Auburn shows off for holiday

Published 12:38 am Monday, December 14, 2009

NATCHEZ — Members of Auburn Antebellum Home dedicated Sunday afternoon to showing off Natchez’s house.

Auburn, owned by the City of Natchez, was open for a Christmas open house giving locals and visitors the chance to tour the house and enjoy homemade refreshments and entertainment.

“We do this to give back to the community,” Auburn Antebellum Home President Phyllis Feiser said. “Really, this home belongs to the people of Natchez and this is our way of showing them what we have done with their property.”

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This was the third year for the open house and Feiser said the crowds were larger than ever.

“We started at 1 p.m. and it has been like this the entire time,” she said pointing to the large group filling the center hallway of the house.

While the day was considered a gift to those who visited, Feiser said the Auburn Antebellum Home club got a bit of a gift as well. Mrs. Ford Legget, a former vice president of the house’s club, brought a scrapbook of articles and pictures from her time in the club.

Feiser said the book included a picture of the Christmas tree in the house that current club members always wanted to see.

“It isn’t often that someone just gives you history,” Feiser said. “That is what she did today. We are very excited and grateful for that gift.”

Guests enjoyed circling through the house, both upstairs and down admiring both the furnishings and the handiwork that went into building the house.

The favorite spot for guests, club member Donna Martello said, was the freestanding spiral staircase that sets Auburn apart from other houses.

“Even the guys love the staircase,” she said.

House visitors were a mixture of locals and out-of-towners that made visiting Auburn part of their Natchez experience.

One such couple was Nan and Larry Noyes from the Lake Nantahala area of North Carolina. Auburn was one of the spots the couple decided they had to see on their four-day trip to Natchez.

And they were glad they did.

“We go the full history of the house and a good tour of the upstairs,” Nan said. “Everyone has been so generous with information and welcoming.”

Larry liked the French Napoleon bed in an upstairs bedroom.

“That was really interesting and neat to look at,” he said.

Other visitor came from as far away as Monroe, La., and Chicago.

“This is the best crowd I think we’ve had,” Martello said.

While visitors to the house enjoyed the nearly 200-year-old house — it was completed in 1812 — they also enjoyed music provided by violinist Rachael and Rebecca Reeves from Monticello.

Rachael, 14, and Rebecca, 12, have played at the house several times including during Spring and Fall Pilgrimage.

While the girls entertained the crowd, mom Robin got to look around the house and admire its beauty.

She said during her trips to Auburn she has always enjoyed the porches on the house as well as the beauty of the front of the house.

“I think it is interesting to be in the house and just think about what life was like for the people when they were actually living in the house,” she said.

The Christmas open house is the only time Auburn is open free-of-charge, though home tours are given from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday year round.