I recently photographed the ruins of Windsor Mansion. Here are some interesting details about the mysterious site that I didn’t know
- The house was built in 1861, and survived the US Civil War, but was burned to the ground in 1890 as a result of worker tossing a lit cigar (or cigarette) into renovation rubble.
- Windsor Mansion was the largest and most elegant home in Mississippi, with 29 columns 40 feet tall atop 10-ft plinths.
- 23 columns are still standing on the site today
- Mark Twain visited the house and watched riverboats on the Mississippi River from the cupola.
- Smith Coffee Daniell, the property owner who commissioned and oversaw the building of the house, which took two years to build at great expense, died only a few weeks after its completion. He was only 34 years old.
- The house was constructed mostly by slave labor, built using bricks manufactured in an onsite kiln.
- Below is the only known sketch of the home in tact, drawn by a Union officer from Ohio named Henry Otis Dwight. It appears that he drew the home from the shade of a nearby giant oak tree that still stands on the location. It’s also said that the widowed homeowner Catherine Daniell took refuge under a large oak (possibly the same tree) to watch in horror as her home burned to the ground in 1890.
- When the house burned, only some pieces of china, the columns, and ironwork balustrades and staircases survived. The house was not insured. (Source)
My video tour of Windsor Ruins
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