National Geographic : 1949 Feb
Unfinished Longwood, a Planter's Dream Dashed by the War Between the States Northern artisans departed to answer the call to the colors, leaving tools and paint buckets scattered about the floors. Costly statuary and furnishings en route from Europe were seized in the blockade. Only the basement was completed. Descendants of Dr. Haller Nutt, for whom the octagonal structure of Moorish design was being built, live there today. The upper floors remain as the departed workmen left them. Pilgrimage visitors find "Nutt's Folly" a fascinating sight. Longwood after slaves had done the prelimi nary work. The exterior octagon walls of cypress were completed; the huge rotunda, the cupola, the dome, and the spire were in place. Ships on the high seas were bringing interior woodwork, plastering material, hand carved marble stairways, sculpture, and costly furnishings from Europe. Scaffolding for in terior work had been erected. Painters were busy. Artisans Answer Call to Colors Then came the War Between the States. The workers from Pennsylvania walked off the job. Ships with building materials were stopped by the blockade. Orders abroad for some of the furnishings were cancelled. Dr. Nutt died before the war ended. To this day, only the spacious basement has been finished. There descendants of the Nutt family have dwelt, amid the old furnish- ings which graced the former home at Long wood-rosewood chairs, marble-topped tables, a Swiss music box, carved and canopied beds, armoires, and gold-leaf mirrors. I ventured upstairs. There everything was in the same state of semiconfusion as when the workmen left to join the Union Army. Scaffolding stood alongside the uncompleted walls. Brushes lay on dried-up paint buckets, covered with dust. Planks on which workmen walked still stretched across the gaping floor joists. Empty niches, where statues were to have stood, looked barren and forlorn. Outside, in front of the house, a big gap marked the place where architects' drawings called for a marble staircase. Empty win dow frames, like sightless eyes, stared in eight directions. "Nutt's Folly," Natchezans called the ornate, grotesque skeleton. Today the pil grims stare at it in open-mouthed wonder.