NGC prepares fund-raising event for the House on Ellicott Hill

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

A landmark restoration project in the 1930s, the House on Ellicott Hill will get a 21st-century facelift with funds from a Mississippi state grant and matching money raised by

Natchez Garden Club members, who own the historic house and grounds.

Indeed, the project goes beyond a facelift, said Dr. Elizabeth M. Boggess, a club member and volunteer regulatory consultant.

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A Community Heritage Preservation Program grant of $135,000 was awarded the club in 2002. However, members must match that with at least 20 percent of the grant amount.

On Saturday, the club will host one of its major fund raisers, &uot;Swingin’ Under the Oaks at Glenburnie,&uot; an evening of dining, dancing and entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. at antebellum Glenburnie, home of George and Margaret Guido, 551 John R. Junkin Drive.

Reservations are available by calling (601) 446-8249. Tickets are $35 per person or $250 for a table of eight.

The Jazzers of St. Joseph, La., will provide the music. Part of the proceeds from the evening will go to

St. Joseph Arts.

Following a cocktail hour from 6 to 7, David’s Catering Bed & Breakfast of Grosse Tete, La., will serve dinner. Music and dancing will continue to 9 p.m.

The restoration of the House on Ellicott Hill in the 1930s came shortly after the founding of the Natchez Pilgrimage. Garden club members sought a restoration project of historic and architectural importance and chose the House on Ellicott Hill, then in serious disrepair.

The architectural firm Koch and Wilson of New Orleans supervised the restoration. Architect Robert Cangelosi of that same firm will oversee the upcoming restoration work.

&uot;At the time of the restoration of the House on Ellicott Hill, 1935-1937, we did not know as much about building materials as we do now,&uot; Boggess said.

&uot;Some incompatible mortar and stucco and some mistakes in drainage have led to a critical need for repairs and rehabilitation.&uot;

The house remains one of the most important buildings and sites in the city, Boggess said.

&uot;Initially, club members knew the importance of the place with the association of the raising of the first American flag over the U.S. Territory of Mississippi,&uot; she said.

&uot;And the house as it stands includes the earliest Federal-style ornamentation still preserved in the city of Natchez.&uot;

The house dates to sometime between 1797 and 1800, she said. &uot;And subsequently it was the home of one of the early territorial officials, Samuel Brooks, who was the first sheriff of Adams County and then appointed mayor in 1803 after the city was incorporated.&uot;

The property is important to the history of what occurred in Natchez during the time of the Louisiana Purchase, Boggess said.

Club members hope the grant money will be used not only for restoration work but also to provide a further glimpse into the architecture of the house, she said.

As regulatory consultant, Boggess will make sure all work is in compliance with grant requirements.

Connie Robinette is project manager. Richard Graham is on-site manager.