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Friends of the Armstrong Library

Christmas Tour of Natchez Homes 2017


2 - 5 pm on Sunday, December 3

$20 ticket for all 4 homes

Tickets can be purchased at:

  • The Armstrong Library
  • The Visitors Center
  • Any of the locations on the day of the Tour

Featured Homes

Bluff Top
Sweet Olive
Clovernook
Ravennaside

Click for Google Map to the houses (Coming)

Click on any house picture for a larger view.

Bluff Top

Located in Clifton Heights Historic District

Bluff Top

205 Clifton Avenue
Home of Neil Varnell

Owner Neil Varnell welcomes guests to Bluff Top Bed & Breakfast, a restored 1894 Victorian home with beautiful gardens with possibly the best view  in Natchez of the Mississippi River . From atop a 200 foot bluff, experience the mighty river as barges and boats ply its waters. Be mesmerized by the every changing panorama of water, land, and sky as the river reflects the colors of the sunsets across the horizon. 19th century furnishings collected in America and abroad complement the carefully restored Victorian home and its welcoming garden. Noted for its full Southern breakfast served on several different full sets of china.  

 

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Sweet Olive

Located in Downtown Residential Historic District

Sweet Olive

507 South Union Street
Home of Carol Williamson Bates

Sweet Olive is the home of Carol Williamson Bates. Carol, a member of the infamous last class (1961) of Natchez High, has followed many of her classmates in returning home. She has put her own decorating stamp on this Victorian home. The name of her home is derived from the fragrant sweet olive trees in the front. Her home reflects her eclectic taste and her extensive travels with her late husband Gene, also a Natchez native. As an added bonus, Katherine Garner Warren, another ‘61 classmate, will be displaying her beautiful original artwork.  

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Clovernook

Located in Downtown Residential Historic District

Clovernook

523 South Union Street
Home of Missy & Walter Brown

(Description coming soon)

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Ravennaside

Located in Downtown Residential Historic District

Ravennaside

601 South Union Street
Home of Wanda & Ricky Smith

1902 Ravennaside, built on property associated with the historic house Ravenna, is a significant example of the Colonial Revival Style. The house is closely associated with Roane Fleming Byrnes (1890-1970). She was famous for her leadership efforts in the creation and promotion of the Natchez Trace Parkway and was championed in her efforts by President Franklin Roosevelt. After the 2011 death of the fifth owner, antique dealer Buzz Harper, Ravennaside stood empty until 2016, when it was purchased by current owners Wanda & Ricky Smith. They have completed a major rehabilitation of the house and its landscape. Despite a recent fire, they are welcoming holiday guests.  

 

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Clifton Heights Historic District

Bluff Top is located in Clifton Heights Historic District, which is one of the first subdivisions built in Natchez. It was developed by Isaac Lowenburg & Henry Frank, prominent Natchez merchants. The land was acquired from the Surget family, whose magnificent mansion Clifton was the only home destroyed by the Union Army during the occupation of Natchez—reportedly due to a commander not receiving a party invitation. This district includes significant examples of Queen Ann and Colonial Revival architecture, as well as the only Natchez examples of Tudor and Shingle styles. The area was almost lost when the famous loess soil caused erosion so severe that portions of Clifton Avenue collapsed.  Fortunately, it was repaired and restored.

Downtown Residential Historic District

 Sweet Olive, Clovernook, and Ravennaside are located close to one another on South Union Street in what is called the Downtown Residential Historic District. Most of the area was part of the antebellum estate of the Nathanial Harrison family, the major portion of which was subdivided into building lots in 1883. When the subdivision streets were named, they became the southern extension of the grid plan already in place. This has led to occasional confusion, as the streets were sometimes constricted or interrupted by bayous and railroad tracks of the new Orleans & North West Railroad (later the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad).