As a National Historic Landmark, Auburn has quite a story to tell. It was the first major building in Natchez to follow an actual architectural plan. In the years leading to the Civil War several Natchez homes emulated the style of Auburn's facade. The home's spiral staircase stands entirely unsupported, a feat unmatched even in modern buildings. These points introduce you to the dramatic story of Auburn itself.
Open Tues-Sat. 11:00AM-3:00 PM
Last tour 2:30 PM
Adults - $12
Children (6 - 18yrs)- $8
Age 5 and under are free
Before the time of the great steamboats, Lyman Harding set out for Natchez from Massachusetts. Lyman found wealth and success in Natchez. Levi Weeks was employed by Harding to design and build Auburn, the first home built in Natchez according to an architectural design.
After Harding's death, Dr. Stephen Duncan and his wife, Catherine, moved into Auburn.
Besides being a Doctor of Medicine, Duncan became president of the Bank of the State of Mississippi, helped establish Trinity Episcopal Church. He expanded Auburn and even built a Greek Revival style billiards parlor next to the home for the entertainment of gentlemen.
After the Civil War, Auburn remained in the Duncan family until 1911, when Dr. Duncan's heirs donated the home and 210 adjacent acres of land to the city of Natchez, to be used as a public park. The contents of the house were sold at public auction. Few of those items would ever return to Auburn.
Levi Weeks, a young cabinetmaker, carpenter and builder who also claimed to be an architect, was employed by Lyman Harding to design and build Auburn Mansion in 1811. Weeks describes the home in a letter to a friend:
"The body of the house is 60 by 45 feet with a portico ...supported by 4 Ionic columns with the Corinthian entablature ...the house two stories with a geometrical staircase to ascend to the second story. The site is one of those peculiar situations which combines all the delight of romance, the pleasures of rurality and the approach of sublimity."
In the 1830's, Dr. Stephen Duncan added the two symmetrical wings, which greatly expanded the interior space. These wings now hold the library and gift shop on the main floor and two of the bedrooms upstairs. The first floor also holds an office, dining room, parlor, sitting room, and large hallway. The second floor consists mostly of the four bedrooms, with another parlor and hallway. Porches set off both floors front and back.
But of course, the single most striking architecture of the home is the graceful curve of the spiral staircase, completely unsupported to the second floor.
Restoring the interior and exterior of Auburn Mansion is a constant process. As most of the furnishings were lost, period furniture is sometimes donated to this historic home. We are constantly trying to locate pieces original to the "Duncan" period of Auburn.
A window in the upstairs parlor was walled up years ago, but has now been reclaimed.
The Kitchen building, ca. 1830, with servants quarters on the second floor, is also in need of restoration. Auburn has just received a Community Heritage Grant from MS Dept. of Archives and History in the amount of $156,688. This will be a tremendous help to the members of Auburn and the City, but will not complete the $249,000 project. To help us in the completion of this restoration project your donation would certainly be appreciated by the Auburn Antebellum Home members who are all volunteers and receive no tax dollars from the City of Natchez, who owns Auburn. Checks may be sent to Auburn Antebellum Home, P.O. Box 18006, Natchez, MS 39122. A receipt will be sent upon request.
Besides being a premier historic attraction for Natchez, Auburn is also a beautiful and convenient location for special events. Weddings, receptions, bridge club meetings, and tea parties have all been held in this antebellum home. Call for availability and price quote.
Once you've taken the tour, we invite you to browse our gift shop for china tea pots and cups, fine linens, books and souvenirs for folks of all ages