Thursday, January 31, 2008
70th annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage, a festival of art and architecture
Make plans now to attend the 70th annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage, April 18-20! Feast on antebellum splendor, local storytellers brimming with the colorful stories of Holly Springs’ past, costumed guides, Pilcher organ recitals in antebellum churches, gracious Southern luncheons, tours of historic Hill Crest Cemetery guided by ghosts from Holly Springs’ past, free rides in antique carriages pulled by Percheron draft horses, a native plant sale and country store at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, one-of-a-kind arts and crafts throughout the town as well as a traditional southern supper in one of our glorious mansions — Montrose!
This “Festival of Art & Architecture” features:
Athenia, a Greek Revival home, built in 1858 by Judge Jeremiah W. Clapp, a member of the Confederate Congress. Judge Clapp was a man of small stature and feared capture during Holly Springs’ 62 raids, so it is believed that during raids, the judge hid in one of the mansion’s grand columns. The current owner has identified a crawl space of sufficient size to contain a small person. The home features priceless Zuber wallpaper and its original bronze gasoliers, which have been converted for electricity.
Montrose, a Greek Revival home, was built in 1858 by Alfred Brooks as a wedding present for his daughter. Eventually it was donated to the city under the terms that it be rented to the Holly Springs Garden Club at a rate of $1 a month for 100 years. The home has been featured on the silver screen and is used as a magnificent setting for antebellum weddings and parties. The grounds, designated as a state arboretum, are covered with fifty different native tree specimens and are labeled with common and botanical names.
Walthall-Freeman Clark Place, built in 1840 as a log house and embellished in 1848, was home to Confederate Major General Edward Walthall, who later served in the United States Senate. The home then went to Walthall’s niece, Kate Freeman Clark, a local artist who studied under William Merritt Chase in New York around 1892. In 1923 she returned to Holly Springs after the death of her beloved teacher and never painted again. During her life, the only painting of hers ever displayed was one given to the Brooks Art Gallery in Memphis. She never sold any of her paintings as they were like the children she never had. Having no surviving family and never married, Clark donated all of her paintings and enough money to build a gallery in her name next door to her home. The Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery, on the tour for the first time, features just a few of the acclaimed painter’s 1000+ works.
The Davis Plantation, another Greek Revival home, was completed in 1851 using bricks handmade on the property. The property was the home of Eben Davis, a distant cousin to Jefferson Davis. Given the relationship, Union soldiers regularly preyed upon the family, and the home was ultimately the only home burned in Holly Springs during the Civil War. The home stood in partial shambles until 1970, when it was restored and ultimately donated to the National Audubon Society some years later. The grounds feature hummingbird and butterfly gardens as well has hiking trails throughout the 2,800-acre estate. The site is also home to the Hummingbird Migration Celebration held the weekend after Labor Day, Sept. 5-7.
Burton Place, built in early Virginian style in 1848, was constructed by Mary Mavina Shields Burton, the first woman in Mississippi to receive a divorce. Designed to conserve heat, the home boasts walls two-feet thick, with two sets of windows and two sets of doors in each frame. The home retains its original outdoor kitchen and slave quarters as well as a cast iron fence that once surrounded the courthouse. The fence, featuring fleur-de-lys details, was purchased at an auction for $400 and it is joked that it is the only privately owned fence bought with public funds.
The Church of the Yellow Fever Martyrs, built in 1841 by the Episcopalians but sold to the Catholics in 1858, was completely disassembled by hand and moved to its current location. During the yellow fever epidemic, the Catholic sisters and their priest, Father Oberti, devoted themselves to caring for the victims and ultimately died of the fever themselves. The church was later converted into a museum to honor the martyrs who were buried in Hill Crest Cemetery.
Hill Crest Cemetery is the resting place of 14 Confederate generals, unknown soldiers from the Battle of Shiloh, the first African American senator Hiram Revels, acclaimed writer Sherwood Bonner — who studied under Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — and Kate Freeman Clark, a local painter who studied under William Merritt Chase.
Guests are also invited to attend “An Evening at Montrose” Saturday, April 19. Beginning at 6 p.m., enjoy a traditional Southern supper, silent auction to benefit the Montrose restoration fund and a cash bar. The celebration continues at 8 p.m. with the presentation of the Pilgrimage queens and live music by local favorites -- The Diggs. Enjoy the entire evening for $25 per person or join us after supper at 8 p.m. for $15 per person/$25 per couple.
Home tours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are just $35 a person (seniors 65+ and groups of 12 or more receive a $5 discount) for the Friday and Saturday tours. Sunday tickets are only $25 per person (no discounts given) but all three churches will be closed for services, as will Montrose.
Tickets can be purchased the day of the tour at the Marshall County Library or in advance by contacting Lockie York at (662) 252-2365 or Susie Murphy at (662) 252-6479.
For additional event information or information on accommodations, please contact the Holly Springs Tourism Bureau at 888-687-4765 or visit our website at www.visithollysprings.org.
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