- Associated Press - Saturday, April 12, 2014

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) - A narrow two-lane road framing Lake Washington showcases many antebellum homes, some built as far back as the mid-1800s. While a handful have fallen into a state of disrepair over the years, others have been passed down through generations and boast original chandeliers that once were fitted with candles.

Passersby can put their cars in idle, even pull to a stop, and admire the homes, and maybe, if they are lucky, catch a glimpse of the inside if a curtain is pulled to the side.

What can’t be seen is the exquisite waterfront gardens with cascading urns and porch swings, and what can’t be heard from the street is the rich history of these homes.

That is until May, when several of these homes and gardens will be open to the public for the “Lake Washington Homes, Gardens and Historical Sites Tour.”

This is the first - and might be only - - time the Lake Washington Foundation Beautification Committee will host the tour, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3.

“This is a unique tour - a great combination of historical sites, homes and gardens,” said Adelyn Brown, tour chairwoman.

Talk of a tour had surfaced several times over the years, committee members said, but something always came up, including the Greenfield Cemetery Tour, which now is in its third year.

This year, it came to fruition with 14 stops on the self-guided tour.

The tour will begin at the Glen Allan United Methodist Church, where guests will receive a brochure and map with information about all the sites. Guests must check in for the tour by noon, said Nancy Coleman, a committee member.

Some of the stops are drive-by only, but at others, homeowners will be on hand to greet guests and give them a private tour.

The tour will begin at Glen Allan United Methodist Church on Mississippi Highway 436. The church’s history dates back to 1924, and services continued during the 1927 flood, with people arriving in boats.

Linden on the Lake was built in 1914 by P.L. Man. The 20-room home is the third house built on the site. It was the first home site sold in Washington County, said Cameron Dinkins, whose great-grandfather acquired the home in the late 1800s. The plantation on which the house sits was established in 1825 by Frederick Turnbull, he said.

“P.L. Man was one of the largest landowners in the county,” he said. “He had nine plantations in three counties. He ended up giving them all away except for Linden, which he kept for his children.”

Dinkins’ great-grandfather acquired the home in the late 1800s.

“This has been in the family for five generations. Our children are the fifth generation to grow up in this home,” said Whitney Dinkins, Cameron’s wife.

The home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has all original furnishings, Whitney Dinkins said.

“The whole house is original down to the light fixtures and crown molding,” she said.

One of the newer homes on the tour, the Mahalitc Home, features a salt-water pool with a lake view and container gardening.

“My husband, Russell, and I love the outside and living on the lake. Our swimming pool and outdoor kitchen make it more inviting for our family and guests,” Latrice Mahalitc said. “Our door container plants add color and create an environment for entertaining.”

Many have seen the Susie B. Law House in the movie “Haunted,” but now guests have the opportunity to see this 112-year-old house in person.

It’s a drive-by only spot, but tour officials suggest keeping one’s eyes peeled as paranormal investigators have reported seeing Susie B. Law haunting the property, said Carolyn Oglesby, a committee member whose home is on the tour.

Mount Holly is one of the last antebellum homes of its size remaining in Delta. The 30-room mansion was completed in 1856 for Margaret Johnson, said Oglesby. Word is, she said, that Margaret’s father bought the land and she was to pay him $100,000 for it.

Supposedly, she only paid $20,000, so when her father died, he left only the house to her in his will. The home, which has remained vacant since the late 1990s and has fallen into a state of disrepair, is on the National Register of Historic Homes.

While many of the homes and gardens overlook Lake Washington, the Oglesby Home and Gardens farmhouse was built in 1915 on Lake Jackson.

“We are the fourth generation to live in this home, which was never a plantation,” Oglesby said. “My husband’s grandfather built it almost 100 years ago as a farmhouse.”

Most of the antique furniture is original to the home, she said.

“We have a lot of family pieces. We like to call it our eclectic collection of family pieces,” she said.

Guests can tour the home, and they also will be treated to lunch, prepared by the Highland Club of Lake Washington, served under the shade of a 100-year-old walnut tree.

Art vendors will be set up in the backyard, and a bed swing, designed and built by Billy and Lindy Carpenter, will be on display. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $10 each for the swing, which is valued at $1,000.

Riverdale is a lakefront home was built in 1850 by Dr. Robert J. Turnbull, the brother of Frederick Turnbull who built the Linden Plantation. The home, which has a beautiful wrap-around porch, was first moved from the bank of the Mississippi River by logs and mules to Issaquena County. When the current owners, Bubba and Dolores Lawler, bought it, they had it moved to its current location on Lake Washington.

“During the Civil War, there were orders to shell and burn this house,” Dolores Lawler said, “but the powder was too wet, so the house was saved.”

Though the home has been moved twice, it has all the original cypress floors and the doors and windows are original to the home, too, she said.

The French Colonial house boasts 14-foot ceilings except in the birthing room and sickroom, Lawler said.

At the Robinson Home, Bob and Lynn Robinson will be on hand to show guests their vegetable and herb garden.

“We have tomatoes, peppers - which are my favorite - cucumber, English peas, squash,” Bob Robinson said.

The main focus of this stop is the garden, but guests are more than welcome to tour the inside of the home, Lynn Robinson said.

At the Middleton Garden and Artists’ Workshop, those who stop by will have the opportunity to watch renowned artist Wyatt Waters teach a watercolor class in the gardens of this home.

“Wyatt Waters will be teaching the class of about 12 students,” said homeowner Danette Middleton. “They can observe the painting, and prints will be for sale.”

Middleton said she and her husband, Kenneth, have been growing their gardens, which is accented by a backyard gazebo, since the mid-1960s.

“It’s been evolving,” she said. “We add a little bit more each year.”

Also on the tour is Fair Oaks (Erwin House); Roy’s Store; the Cotton Storage House; the Greenfield Cemetery and St. John’s Ruins; and Hogue Garden.


If you go:

Tour tickets cost $30 per person and must be purchased by April 19.

For more information, call 662-571-0139 or 662-379-7007.


Information from: Delta Democrat Times, http://www.ddtonline.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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