Sweet Auburn is 1 of 3 new houses on tourPublished 12:05am Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Pilgrims — and the natives — will have the opportunity to view three new houses on tour this year for Fall Pilgrimage.
The Coyle House, Sweet Auburn and Ravenna will join 16 other historic houses on a three-week tour period, Sept. 27 through Oct. 14.
Sweet Auburn was set to be on tour last year, but owner Marlon Copeland fell from a ladder, injuring himself, and forcing the Copelands to forego Fall Pilgrimage.
“We’re glad to be back this year,” Charlotte Copeland said.
Copeland said Sweet Auburn, which was home to Dr. John Wesley Monette, includes multiple historic sites on one property. Sweet Auburn, she said, features beautiful grounds, a cemetery and Monette’s library and medical office.
“You get a broad look at a very specific time in history and very unique man,” Copeland said.
Monette was a physician, epidemiologist, author, historian and advocated for and publicized the benefits of quarantine in controlling yellow fever.
Copeland said Sweet Auburn also gives visitors a look at a historic house outside of Natchez.
“We are in Washington, which at the time our house was built, was the cultural center as well as the capital (of Mississippi). People get to see a different segment of this area and the grandeur of it.”
Ravenna owner Dr. Diana Wilson said she is looking forward to opening her home to visitors.
“What is neat is that it’s a home not a museum,” she said. “What has been special for us is that we’ve made it comfortable and welcoming. It’s clearly suited for everyday living, but it has also been restored and everything is in keeping with historical design.”
Pilgrimage guests will have access to all areas of the house.
“Nothing will be roped off,” she said.
Ravenna offers visitors a look at a downtown historic house that has the feel of a country home.
“It’s really an oasis because you’re in downtown Natchez, but we have three acres so it’s like you’re out in the country,” she said.
Visitors to the Coyle House will get a peek at a space that was once home to a tavern in the early 1800s.
Marcia Adams, owner of the Coyle House, said Philip and Mary Engel acquired the house in 1806.
After Mary Engel’s death in 1823, an inventory of tavern furnishings indicated that Mary Engel operated a tavern at the Coyle House at the time of her death. Court records show that she was fined $100 in 1821 for serving liquor without at license.
The tavern is thought to have operated on the first floor of the house, which has a brick floor and brick walls.
“It almost feels like a tavern when you walk in the house,” Adams said. “You can understand why Marie had a tavern here.”
Adams said she is looking forward to meeting tourists during Pilgrimage.
“To me, the best part is meeting the tourists and finding out where they’re from and telling them about Natchez and showing them the Natchez Southern hospitality,” she said. “I think this is a very special place and a very unusual town to have such beautiful, historic homes.”
Other Fall Pilgrimage events include:
• The Natchez Little Theatre’s production of “Little Women” starting Sept. 26 with a benefit show at 7 p.m. and running through Oct. 14.
The show will be at 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Oct. 13.
• Amos Polk’s Voices of Hope choir performances Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday throughout Fall Pilgrimage at the Carriage House, with dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the concert from 7:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Tour tickets are available at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.
To purchase Pilgrimage event tickets, visit natchezpilgrimage.com or call 601-446-6631 or 1-800-647-6742.