Aberdeen Southern Heritage Pilgrimage
Saturday, April 6, 2019
I visited my hometown of Aberdeen, Mississippi, this weekend to tour a few homes during its annual pilgrimage. I always enjoy this event, usually as a hostess at one of the homes on tour, but sometimes just to relax and enjoy the tour as a spectator. Two of the homes are new to the pilgrimage, and I was anxious to see them. My father joined me, and we visited Sunset Manor, McKinney House and Dunlee. These are by no means the only homes that were on tour; several more beautiful homes were open, but time did not allow us to tour them all.
A note for blog readers not familiar with antebellum homes. To some, the word “antebellum” seems to mean “large,” but that’s not the case. Antebellum simply means “built before the war” – specifically, the American Civil War. An antebellum house can be a small cottage or a mansion or any size in between. Growing up in a town with these beautiful homes can either make one appreciate them all the more, or it can make one a little apathetic. I think when I was young, I was the latter. But the older I get, the more passionate I become for history and these lovely places enjoyed by families who lived here many years before I did.
When I tour any historic structure, I’m mesmerized with anything original: furniture, wallpaper, flooring, etc. I find myself slightly transformed to the 19th century, imagining the inhabitants walking the very floors I’m walking, or turning the actual doorknob I’m touching.
I hope you enjoy these photos and information on the houses we visited. Please check the website for next year’s pilgrimage dates, and plan to make a trip to Aberdeen and transport yourself back in time.
Photos are my own. Architecture and historic information on each house were taken from the Monroe Journal’s 44th Annual Aberdeen Southern Heritage Pilgrimage booklet and aberdeenpilgrimage.org.
Sunset Manor, 1836
Architecture style: Greek Revival
Sunset Manor is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Capt. Thomas Coopwood built the first variation of the home, two original rooms built circa 1836, and Charles Gates transformed it into a Southern town cottage in 1856. The house has four fluted Doric columns on the front, with four interior rooms measuring 20 x 20 x14 with a 16 x 40 division hall opening onto a loggia with bedrooms on each side.
Click thumbnails below for larger photos and captions.
McKinney House, 1902
Architecture style: Victorian cottage
McKinney House contains furnishings including period antiques from 1890 to 1900. In the master bedroom is a half-tester bedroom suite from New Orleans made between 1880 and 1890.
The Magnolias, 1850
Architecture style: Greek Revival
Dr. William Alfred Sykes built the home for his wife in 1850; she died a year later. The home was passed down through the family until Corinne Sykes Acker died. Clarence Day II purchased the home and deeded it to the City of Aberdeen. The Magnolias is open year-round from 1-4pm Wednesday-Friday or by appointment. A hostess can be reached at 369-7956 for tours and to arrange weddings and other events.
During pilgrimage, Civil War reenactors were to stage an encampment on the grounds, but because of the threat of rain, they used the kitchen building as their headquarters to showcase authentic items carried by a typical Confederate infantry soldier.
Architecture: Greek Revival
Dunlee never disappoints. Owned by friends of my parents, this house is a beautiful yet comfortable antebellum home. This one-and-a-half story cottage was built by Dr. William A. Dunkin, a local physician, planter and merchant. The front part of the house is original, but the posterior was rebuilt in the early 1900s. Paired Doric box columns support a pedimented gable set perpendicular to the main roof gable. The house rests on brick piers, and the original floor plan of a central hall flanked by a dining room and parlor is still discernible despite several alterations and additions to the back of the house.