Historic Vicksburg, Mississippi Mansion
The Columns circa 1899
On the City of Vicksburg's official Scenic Tour, The Columns-Beaulieu is located on the official "SCENIC ROUTE" in the Victorian historic district 2 blocks from the Mississippi River Bluffs, downtown on Cherry Street corner of Belmont. The mansion was built at the turn of the century by Samuel and Helen Ragan, on what was then called, Millionaires Row. The Ragans purchased this property in 1885 and lived in a house on this lot, facing Belmont, as early as 1886. Sometime between 1899 and 1902 their residence was demolished and this grand Neoclassical building was constructed. It is an unusual Neoclassical because the facade is asymmetrical, generally Neoclassical residences are symmetrical. Samuel Ragan owned S.C. Ragan and Company, a wholesale grocery and produce company, in 1906. By 1911 the city directory listed S.C. Ragan and Company as cotton factors, located at 610 Crawford Street. In 1926 the house was sold to Mary E. Marion. Others who owned the house are W.T. Williams (with the Biedenharn Candy Company), Ray & Elie Lum (who hosted General Eisenhower at the Mansion) M.M. & R.J. Farris, Tom and Mildred Kirkland, and Marguerita & Bill Davis ( who turned the mansion into a Bed and Breakfast. The Ridges purchased the house in Feb 2000 and with a one year complete renovation, turned the mansion back into the beautiful home it was in yesteryears. Today, the entire area has been designated Historic. It is the only Victorian mansion of its architecture in Vicksburg. Patterned after the old plantation homes of pre civil war era with its six huge wooden ionic columns gracing the large front portico.
With the Ridges renovations came a new roof, all new infrastructure , new system of central air and heat, new double paned windows continue the insulation efficiency along with walled in insulation makes the mansion absolutely quiet and with better temperature control. There are 5 fireplaces. In the foyer, there is a beautiful wooden mantel piece that dates to the original construction of the house. It is Neoclassical in style. The other mantel pieces are from the 1860's, 3 are carved Italian marble and one is carved slate. These appear to have been originally placed in the house and may have come from an earlier house on this lot. The fireplaces in the parlor and foyer have recently been converted to gas and are in use while the other 3 fireplaces, on the second floor, are gas ready. The Kitchen, though maintaining its Victorian charm, is filled with modern amenities. A new top of the line Kenmore dishwasher and a new Kenmore gas burner/electric oven. The oven can also be used as a convection oven. The mansion has 7 bedrooms and 5 full baths including the 3rd floor which is large enough for an apartment. The sunroom can also be used as a bedroom for there are two full bathrooms on the 1st floor and 3 built in closets. The master bathroom has 2 custom mirrored walls, grey marble floors, custom designed handmade double vanity with raised pedal sinks, a Jacuzzi whirlpool tub with many jets including foot jets. There is a Jacuzzi steam shower with built-in seat and personal preset temperature shower controls. The steam shower is wonderful to unstress & detox the body all while under a cool shower or you can leave the shower off and just use the steam. The choice is yours. In the master bedroom, there is a marble fireplace surrounded by 4 large windows. It has a large walk-in closet and has French double doors connecting to the extra bedroom which the owners chose to use as their study which also has its own marble fireplace and a lovely balcony overlooking the Portico. In 1947, General Eisenhower gave a speech from the balcony when he was invited to help Vicksburg celebrate its first, 4th of July since its surrendering to Grant in 1863. A party was thrown in the mansion, in the Generals honor, as he dance the night away and then slept in the balcony room/study which has carried his name since the mansion's bed and breakfast years. General Eisenhower first spoke of running for the presidency while at the Columns-Beaulieu.
White oak floors grace the first floor which has two working gas fireplaces which use to burn coal, a parlor, formal dining room, a Victorian style bathroom with an original 19th century bathtub. Connected to the downstairs guest bedroom, is another full bath and is designed for the physically challenged. Next to the guest bed room, is the Sunroom/bedroom, which is also the North-side entrance that opens onto the Courtyard. As you enter the mansion through this door one passes through the sunroom then segways into a short but wide hallway/room housing the laundry & the butlers pantry area, then one enters the kitchen which has its own outside door leading to the driveway. New black and whiteish gray Hi tech cushioned Linoleum faux Marbled tile. Easier to stand on for longer periods and installed to ease owners back pain, adorn the floors in this area. The new intercom system connects all three floors plus driveway. It also houses the programmable doorbell with 16 melodies, including Brahms, Happy Birthday, We wish you a Merry Christmas. The last system feature is the am/fm radio, which can be heard though-out the mansion. The owners tend to listen to the Classical stations.
As you open the large front door and enter the foyer/ballroom, the staircase is the first focal point ones sees, as it beckons you to ascend to the second floor landing. Here antique pine flooring was used throughout the 2nd floor with one guest bedroom floor made of parquetry. From this landing, one can access the master bedroom with Marble fireplace, the study/Bedroom with Slate fireplace and balcony. To the right of the landing are the double French doors leading to the west wing of the home. Behind these beautiful glass paned doors is a large hallway connecting two more bedrooms with full baths. Because one of the west wing bedrooms had two rooms once used as a suite, it was converted into a recording studio. At the end of the hallway, there is customized counter space which includes a small refrigerator, cabinets and a laundry chute. To the left there is another set of double glass picture window doors opening onto the second floor copper screened sleeping porch. The owners sometime use this porch to grill/bbq when its raining. Also from the second floor porch, a small door opens back into another bedroom. One can leave this bedroom door open and get the feel of a real sleeping porch. A spiral staircase exits this porch and ends on the courtyard outside the sunroom.
Their is also a CELLAR plus crawl space. The cellar would be perfect for a wine cellar but the Ridges use the real below ground brick & concrete cellar for storage.
The third floor can be accessed through a secret door on the 2nd floor Landing and also from the master bedroom walk-in closet. Panoramic views of Vicksburg and its church steeples, reminiscent of a typical European, town can be seen from the dormer windows. Here the present owners use this area as a gym/playroom/hobby room and for storage but it can also be used as a very large bedroom or an apartment. Large items can be lifted onto the third floor by a large ceiling door built in the ceiling of the master bedroom walk-in closet.
Outside a tall 10' fence of brick, stucco and custom white ironwork completely surround the property. It is the ultimate in privacy. The Columns was built on a small hill. The fence was built on ground level, hence its height. The driveway gate is automatic and solar powered. It opens at the press of a button. Inside the private grounds, one finds a Victorian mansion nestled among low maintenance flowers, bushes and trees which bloom throughout the year a newly landscaped flagstone courtyard. The landscape was designed to emulate the style of the beautiful New Orleans courtyard gardens. The Columns Beaulieu is a perfect haven for the creative spirit awaiting to be touched by its muses or because it is also zoned commercially, the mansion can easily become a bed and breakfast (its turnkey) or restaurant, art gallery, recording studio, you've always wanted. Along with its private driveway, there is safe parking across the street.
The delta begins in Vicksburg, Ms. With over 2,000,000 tourist visiting. Vicksburg is a beautiful historic tourist town resting on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and the Yazoo river. It has four casinos, Horizon, Ameristar, Isle of Capri and the Rainbow and another one soon to be built. They are open 24/7 and have a variety of entertainment and restaurants. All the casinos are situation on the banks of mighty Mississippi river and Yazoo. Steamboats stop downtown Vicksburg, allowing tourist to walk its cobblestone streets and enjoy the art galleries and antique shops. Watching the sunset over the Mississippi river and Louisiana is one of the many beautiful sights to behold. There is also the brand new River-Region medical facility which opened within the last 6 years. Vicksburg is only 200 miles from New Orleans, 200 miles from Memphis and 200 miles from the Gulf of Mexico Beaches. The Natchez Trace makes for a wonderful Sunday ride, winding you along the most beautifully maintained historic federal highway in the south. Once an Indian trail, it begins in Nashville and ends in Natchez, Ms. There are no fast food chains or billboards allowed on this federal highway. Natchez is only 70 miles south of Vicksburg, either using the Trace or Hwy 61. This stretch of road is dotted with many of the most famous antebellum bed & breakfast/tour homes and haunted mansions, in the country. The Myrtles Plantation, which rest just below Natchez on Hwy 61, is the most haunted in America. Vicksburg, also has its haunted mansions, but The Columns-Beaulieu is not one of them. Every guest who has stayed in The Columns has always commented on how peaceful they've slept due in part to the lengths the Ridges went through to insulate the mansion. Although Vicksburg has its own regional airport, Mississippi's capital city, Jackson, host the international airport. It is located 40 miles east, on I-20.
for more info contact:
ANDREA UPCHURCH, Realtor