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Myrtles Plantation

Courtesy of Lagniappe Tours, Foundation for Historical Louisiana

Myrtles Plantation and Gardens
Courtesy of Lagniappe Tours, Foundation for Historical Louisiana

General David Bradford was forced to flee from President George Washington's army in 1794, because of his leadership role in the Whisky Rebellion. General Bradford arrived in Louisiana and obtained a Spanish land grant of roughly 650 acres. A wealthy judge and businessman from Washington County, Pennsylvania, Bradford showed interest in the area before the conclusion of the unsuccessful Whisky Rebellion forced him to settle there. Bradford built the plantation that was later named "the Myrtles" in 1797. He died in 1808, and his widow sold the land to her son-in-law, Clark Woodruff, a lawyer and friend of Andrew Jackson. In 1834 Woodruff sold it to Ruffin Gray Stirling, who restored the plantation. The Stirling family held the plantation until 1894, after which it passed through a succession of owners. Restoration efforts on the gracious 1 1/2-story country house began in the mid-1970s.

The house itself is a broad, low, rambling frame mansion with a clapboard exterior and was built in two halves. The first half, which was built in 1796, forms the western six bays of the main fašade. These were increased in size due to mid-19th-century restoration, when the house also received a southward extension that almost doubled its size. The unusually long gallery is supported by an exceptional cast-iron railing of elaborate grape-cluster design. It is the interior detailing, however, which is perhaps the most important feature of the Myrtles Plantation. Most of the ground floor rooms have fine marble, arched mantles in the Rococo Revival style, with central console keystones or cartouches. Most of the rooms have plaster-ceiling medallions, no two of which are the same. All of the flooring and most of the windows in the house are original. The Myrtles Plantation is an outstanding example of the expanded raised cottage form that characterized many Louisiana plantation houses by the mid-19th century. The plantation house is touted as one of the most haunted houses in America, as it was the scene of a Reconstruction-era murder and other more natural deaths that have entered into local folklore over the years. Restored to its 1850s grandeur, complete with fine French furnishings and chandeliers, the Myrtles enhances its haunted-house reputation with candlelight mystery tours.

The Myrtles Plantation is located off US 61 North, in St.Francisville. It is open daily for tours 9:00am to 5: 00pm, with mystery tours at 8:00pm Friday and Saturday evenings; there is a fee for admission. The Myrtles also offers bed and breakfast accomodations, and a restaurant (closed Monday and Tuesday). Please call 225-635-6277 for further information.

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