Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Duncan House on TV!

The restoration of the Duncan House made the news today on Tupelo’s WTVA. Here is a link to a short clip entitled Historical Corinth Home to be Restored.

CORINTH, Miss. (WTVA) -- It's one of the oldest houses in Corinth and now, it's about to be saved. Four houses that were built prior to the Civil War remain in Corinth. The Duncan House is among them.

Kenneth Williams says the house was built by William Duncan in 1858. It originally stood just around the corner from its present location. During the Civil War, it was occupied by a Confederate and a Union general - at separate times, of course. The five-room frame house is being moved 26 feet from its present location.

"It probably won't be worth one bit more once it's relocated and fixed up than it was previously, but it's something the community needs and we're excited about doing it,” says Williams.

Williams says the exterior of the home will be restored to its original design.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Duncan House took a short journey today!

The Duncan House took a short journey today! It's being moved 28.5 feet to distance the historic structure from its twentieth century neighbor, and to help restore the old home to its original Civil War era appearance.

NA and I bought the threatened property a year ago to preserve it. The meticulous process of research, restoration planning, and governmental approval, not to mention weather delays, have caused a year to pass before the actual moving work could begin.

Our plan is to restore the building’s exterior to its authentic 1862 look. The Duncan House is one of only four pre-Civil War structures remaining in Corinth. The antebellum home is a key contributing feature to Corinth’s Civil War National Historic Landmark, and to insure we maintained that designation, the National Park Service had to approve each step along the way. The Duncan House will remain on its temporary wheels for a week or two, then will be set in its new permanent location, less than nine yards from its location for the past century! We are excited, and hope it will be another interesting historic attraction here in Corinth, for our citizens as well as out of town guests.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Thumbnail History of the Duncan House

Below is a photo of the interpretive sign placed in the yard of the Duncan House in the early 1990s by the joint city-county Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission. Based on the best historic research available at the time, the text for this exhibit panel was reviewed and approved at both the state and federal levels.

Since (contrary to what many of my younger running buddies assume) I was not around in 1862, I will rely on this brief description as a “thumbnail sketch” of the home’s history during the Civil War:

"Built shortly before the Battle of Corinth by W. L. Duncan, this five-room frame house originally stood on Jackson Street, around the corner from here. Several remodelings give the house a newer look than is shown in the 19th century sketch above, but the structure's original form can still be recognized. The house is presently being restored.

Confederate General Pierre G. T. Beauregard headquartered here in 1862 until he moved to the Fish Pond House after the Battle of Shiloh. Union General William Rosecrans is thought to have occupied the dwelling for a time before taking command of the Army of the Cumberland."

Friday, July 3, 2015

1860 M.A. Miller Sketch

Below is the earliest known visual recording of Corinth’s historic Duncan House. This sketch was done in 1860 by M.A. Miller, an engineer working in Memphis. For unknown reasons, Miller sketched more than 100 buildings in Corinth, including the Duncan House. His drawings are contained in a sketch book, which was given to the Corinth Public Library around 1990, by a Miller relative living in Virginia. I don't pretend to be an expert on the Miller sketches, but I can assure you Corinth is mighty blessed to have this unique visual record of our City from the first decade of its existence!

This small sketch of the Duncan House is amazing. Note the written description of the front windows: "21 lights, 7 X 3." That means there were 21 panes of glass total, seven panes high and three panes wide - a huge window! We hope to be able to replicate those windows. Also note the house originally had a portico on the front, rather than a long porch. We hope to replace the portico soon.