Monday, July 7, 2014

Curb Appeal -- Natchez Style

Natchez, Mississippi, is a photographer's treasure trove of "pictures waiting to be taken."  I never fail to find new and interesting things and places to capture with my camera when I'm there.  My favorite subjects to photograph are the houses of Natchez ... both great and small, and I'd like to share a few of the pictures I captured on a recent photo shoot.

Crape Myrtles aren't the only colorful things to be found in Natchez. These three brightly-painted houses have almost a tropical look to them, complete with palm trees and banana plants.  According to the Historic Resources Inventory of Mississippi Department of Archives and History, these three houses were built in 1910, and are part of the “Upriver Residential Historic District.”


Holly Hedges, ca 1796 (or possibly 1818) 
The side garden features an English boxwood garden in the shape of a British flag.

Cherokee, ca 1794-1810
 I love the ivy-covered steps leading up to the house.
 This next house is surrounded by magnificent old live oak trees, and is for sale for $425,000.

This stately Victorian has recently undergone an amazing transformation.
 This is the way it looked in March 2008 ...
Here are some of the other houses that caught my eye as we drove through some of the neighborhoods.

Mellon House, ca 1976-1831
 Mose Beer, ca 1901
 Rehn House, ca 1885
 Rosehaven, ca 1902
Griffith-McComas House, ca 1793

I've saved my favorites for last -- the small cottages and cabins that are found "in the shadows" of the "great houses" that visitors most often choose to tour during their stay in Natchez.   It's these smaller houses, brimming with personality and charm, that seem to call out to me ... with their picket fences and cottage gardens and simple architectural details.  I just can't resist capturing them in pictures, and I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Early 1700s
I love the tin roof over the stoop of this little shotgun house,
and the pretty Crape Myrtle beside the door.

One of my favorite houses in Natchez.
It is especially pretty in the Fall when the leaves on the two
Japanese Maples flanking the front of the house turn a dark maroon.

And last, but certainly not least ...
Rosehill Cottage, ca 1950
 The epitome of what a cottage should be ...
complete with vine-covered walls, roses, and a white picket fence!
I'm sure the awnings are there to cut down on energy costs,
but I think if it were mine, I would have to remove them to
show off that pretty little bay window with the lamp in it.

Otherwise, it is perfect!
I hope you enjoyed my tour of some of the neighborhoods of Natchez.  I think I could go back a hundred times and still find new "pictures waiting to be taken."  In fact, I've already started a new list for next time!


Stacey said...

Beautiful! Everything from a tiny little cabin to huge Victorians. I'm convinced that if there's a beautiful tree or crape myrtle then any house is gorgeous.

racheld said...

Enough charm and history for a hundred photo-arrays, and I know them, every single one. Not necessarily THAT house, of course, but the solid, foursquare bricks, and the stately Victorians and those columns and gardens and house shapes and porches---all hold a place in my memory file of times ago.

The first three just captured my imagination for the longest look, I think---those old double-draft-doors on the front---how many of us have run in one and out the other, past the parlor or living room furniture, the old flat maroon couch and platform rockers and smoking stand, in and around and out past the almost-ebony bedroom "suit" with the posts tall as fishing poles, as we chased each other, a fly, Summer and sheer exhilaration in the flap of screen and slap of sandals.

The third one down is any-small-town, with its modern nods of dish and security sign and square, strong swing and rockers from the Right Store, with the huge-screen match in the living room, and the little punch-in box on the wall--no hiding the NOW.

The middle one could have been picked up six blocks from any beach in the South, in flamingo colors and sharp-edged palms and a jaunty flag. The unapologetic utility of the gaudy cooler and the mismatched chairs bespeak a casual, beachy life, though far from the sea.

And the first---oh, my heart and memory go back and back to the first (you DO know how to lead with the star), needs only a big round "COCA-COLA" sign in the blue peak, and a little "NEHI" strip across the screen door. I could walk right in there to the scents of dry beans in tubs, uncovered candy in the case, and the unmistakable banana/babydoll/ Chesterfields/dry fabric scents of any small-town store of the Fifties.

Even the staunch old rockers on the porch are real, with a butt-sway and a time-wear to the finish that could be of any era.

I love all of these, and can remember memories not even my own, of each and all. You're a conjuror, you are.


Merisi said...

Natchez sure is a treasure trove of architectural gems!
Love the three small bungalows with the Caribbean flair, they remind me of Barbados.

Sue said...

Beautiful as always, Janie, I can only imaging how beautiful they were in person! I am always partial to victorian homes! but the small simple ones have an elegance of their own, can you imagine the stories all of these houses could tell! Thanks for sharing, it looks like you are having a great summer.

betsy said...

I typed in "Southern cottage gardens" and your wonderful blog popped up. What a great tour of Natchez! I look forward to going back into you archives.

So charming!