When it comes to buildings, there are two types. There are those constructed to simply fulfill a purpose, and then there are those that are comparable to fine art. And just like fine works of art, these impressive buildings can easily be admired for hours upon hours. These architectural masterpieces take the form of everything from historic churches to antebellum mansions of yesteryear. Buildings of this stature can be found all over the state; here are 12 perfect examples.
1. The McRaven House, Vicksburg
Because portions of McRaven were constructed at different times and exhibit varying architectural styles, the home has been referred to as a “time capsule of the south.” The three different styles of the home can be seen in the above photograph, moving from left to right with the left being the original portion of McRaven.
Construction on this Oriental Revival Style home began in the late-1850s, after years of planning, prepping, and securing materials for the six-story, 30,000 square foot mansion. Once complete, the sprawling home would include a domed cupola, a furnished basement, 32 rooms, 26 fireplaces, 115 doors, and 96 columns.
In September of 1861, the workmen at Longwood learned about the start of the Civil War and laid down their tools where they were standing, never to return. The homeowner’s slaves continued to work on the home until 1862 and were able to complete only the basement. The rest of the home remains unfinished to this day, making it one of the state’s most intriguing buildings.
3. Mont Helena, between Rolling Fork and Anguilla
High atop a ceremonial Indian mound in the Mississippi Delta sits this stunning Colonial revival-style home. Originally constructed in 1896, Mont Helena was intended to be the “retirement” home for George Harris and Helen Johnstone Harris. Today, the gorgeous mansion is open for touring.
4. Windsor Ruins, Port Gibson
Even though ruins are all that remains of this once massive home, visitors can still appreciate the splendor that was the Windsor mansion. Set in the middle of a 2,600-acre plantation, Windsor included opulent features such as cast iron Corinthian column capitals, 25 fireplaces (one for each room), a fourth floor ballroom, rooftop observatory, and indoor plumbing. Today, all that is left is 23 of the 29 columns, cast iron stairs (which have been relocated), and a few pieces of cast iron balustrade.
5. St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Jackson
Constructed in the early 1900s, this Jackson church is a perfect example of Gothic-style architecture, and easily one of the most beautiful in the state.
6. Mississippi State Capitol Building, Jackson
Designed by St. Louis-based architect Theodore Link, this Beaux Arts-style building was constructed from March 1901 to July 1903. In October 2015, several senators and state representatives moved to have the impressive Mississippi State Capitol Building named a national historic landmark, even referring to it as an “architectural masterpiece."
7. Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi
Made up of several impressive buildings, this museum was designed by Frank Gehry as a tribute to Mississippi artist and potter George Ohr. The collection of “bold, intriguing, self-sufficient structures” provides visitors with an experience like no other.
8. St. Mary Basilica, Natchez
Built in 1842, this stunning church is recognized as an architectural masterpiece among Catholic churches in the south.
9. Anchuca Mansion, Vicksburg
Anchuca was the first columned mansion in Vicksburg and, because of this, is considered one of the most significant antebellum homes in the state. Constructed around 1830, the Greek revival mansion is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
10. Waverly Mansion, Columbus
Deemed one of the most unique and architecturally significant antebellum homes in the entire country, it should come as no surprise that Waverly took years to construct. But with a massive cupola, spiral staircase, wrought-iron chandelier, and marble mantles, it was definitely worth the wait.
11. Melrose Plantation, Natchez
Considered one of the most intact antebellum plantations in the state, Melrose is quite the sight. The 88-acre estate includes the main house, Melrose, as well as several other buildings that were common during the late 1800s, such as a smoke house, carriage house, and barn. The interior of Melrose contains several stunning features, including plaster ceiling medallions, solid pocket doors, and intricate woodwork above many of the home’s doorways.
12. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Greenville
Constructed in the 1800s, this church is a prime example of Gothic architecture.
What are some other amazing pieces of Mississippi architecture that should be included on this list? Tell us in the comments section below.