Longwood and the Civil War
Dr. Haller Nutt already owned Winter Quarters in Louisiana, but wanted to build a dream home for his wife, Julia. With the help of architect Samuel Sloan, he designed a beautiful and unique octagonal structure with an onion dome. The exterior was mostly finished, and the interior in rough form when the Civil War broke out. Northern crafstmen working on the mansion left the work unfinished and set out for home, fearing reprisals from those with Southern sympathies.
The Nutt family lived in the finely furnished basement for years, though Dr. Nutt himself died shortly after the war started. Today you can tour the home, inspect the unfinished interior for yourself, and view the grounds where Julia once tended to acres of roses.
Longwood is listed as an official National Historic Landmark.
Features of the Octagonal Mansion
Columns, partially plastered, lie in wait of an artisan to finish them. The photo at top right looks up toward what would have been bedroom suites, storage, and an observatory from which one could see all the way to the Mississippi River.
Though the main floor was to have dining room, library, foyer, and others, the basement was finely appointed to make living there comfortable while the rest of the house was being finished.