Fundraiser benefits restoration of Magnolia Hall, House on Ellicott Hill

Published 12:01 am Sunday, April 28, 2013

File photo — Crews work on the first phase of the Magnolia Hall renovations in 2011.

File photo — Crews work on the first phase of the Magnolia Hall renovations in 2011.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this article inadvertently left out the date of the Natchez Garden Club’s Party for Preservation. The party will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Magnolia Hall.

The Natchez Garden Club wants you to party like its 1858 during its upcoming Party for Preservation.

The annual celebration aims to continue the organization’s efforts to preserve Natchez’s houses and gardens for future generations.

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This year’s event will be hosted at Magnolia Hall, which the garden club acquired in 1976 and is located on the corners of Washington and Pearl streets.

The celebration helps raise money for the club’s historic properties — Magnolia Hall and the House on Ellicott Hill.

Donna Sessions, chairman of the Party for Preservation, said she thought hosting the party at the house was the best way to show partygoers all the work that’s been done and also what still needs to be done.

“It’s very expensive to maintain these older homes, so it’s important for us to have fundraisers like this for preservation so we can keep the homes and the grandeur that they deserve,” Sessions said. “I wanted to have the party at Magnolia Hall, so we could show them what needs to be done.”

Restoration at Magnolia Hall is now in its second phase, which includes exterior restoration of the historic property including windows, shutters and a fresh coat of paint.

Phase one was completed in the fall of 2011 and included replacing six chimneys. The last phase will focus on the interior, including carpet and furniture repair.

NGC member Cheryl Rinehart said the restoration of the house is important for the entire City of Natchez — not just the garden club.

“All of these things are exciting to see happen because the house represents much more than just the garden club,” Rinehart said. “To see how people in the community have responded to this effort which helps support tourism and the city has just been really exciting.”

Sessions said she was excited to see the first phase complete and is also looking forward to the second phase.

“We’re almost ready to enter the next phase, which will be some painting and some more cosmetic work on the outside of the house,” Sessions said. “It’s important for us to raise this money, so we can try to keep these homes in condition and let them give off the presence they deserve.”

This year’s party theme is “Home is where the heart is” and will feature entertainment from Natchez native Maggie Brown.

“The theme means that the Natchez Garden Club is bringing the party back to one of our homes, so that we can talk to the people who come to the party and show them the work that needs to be done,” Sessions said. “This way, we can really explain the importance of what we’re doing.”

The party will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Magnolia Hall. Tickets to the event are $40 and can be purchased in advance or at the event. Cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvre will be provided. Advanced tickets can be purchased from the Natchez Garden Club office by calling 601-443-9065.