- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 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.

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