Due to this post from Roni Loren (thank you for the warning, Roni) I’ve decided to remove most photos from Thriller Thursday. I hope you’re still able to enjoy them!
Manic Monday means anything goes, and today we’re talking about one of my favorite things–the old South. The rich cultural mix and living history fascinates me, and nothing taps into my love of history more than the plantations that sprawl across the southern states.
Anne Rice fans, this one should look familiar. Oak Alley was featured in the movie Interview with a Vampire.
Located in Vacherie, Louisiana, Oak Alley Plantation is a National Historic Landmark. The incredible alley of live oaks leading to the main house is almost 800 feet long and is much older than the main house, which was built by George Swainy between 1837-1839. Featuring a standing colonnade of 28 Doric Columns, the house is just as beautiful today. The original marble floors have been replaced by wood, the roof is slate, and the columns have been painted to look like marble.
An antebellum sugar plantation, the property was taken over in 1925 by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Stewart and was the first example of post antebellum restoration on River Road. Now a romantic bed and breakfast, Oak Alley is a favorite for weddings and other celebrations, and is a must-see for any history buff.
This one has a special place in my heart. I’ve always loved Civil War history, and when I was in the third grade, a miniseries called North and South aired for the first time. Starring Patrick Swayze (I still maintain this was the role he was born to play) as Orry Main, North and South told the story of how a southern gentleman and a Yankee’s friendship persevered through decades of war and family tragedy.
Boone Hall was featured as Mont Royal, and it was love at first sight for me. One of the country’s oldest working plantations, Boone Hall has been open to the public since 1956. The current house was built in 1933 (the original in 1790) when the owners decided they wanted something more grand and befitting of their stature. Nine original slave cabins still stand as well as a smoke house dating back to 1750 and the Cotton Gin House (1853).
Owned by the McRae family since 1955, Boone Hall still produces crops, including strawberries, tomatoes and pumpkins. Tours are giving almost year around, and the plantation also takes part in many celebrations, including a stunning Christmas festival.
The antagonist from INTO THE DARK is from the Cane River Valley, and Melrose Plantation was the inspiration for his dark and tragic past.
Melrose is among the more unique plantations in the deep south. Marie Therese CoinCoin, born as a slave in 1742, had fourteen children: four black and ten of Franc0-American blood. Sold to Thomas Metoyer with several of her children (some fathered by Metoyer), Coincoin and her offspring were freed and later received a number of land grants. The grants formed Melrose plantation and descendants of Marie still live in the area today.
The current house was built in 1833, and the plantation would change ownership throughout the years. In the twentieth century, the sprawling grounds and structures became home to a colony of artists, perhaps none more famous than Clementine Hunter. Some of her paintings remain at Melrose.
Melrose is open to tours and the hub of the Cane River National Heritage Area.
Do you love the old southern plantations? Have you ever visited any? Do you have personal history with any of the grand old homes?