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|History and floor plan of Nottoway Plantation|
|Topic Started: Jul 23 2006, 09:47 PM (2,222 Views)|
|Jane||Jul 23 2006, 09:47 PM Post #1|
Originally posted by Dan.
Thirteen sets of plans were drawn up by New Orleans architechs:Greek residences with squat pillars or slim ones,chastely classic or rococo;Italian-style villas;French chateaux.What settled the matter was the inclusion in one of them of an oval ballroom jutting out of the side-The White Ballroom,as the plans called it.
A structure rose that reflected its day of final plantation exuberance,inclined to the florid.The massive simplicity of the Greek temples that everyone had been wanting now struck many as rather naive-that unrelieved procession of classic pillars.The taste of America,north and south,was changing.Nottoway,the building that went up near the river,was undeniably beautiful,a sight to halt you when caught suddenly from a turn in the road,but a place without perceptible restraint.
Again the Greek Revival was there,but transformed.Its two main stories stood above a sizable basement,all white stucco over brick.Nottoway's twenty-two columns were a free adaptation of the classic,unusually slender,extending about the building in a broken series of straight lines and curves.The maine facade was a two-storied gallery,pillared;from its middle a rectangle reached forward with double sets of columns on each side and a pair of stately granite stairways to the ground.Cast-iron work provided the handrail and appeared at intervals on other elevations.A thick cornice crowned the building with an irregular series of brackets.
To the right curved a seperate wing,making a three-quarter circle following the line of the White ballroom,with outside pillars and a sweep of ironwork.To the left was a wing with a single story of smaller columns;to the back reached another wing and several additional side galleries.The white front doorway came into view like a towering structure in itself,with carved acorns and oakleaves larger than life in processions up and across it.The wide hallway loomed twenty feet across and fifteen high,white and elaborate with its friezes,double Corinthian columns connected by ornamental arches,more pillars and secondary pillars.The dining-room,twenty-five by thirty-five feet,had plaster moldings representing pink and green camillia blossoms.And the ballroom ran most of the house's length,with everything white-woodwork,marble mantles,door frames,columns,friezes,tiered chandeliers,and finally an enameled white maple floor.
Then there was the ultimate in plantation spash-doorknobs of porcelain,each hand-painted in a different design of roses,lilies,or magnolias,with matching keyhole covers.The house contains two hundred windows,twelve mantles of Italian Carrara or black Austrian marble,five stairways in addition to the main one,bronze chandeliers shaped into the heads of grinning pagan gods,and a row of fifteen slave bells-each in a different tone to summon the domestics to the proper rooms.On the roof sat two rainwater cisterns of ten-thousand-gallon capacity.Nottoway was said to have been among the first places in the South to install bathrooms,one to each floor;the children remembered that they had to walk what seemed miles to get to either.The house boasted of a very early plantation gas plant and,it declared,the first slate roof theeabouts.
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