992. Today the house is home to Dr Jack and Linda Rodriquez and their four daughters.

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Carkeet House 

Painting of Carkeet House
Painting of the Carkeet House by local artist Sherri Crabtree

Hudsons

Carkeet House

308 Washington Street
Home of Susan & John Hudson

In 1992, John and Susan Hudson purchased a house that had been the home of the John Carkeet family for over a century, dating to the late 1880s. John Carkeet was a member of a family of English-born craftsmen. His son John became a U. S. citizen in 1859 and later enlisted in the Confederate Natchez Rifles.

John the son was the husband of four women between 1857 and his death in 1896. A plasterer, he also worked as an undertaker. His business was near the Natchez Drug Company, and he was a casualty of its explosion.

His daughters, Katie and Rose, lived together most of their lives at 308 Washington Street. Katie married much older Otis Ogden, who died in 1929. Rose never married and was a respected educator in Natchez until her death in 1969.

Katie Ogden was a very influential member of the Carkeet family. In 1954, her obituary’s headline read “Big Loss to Community.” Although she had no children of her own, Katie devoted herself to taking care of needy children. She served on many boards, including the Natchez Protestant Home, Associated Charities, Natchez Cemetery, Natchez Hospital, and King’s Daughters Home. She was a charter member of the Natchez Garden Club.

Their brother John Lamar Carkeet (1888-1981) married Anna Rose Smith (1897-1980). Their granddaughters, Anna Rose Davis and Rowan Milton, still reside in Natchez.

Lamar and his two sisters were lifelong members of Trinity Episcopal Church. He was long affiliated with Marx and Scharff, a wholesale dealer that operated in Natchez for approximately a century.

The Carkeet House currently serves as the entertainment capital of the neighborhood!

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Holly Hedges

Kochek

Holly Hedges

214 Washington Street
Home of Alan Kochek

Holly Hedges is an outstanding example of Federal style architecture. In 1796, John Scott, a carpenter at the Spanish fort, was granted the property with the stipulation that he not allow bull fighting in the side yard. He built a simple house that was replaced by his widow Susan around 1805.

Holly Hedges appears in John James Audubon’s 1822 landscape of Natchez as a simple, gabled roof cottage built close to the street. James Tooley’s 1835 Natchez landscape depicts the house as it looks today with its rear wing topped by twin gabled roofs.

Before its enlargement, Holly Hedges exhibited the typical early Natchez floor plan with a short, narrow front hall set between two rooms and a wider, possibly open, back hall or loggia, flanked by small cabinet rooms. Its most architecturally significant feature is its beautifully detailed fanlighted doorways. An elliptical fanlight crowns the main entrance doorway, which is flanked by sidelights decorated with hollow-sided diamonds. This is repeated at the back of the front hall and again at the rear of the dining room.

Edward Turner acquired the property in 1818. He held many offices including mayor of Natchez and Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. He deeded Holly Hedges to his daughter Mary Louisa and her husband John T McMurran. They sold Holly Hedges when they moved into Melrose in 1848.

Holly Hedges was restored in the mid 20th century by interior designer Earl Hart Miller, who added the dormer windows to the front. The house is today the home of Alan Kochek, who generously shares his home with the Natchez community.  

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Karlson Walker House

Karlson Walker

Karlson/Walker House

700 State Street
Home of Keith Karlson & Al Walker

The three houses going north from the corner of State and Rankin were built about 1880 by Robert Dixon as rental properties. Robert Dixon was the first of three generations who were noted members of the community.

The Karlson/Walker house on the corner has been a chameleon, changing from a home to a boarding house in the 1940’s and 1950’s, to the Hope Rescue Mission in the 1960’s, to an unlivable wreck which was rescued in the 1970’s by Joe and Merrill Meng. Carol and Braxton Hobdy bought the home in 1984, and Carol did some of the carpentry work in the house. Two coal burning fireplaces were turned into a see through fireplace and the front porch was removed. The front door and side windows were added, giving the home a Federal appearance. The current owners, Keith Karlson and Al Walker bought the house in 2006. They found the former Hope Rescue Mission to be fitting home for two refugees from Katrina. They have an outstanding collection of artwork. A favorite piece is the hunt board in the dining room. It was used outdoors for hunters to ride by for a mint julep without dismounting from their horses. The front of the piece contains the state seal of Georgia.

The owners are also opening “The Little Brick”, a shotgun house on South Rankin which was once owned by the Daughters of the Confederacy. It contains chandeliers from Dunleith and an 18th century Neapolitan Presepio (nativity) set.

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Peter Insler House

Punches

Peter Isler House

508 Washington Street
Home of Stephanie & Robin Punches

The ownership records of 508 Washington Street, now the home of Stephanie and Robin Punches, read like a Who’s Who of Natchez history. Originally a Spanish land grant, the site was purchased in 1817 by Peter Isler, the official printer for the Mississippi Territory. It was largely wilderness, threaded by bridle paths.

In 1819, Joseph Quegles of Spain bought the property and townhouse and commissioned the noted artist, John J Audubon, to teach his daughter music and drawing. Audubon lived in a dependency behind the house.

Upon Joseph’s death, his estate sold the home to Emilie Profilet, a native of France who had married Quegles’ daughter, Melanie. Owner of a prosperous jewelry business, Profilet entertained world-renowned celebrities, including Prince Murat, nephew of Napoleon, with whom he had served during the Napoleonic wars.

Gerard Brandon, son of the first governor of Mississippi, bought the house in 1858, for use as his townhouse while maintaining Brandon Hall, as well as plantations on both sides of the river.

The Brandons sold the home to a wealthy bachelor, A D Rawlings. It later passed to Sophie Wright Mounger. In 1891, the photographer, Henry C Norman purchased the house. The Norman photographs portray an invaluable glimpse into Natchez history. Dr. Tom Gandy and his wife Joan restored many of the photos, some of which are exhibited at the Stratton Chapel gallery of First Presbyterian Church.

Later owners included Judge William Martin of Montaigne and his wife Elizabeth of Stanton Hall and Aylette Conner Quinn of Linden and the widow of well-known Congressman Percy Quinn. In the early 20th century, the house was raised to a full two stories. An original dormer window from the original house remains intact on the stair landing.

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