A Visit to Magnolia Hall
Constructed in 1858 for wealthy merchant, planter, and cotton broker Thomas Henderson, Magnolia Hall is now home for the Natchez Garden Club. As one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, Magnolia Hall was the last mansion built in downtown Natchez prior to the War Between the States. The exterior walls are stucco over brick, scored, and painted to resemble brownstone, and an extensive recent restoration by the Club showcases this decorative finish.
Approaching the front of the home to begin your tour, you are immediately transported to different time as birds sing in the large oak trees covered in Spanish moss. As you enter the home, look around and note the exquisite details adorning the walls, ceilings, doors, and windows. While climbing the beautiful staircase, you will notice several surprises on the second floor. The first room to the right of the staircase features several panels outlining the complete history of the home, the Henderson family, and Natchez.
Pass through the doorway to enter the first of two rooms holding a few of the Natchez Garden Club Royalty and Court members’ gowns, uniforms, and accessories. Crowning a Natchez Garden Club Tableaux King and Queen is an annual tradition started in 1932 and continues to this day. Other rooms feature mannequins dressed in period clothing portraying the antebellum life of a wealthy Natchez family. Taking a peek into fashion from years gone by is a treat.
Doll collectors and kids at heart will be thrilled to find a case containing several dolls dressed in elaborate period dresses, complete with all accessories. These costumes date from antebellum times through the Victorian era and contain Victorian bride and groom dolls.
Before heading back downstairs, step into the hall for yet another surprise. Lining the walls from floor to ceiling are photographs of every Natchez Garden Club President and Natchez Garden Club King and Queen. Note family names going back generations, showing a dedication of service to the Club and the City of Natchez.
Vicki L. Satterthwaite is a member of the Natchez Garden Club.