Melrose Ave., Natchez, Mississippi



1. Historic American Buildings Survey

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street Views 


A fine example of the Greek Revival style and one of the grandest estates in Natchez, Melrose was built ca. 1845 as the suburban residence of attorney and planter John T. McMurran of Pennsylvania. Jacob Byers of Hagerstown, Maryland designed and built the mansion. In 1865, McMurran sold the estate to George Malim Davis, whose family owned Melrose until 1975. The front facade is dominated by a two-story tetrastyle portico, modified by broadly spaced center columns and ornamented with delicate iron railings; the rear elevation features a two-story gallery and the massive load-bearing walls are of brick. A rectangular cupola above the third floor (attic) is crowned with a balustraded deck; the cupola's windows draw air up through the house, helping to relieve summer heat and humidity. The 12' by 14' foyer opens into a 21' wide central hall leading to the back door and forming a comfortable breezeway. To the right of the central hall a drawing room, parlor and library are aligned, each separated by double sliding doors that facilitate the circulation of people and air. To the left of the hallway, two-thirds of the space is devoted to service and circulation; from the rear gallery, servants reached the dining room in the northwest corner through a passageway along the outside wall. The second floor maintains the plan of the first, with three rooms and a grand staircase on the left. To the rear of the 14,472-square-foot main house is a symmetrical, U-shape cort. On the left are a two-story brick kitchen with slaves' quarters above, a latticed octagonal cistern and a smoke house; these buildings are matched on the right by a two-story dairy, cistern and privy. Much of the national architectural and historical significance of Melrose is derived from the full complement of dependencies that have remained an integral part of the estate. The 80-acre property also includes a stable, carriage barn, slaves' quarters, workers' cottage, workers' privy, shed, gazebo, and about 40 acres of wooded and landscaped park with ponds, formal gardens, an orchard and manicured lawns. Natchez National Historical Park was authorized on October 7, 1988. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS MS-61)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 30, 1974
Reference number
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Current functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Period of significance
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 11

Update Log 

  • April 5, 2021: New Street View added by Michael Miller