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
Unloved and Forgotten: Fine art Photographs of Abandoned Places — My new book of photographs of abandoned places available on Amazon.
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