Tour Arlington, the mysterious abandoned mansion in Natchez, Mississippi

Explore this once-grand antebellum house

The formerly magnificent Arlington mansion in Natchez, Mississippi, is now abandoned and desolate and is regarded as one of the most significant historical structures in the region. But as Leland Kent of Abandoned Southeast recently discovered, the opulent Federal palace is falling into ruin despite its historical value. Discover the terrible history of the house and the reason this seductive Southern belle has been abandoned.

Early history

As you get closer to the abandoned brick mansion on 55 acres of neglected land, it’s difficult to ignore how dilapidated the building is. Although nothing is known about the property’s early history, local lore holds that Lewis Evans, the local sheriff, purchased the ground on which Arlington now stands in the early 1800s. In 1814, Thompson, a real estate tycoon, is said to have purchased the land.

Uncertain origins

The house’s history is a little hazy. Arlington’s National Register of Historic Places entry form suggests that, between 1816 and 1821, New Jersey native John Hampton White may have created the estate for his wife, Jane Surget White. According to some reports, the lavish design may have been the brainchild of Pierre Surget, a French immigrant, or maybe Jane herself. Whatever the case, John and Jane made the property their marriage residence, if only temporarily.

Tragedy strikes

The two-story redbrick mansion (shown above in 1934) was the site of a tragic occurrence in 1819, about the year it was intended to be completed, when John Hampton White perished in a yellow fever epidemic, foreshadowing the tragic events to come. There is a rumor that his wife Jane died unexpectedly on her first night on the land, although her gravestone indicates that she died in 1825 at the age of 38, refuting the claim.

Ruined entrance

The complete amount of the destruction is not visible until one enters the property. There are broken wooden door frames and other trash all across the entry foyer. A far cry from its opulent heyday and the soirées thrown by Janet Surget White, who belonged to one of Natchez’s wealthiest families, graffiti has been sprayed over the walls and the ceiling is seriously damaged.

Gilded splendour

When it came to designing the lavish area, Jane Surget White spared no money. Referred regarded as “the golden drawing room,” this magnificent space is reputed to have dazzled with an opulent carpet, French mirrors adorned with gold leaf, ornate cornices, floral wallpaper, and satin damask drapes.

Devastating blaze

In September 2002, disaster struck again as a destructive fire tore through Arlington, destroying most of the upper level and the roof. Though it wasn’t totally destroyed, the ground floor also suffered significant damage. Thankfully, a large number of the priceless books and artifacts in the house were saved and subsequently repaired.

Action taken

The property had no insurance when it caught fire, and a major refurbishment would probably cost a lot of money. According to The Natchez Democrat, the Natchez Preservation Commission even went so far as to file a lawsuit against Dr. Vaughan for demolition by neglect after he was allowed to deteriorate.

A legal lifebelt

In an interview with The Natchez Democrat, City Planner Riccardo Giani claimed that Dr. Vaughan had not responded to requests for renovations to the mansion. As a result, legal actions have been started, which may lead to City of Natchez officials restoring the estate and suing the owner to recoup the costs of rehabilitation through fines. Hopefully, Arlington’s fortunes turn around and the antebellum relic is brought back to its former splendor, as its future remains uncertain.

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