See What You Have Been Missing Saturday, Feb 2 2013 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) holds strongly to a vision and not just  meeting as an organization. It’s stewardship is a commitment to keeping a heritage and culture alive for present visitors and future generations.

Begun in 1941 and chartered as a non-profit organization in 1944, theAPHN is a volunteer organization. At present, APHN operates two historic properties: Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House. The organization provides educational opportunities to children and adults through the Children’s Walking Tour of Natchitoches, the Fall Tour of Historic Homes and daily 10am-5pm (closed on Mondays)  guided tours of Melrose Plantation, which include the Big House and the African House.

Melrose Hours of Operation:

Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday: Closed

 Tours of the Historic House begin at the Melrose Bindery Every 15 minutes past the Hour (First Tour: 10:15, Last Tour begins at 4:15)

 Gift Shop closes at 5pm

Admission Prices:

 GUIDED HOUSE TOUR

Adults $10.00

*Students (6-17 or with University ID) $5.00

 GROUNDS ONLY TOUR (does not include house tour)

Adults $5.00

*Students $ 3.00

 GROUPS OF 15 OR MORE (by reservation)

Adult Group: $10.00

Tour Operator Group: $8.00

*Student Group: $5.00

*(Now includes University students)
Contact Information: 318-379-0055 or info@melroseplantation.org 

MELROSE PLANTATION BIG HOUSE 1833

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Do You Have it In You? Thursday, Jan 3 2013 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Microbes are tiny organisms—too tiny to see without a microscope.  They live everywhere—in air, soil, rock, and water. Some live in you.  National Geographic, in its 125 Anniversary issue (January, 2013), has an article entitled “Why We Explore”. Listen to these findings:

“Dozens of studies have found that the gene (DRD4-7R), makes people more likely to take risks and generally embrace movement, change and adventure.”

Do you have the “restless gene”? Come to Natchitoches, Louisiana and the Melrose Plantation. Whatever the season you will find the activity best suited for your thirst for adventure and discovery. Break away from the same, lame and tame that makes life a rut. After all, a rut is just a grave with both end knocked out.

Bindery and Gift Shop

Bindery and Gift Shop

 

 

Melrose Plantation welcomes you for a Tour you will always remember.

For more information or to schedule a Group Tour please call: 318-379-0055  

A National Historic Landmark, c.1796, Melrose is rich in Louisiana history. The complex contains nine buildings including African House, Yucca House, Writer’s Cabin, Bindery and the Big House. Many authors, historians and artists resided and worked here. A collection of work by primitive artist Clementine Hunter is available for viewing. Located at 3533 State Hwy. 119 Melrose, Louisiana 

 

Melrose with the Japanese Tulips in bloom.
 

 

NEW HOURS AT MELROSE

NEW HOURS AT MELROSE

Melrose Hours of Operation:

 

Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday: Closed

 

 Tours of the Historic House begin at the Melrose Bindery Every 15 minutes past the Hour (First Tour: 10:15, Last Tour begins at 4:15)

 Gift Shop closes at 5pm

.

Admission Prices:

 GUIDED HOUSE TOUR

Adults $10.00

*Students (6-17 or with University ID) $5.00

 

 GROUNDS ONLY TOUR (does not include house tour)

Adults $5.00

*Students $ 3.00

 

 GROUPS OF 15 OR MORE (by reservation)

Adult Group: $10.00

Tour Operator Group: $8.00

*Student Group: $5.00

*(Now includes University students)
Contact Information: 318-379-0055 or info@melroseplantation.org

 

Economic Impact of Fall Tour of Homes on Natchitoches Tuesday, Dec 4 2012 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Northwestern (State University, Natchitoches, La.)  completed an economic impact study for the APHN (Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches) Fall Tour of Homes. Here are the results: They may shock you!

Using the average ticket price of $37.66; approximately 536 tickets were purchased for the Tour of Homes.
“New Money” is defined as money introduced into the community that would not be available to the area (over 30 miles). $27,278 of new money was spent (ticket sale not included). In other words, each visitor who came to Natchitoches only for Tour of Homes spent $357.82. The total money (people coming just for Fall Tour and people who would be in Natchitoches anyway) was $27,820.
The impact multiplier for Natchitoches is 2.8 which makes the economic impact of Fall Tour of Homes approximately $509,037.73.

One problem with this study is that ticket sales are roughly estimated and the data is self-reported. But These numbers shocked me just as much as they have shocked you. Fall Tour has an enormous impact on the local economy with 57% spent on food and lodging; hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants benefit most from the event.  What we discovered during this project is that primarily “new money” is generated. This is money that would not have been spent in Natchitoches without Fall Tour of Homes. We have a “tangible opportunity to increase the local economy,” and APHN is proud to have such an impact on the vitality of the community.

Adam Foreman

Executive Director APHN

APHN Newsletter 
December 2012 e-Calico Courier Issue 13

Imagine Reading a Book From an Enchanted Cottage Friday, May 18 2012 

image_bindery_melrose_photos_rs

Bindery (Gift Shop) Melrose Plantation

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Truth be told, it is not just the “Bindery” but the entire Melrose Plantation that is enchanted. A tour of discovery can be said to:

  • lead to a sense of wonder, charm and delight
  • cast a magical spell in a historical site that is full of stories that will captivate you
  • create a feeling of pleasure and great liking for something wonderful and unusual
  • fascinate you as you visit the setting of a dynamic artist’s colony where Clementine Hunter painted, Francois Mignon and Lyle Saxon wrote. (there are too many artists to mention all of them)

A good way to prepare for your journey of enchantment is: 

  • to read Lyle Saxon’s Children of Strangers. You will discover the plantation country of the lower Cane River (Louisiana) in this historical novel, the only novel Saxon ever wrote. The book is a work of fiction but describes a real community.

I want a copy!{click here}

Lyle Saxon’s historical Novel Children of Strangers available online from the Bindery at Melrose Plantation

Melrose Plantation Big House

Explore, Experience, and Enjoy Natchitoches Parish Sunday, Apr 1 2012 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)   

NATCHITOCHES, LA – The 38th Annual Melrose Plantation Arts & Crafts Festival will be presented Saturday and Sunday, April 21 & 22, 2012.

Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival

Artists and craftsmen from Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and as far as New Mexico and Illinois will be displaying handcrafted work on the beautiful grounds of historic Melrose plantation, located 18 miles south of Natchitoches. The festival is one of the largest arts & crafts shows held in Louisiana. Painting, drawing, whimsical portraiture, photography, unique pottery, clothing, furniture, candles and fragrances, whistles, clocks and pens, preserves and relishes, as well as objects made for home and garden of metal, wood, cloth, wire and  glass, meat pies and other regional foods will be available.

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children under 12 years of age. In addition to the festival, guided tours of the Main House and African House will be available for $5.00.

Melrose plantation is a unique complex designated as a National Historic Landmark. The original colonial residence, Yucca House, was built in 1796. The Big House was for many years the residence of Cammie Henry who offered accommodations and a working environment for artists and writers.

Vendor applications are still being accepted. Vendor inquiries call Susan Davidson at (318) 379-0800 or email carriedavidson@hughes.net.  Applications are also available online at http://www.aphnatchitoches.net/. The event is sponsored by The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches.

 

Gift Shop/ Bindery

OUR PAST IS A WONDER-FILLED PRESENT FOR YOU Thursday, Feb 16 2012 

image_bindery_giftshop_melrose_rs_41

Bindery/ Giftshop at Melrose Plantation

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Our preservation of Melrose Plantation and its stories is to make it available to you as a wonder-filled present. Make your plans today for you and your group to visit Melrose Plantation. There is no history more intriguing and no time like the present  for a delightful excursion

Plan a Tour of the Melrose Historic Home and Out-Buildings of the Metoyer “Gens de Colour Libre”.
                     See
Miss Cammie Henry’s collection of hand woven pieces.  Visit the Clementine Hunter Murals in the African  House. Enjoy the lovely Gardens Take photos at the almost 400 year old Live Oak Tree. Shop in the Book Store Bindery for books and gift items.

For more information or to schedule a Group Tour please call: 318-379-0055

Explore the Enchanting Mushroom House at Melrose Plantation Monday, Dec 26 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Francois Mignon

After visiting Melrose, Francois Mignon moved permanently there in the Fall of 1939.  From his papers we read about a Sunday morning (October 29) at Melrose.

“After coffee and mc (sic, much?) talk, Robina (Robina Denholm) and I decided to explore the gardens, visiting the famous old African musroom (sic, mushroom) house,–once used to encarcerate obstreperous slaves  in the old days when when the mulato (sic) Metoyer family owned Melrose. I was enchanted with Robina’s remark that she thought it good that the folks  there had the feeling of security sufficiently developed to dare bring this African item (the African House) from their distant past and blandly bring such architecture into being again”.

 

African House, MelroseMelrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHN

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Several obervations need to be made about Mignon’s comments.
 
First: Mignon seems to be the one who dubbed the African House with the name “The Mushroom House”. It does have an obvious resemblance to a mushroom. 
 
Secondly: Mignon gave no documentation in regard to the African House ever having been used as a jail for slaves. I have found no other source for this claim.
 
Thirdly: His use of the word “mulato” (sic) needs some comment. The Metoyer family would never use the word to describe themselves nor would I. The Metoyers are a proud Creole family with a marvelous heritage in the Cane River area of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. I regard this term as pejorative (derives from the Spanish word for “mule”) and refuse to use it. It appears here only as an accurate expression of usuage in the period in which Mignon lived and wrote.
 
Robina’s mark is true that the African House is an enchanting example from the “distant past”. The fascination is only enhanced by the fact that you can view the spectacular Clementine Hunter murals on the upper floor of the African House. Explore the enchanting mushroom house at Melrose Plantation.
 

African House Murals by Clementine Hunter

 
 

 
Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHN

Melrose Plantation welcomes you for a Tour you will always remember.

Group Tours by appointment only.
For more information or to schedule a Group Tour please call: 318-379-0055  

A National Historic Landmark, c.1796, Melrose is rich in Louisiana history. The complex contains nine           buildings including African House, Yucca House, Writer’s Cabin, Bindery and the Big House. Many authors,    historians and artists resided and worked here.

A collection of work by primitive artist Clementine Hunter is is available for viewing.

Located at 3533 State Hwy. 119 Melrose, Louisiana 

From Manhattan To Melrose Plantation Tuesday, Dec 20 2011 

Francois Mignon

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Francois Mignon describes a journey he made by train from New York City to Melrose Plantation in Louisiana.  His paper is dated October 26, 1939.

“If you are going to Louisiana for the first time, a good way not to make it is by bee line from New York via Knoxville, Birmingham, etc..–especially in the month of November. It is like slipping surreptiously into Heaven by way of the back door, and so missing the full effect of the Pearly Portals and whatever Spanish moss may be entangled in Saint Peter’s beard–if any.”

Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHN

Arriving by train in Shreveport, Louisiana, Mignon was met by Robina, with whom he had exchanged many “pleasant letters” but whom he had never met. Turning off the main highway, Francois and Robina headed up the three mile lane that led to Melrose Plantation. Reaching the big house, they stopped by the side (west) gate. Francois writes:

“From out of nowhere good old Frank, the family houseman in overhalls (sic) came to greet us. We went into the big house and found that Aunt Cammie (Henry) was upstairs with her little grandson. When she heard us, however, she came flying down, and it filled me with extasy to find her just as I left her the year before, looking so good and so wholesome in her neat white waiste, black skirt and her luxurant white hair.”

Then with obvious tender affection, Francois states:

Cammie Henry as a young woman

“Somehow she made it seem as though I were a long lost child who had wandered too afield and was blessing me for having come back. Such is her remarkable spirit which brings so much happiness and cheer to so many.”

Miss Cammie had the gift of hospitality and made so many people, including artists, writers, travelers and guests feel that when they came to Melrose they had come home.

How nice it would be to have someone welcome us at the end of a long journey and make us feel special. Maybe this is at the heart of all we hope for at the end of our pilgrimage.

SOURCE: Francois Mignon Papers # 3889, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Come for your tour of Melrose Plantation and our professional guides will welcome you warmly and show you where Miss Cammie lived and the place that was so dear to Francois Mignon.

For more information regarding year-round tours please call (318) 379-0055 or

visit our website: http://aphnatchitoches.net

From North-South-East-West, Visitors Discover History in Visiting MELROSE in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana Saturday, Aug 20 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHN

The Louis Metoyer Plantation, now known as Melrose Plantation, is a 215 year-old cotton and pecan plantation. Located on the banks of the scenic Cane River Lake in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, is is a delight for visitors from the North, South, East, amd west as well as many other countries outside the United States.

The African House at Melrose Plantation

 

The plantation has nine standing historic buildings, three of which are of significant. The oldest of these is Yucca House, built after 1810. This French Creole cottage had many uses including serving as a nursery and hospital for enslaved workers. The second building, the Mushroom House, now commonly called the African House, was constructed about 1820. Many have speculated that it was built to resemble traditional African homes, however architectural scholars point out that its design is derived from French barns of that period. Finally there is the big house, which was completed in 1833. This bousillage (a mixture of mud, Spanish moss and deer hair) building has been remodelled numerous times and has several additions, including two distinctive hexagonal towers, known as garçoniéres, flanking the front gallery.

Louis Metoyer was given the land in a grant by the Spanish government in 1796. Louis was the second son of Claude Thomas Pierre Métoyer, a French military officer who was assigned duty at Fort Ste Jean Baptiste in Natchitoches, and Marie Thérèse Coincoin, an African slave owned by Metoyer and later freed by him. He and his descendents built and managed a plantation here until 1847, when it was sold to the Hertzogs, the family that owned neighbouring Magnolia Plantation. The Hertzog brothers named the place The Plantation of the Brothers Henry and Hypolite Hertzog.

 Joseph Henry later acquired the land in 1898 and renamed the place Melrose Plantation. He lived primarily at another plantation further south and resided at Melroseduring the harvest. He died soon after purchasing the property and the plantation was passed on to his son, John Hampton Henry, and his daughter-in-law, Cammie Garrett Henry. Miss Cammie, as she was known, was a college-educated woman who was fond of culture and society. She started an art colony at the plantation that became one of the most popular in the South, entertaining such famous names as Lyle Saxon and William Spratling.  

 During the Cammie Henry era, internationally known artist Clementine Hunter got her start at Melrose, where she worked as a cook and painted in her spare time. She  became the first African American to have a solo exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her work depicts daily life in the rural South prior to the mechanization of agriculture. Melrose Plantation is one of about 2,430 places in America to have the designation “National Historic Landmark”.

 However, the life and work of Clementine Hunter is significant enough that Melrose has earned the National Trust for Historic Preservation designation as an Historic Artist’s Home and Studio. Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios is a consortium of 30 of America’s most significant artists’ spaces that are open to the public and serve over 600,000 visitors each year.

 In 1971, the plantation was given to the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN). The APHN, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the property and buildings and opens the house for public tours.

 NOTE: The name Yucca Plantation was thought to have been the original name given to the place by the Metoyers. However, recent scholarship shows that the name originated with the 1937 publication of Lyle Saxon’s Children of Strangers, a novel based on observations made while living at Melrose Plantation. As a work of fiction, it used fictional place names and surnames in place of the true names. “Melrose” was renamed “Yucca” and the “Henry” family was renamed the “Randolph” family.

SOURCE: APHN Draft Copy for Melrose History. This is a living document that will be revised and expanded as new information is discovered. APHN welcomes your comments or historical information on the subject.

Yucca. Melrose

 

For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only) or go to the APHN website

www.aphnatchitoches.net

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches Seeks Executive Director Tuesday, May 10 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

APHN SEEKS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
Executive Director for Historic Preservation organization which manages a plantation and provides educational programs.    Organizational Development and Fundraising skills required. For full Job Description click here.

Melrose Plantation, the Big House Managed by APHNThe Lemee House, Headquarters for APHN

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“Celebrating America’s Treasures”The National Trust for Historic Preservation has declared May National Preservation Month and this year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Treasures.” Throughout our nation’s communities there are significant places that have contributed to our American experience. To preserve these irreplaceable and tangible reminders of our roots in Natchitoches Parish, APHN and other preservation organizations need your support. Though the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival, you empower APHN in its work to preserve Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House for the enjoyment of future generations. Go to the APHN website, http://www.aphnatchitoches.net/ to fill out the membership application form and join APHN in “Celebrating America’s Treasures”. These places matter and so do you.

 

Plan a Tour of the Melrose Historic Home and Out-Buildings of the Metoyer “Gens de Colour Libre”.
*See
Miss Cammie Henry’s collection of hand woven pieces.
*Visit
the Clementine Hunter Murals in the African House.
*Enjoy
the lovely Fall and Christmas decorations.
*Shop
in the Book Store Bindery for books and gift items.

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