Auburn unveils renovated building

Published 12:03 am Sunday, April 24, 2016

Volunteer caretakers say Auburn has quite a story to tell, and recent renovations of the 1830s mansion are helping that story unfold.

The city-owned historic mansion has been undergoing construction to repair damage to the roof, floor and interior of the independent kitchen building.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved a $157,688 grant for the project in December 2013.

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Auburn Antebellum Home President Clark Feiser said MDAH has now completed its inspection and has approved the renovations of the kitchen building.

Though the finishing touches are still missing, Feiser said the dependency would have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. April 28.

“It’s finished, but it’s not furnished the way we eventually want to have it furnished,” Feiser said. “Not only do we have to get the money for it, but we have to find the items.”

Feiser said the upstairs furnishings, which would reflect typical furnishings of a servant’s quarters from the house’s period, would be part of the home’s budget.

A few items are also needed downstairs, Feiser said, which will show the building’s historic use as a 1830s kitchen.

The main house, Feiser said, would also soon get a facelift, thanks to another MDAH grant of approximately $104,000 to repair the building’s exterior.

Feiser said the exterior of Auburn’s main structure had sustained water damage, especially the columns at the front entrance.

“There may be an opportunity for us to pick up some extra money from archives and history because evidently they have a few extra dollars around they haven’t disbursed yet,” Feiser said. “And of course, everybody is applying for the extra money.”

The main house’s repair work, Feiser said, is on hold while there is still a chance of receiving additional funds. MDAH was expected to disburse those funds already, he said, but a decision has yet to be announced.

The ongoing work at the house is key to preserving an important part of Natchez history, Feiser said.

The kitchen dependency has been recognized by MDAH as one of only four still standing and used for its current purpose of public tours.

The kitchen is a crucial piece of what Feiser says is Auburn’s interesting history.

“I think Auburn has one of the best stories to tell in Natchez,” he said.