Southern Comfort

Boarding House

In a quiet historic town, stands one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood. This Gothic Revival home was built in 1876.  The original owner was a prominent merchant and farmer in the area from 1869 to the early 20th century. After purchasing half a city block, the merchant contracted a local construction company and paid them $4,000 to build his 5,000 square foot residence on one of the lots. The elegant home featured a wrap around front porch, etched transom windows and fine architectural details.

Smith Home

In 1911, the merchant sold the home to his wife for $5,300.  It is believed the transfer to his wife as a sale, and not a gift must have been business or legal related. The merchant passed away 6 years later, in 1917.

Southern Comfort

Hard times followed, the boll weevil destroyed the cotton industry in the South throughout the 1920s. Bad economic times got even worse with the crash of the stock market in 1929, triggering the Great Depression. The widow never remarried after her husband’s death and sold the home in 1926 for $6,500.

Smith House
The large rosewood staircase and heart pine floors immediately grab your attention.

In 1937, in the depths of the Depression, Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) foreclosed on the new owner. HOLC sold the property in 1943 and it has remained in the same family ever since. During the 1950s, the downstairs rooms were used as a boarding house. The homeowner had a home beauty parlor on the right side downstairs which was her main source of income. Over the years, the home was passed through family members but ultimately became abandoned in the late 1980s.

Southern Comfort
This downstairs front bedroom was packed with clothing and random objects.

 The current homeowner was a well-known lounge singer in the area during the 1960s and 1970s. She had 4 siblings, including one brother who began writing graphic crime novels while living in the home with her. He wrote his novel drafts on a Royal typewriter he kept in the downstairs front bedroom.

Southern Comfort

In 1965, after 21 crime novels and several short stories under his belt, he decided to quit and move to Atlanta to open a printing business and start a family. To his credit, one of his novels became the influence for an Academy-Award winning movie.

Boarding House

Locals refer to the home as the ‘Hoarder House’ due to the vast amount of dolls, furniture, and other belongings left behind.

Southern Comfort
Wedding photos, divorce papers, and family photos were littered throughout.
Smith Home
The upstairs master bedroom appears untouched for decades.
Southern Comfort
Plaster from the falling ceiling covers the upstairs floor.

Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort
This Guild acoustic guitar was a pricey instrument in its time, there’s not much left of it today.

Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort
The kitchen was still fully stocked. Every cabinet was full of pots, pans, glasses, and plates.
Southern Comfort
An upstairs bedroom decorated for a child had the worse decay with a large, exposed hole where the ceiling collapsed.
Southern Comfort
Nintendo controllers and a vintage television in a child’s room.
Southern Comfort
One of the downstairs rooms that was converted into a bedroom.

Nature has been rough on the home over the years. The roof has large exposed holes with mold and falling plaster everywhere. Although the area is in a historic district, there are no plans to add this house to the National Register.

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10 thoughts on “Southern Comfort

  1. Excellent job on this. The pictures are stunning and the research you’ve done is impressive. This is the heart of what our hobby is….to gain a glimpse into the past and try to feel the lives that were once there. Thank you for taking us with you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Haunting photos that leave us with a greater understanding and at the same time…confusion. What could have have been an amazing home…left untouched. I saw this article on the Daily Mail UK online newspaper. It listed the home as being in Utica, MS – is there any way to verify that? I’m originally from that area and would love to know where it is located. Some friends in the area have ties to the Historical Society and have some interest in the house if it is in the area. Fascinating photography!

    Liked by 1 person

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