Evergreen Plantation, Grenada Mississippi

Date added: May 18, 2023 Categories: Mississippi House Plantations & Farms
Rear elevation, looking east (1975)

Evergreen was built ca. 1855-59 for Robert Mullin (1818-1885), a native of Belfast, Ireland, who came to America as a child and first lived in Ohio and Kentucky. He was attracted to Mississippi in 1838 because the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830) opened up the north-central part of the state for settlement. Establishing himself as a tailor in the now extinct Yalobusha River town of Troy, he soon engaged in other business interests such as shipping cotton. Mullin married Mary Walton in May, 1843, and the couple eventually had nine children. According to an 1890 reference,

About 1859 [Mullin] purchased the place that he afterward named Evergreen plantation, consisting of twenty-two hundred acres of the choicest land in the county, and on this erected a large, two-story brick house, a very handsome and imposing structure. This building, standing on an elevation covered with magnolia and evergreen trees, commands a lovely view of the surrounding country and is picturesque in the extreme.

A distinctive feature of the construction was the use of prefabricated finishing elements, such as the stairway, mantels, and possibly the doors with frames, which were obtained from Hinkle, Guild and Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. One source names John Moore, a local house carpenter, as designer and builder of the house. Moore, one of the earliest settlers in the area, is credited with the construction of at least three other Greek Revival houses in Grenada.

After the Civil War, Mullin established himself in Grenada as a successful businessman and community leader. In 1870 along with John Moore and Sheriff L. French, he was commissioned to supervise the erection of a jail, and during an 1878 yellow fever epidemic he was one of three citizens appointed to a relief committee to administer emergency services to the people and the town.

A fire in Grenada's central business district in 1884 destroyed many mercantile establishments, including Mullin's, but within a few months he had rebuilt. The editor of the Grenada Sentinel praised Mullin's enterprise:

If this community is indebted to any one man more than another for the renaissance, which has appeared in Grenada after a lapse of more than half a century, it is Mr. Robert Mullin. ... His age and experience assure others, younger than himself, that he is a safe business man, and wherein he would lead in improvements, others might safely follow. That he had capital to make good his tastes and his pride in such buildings as would remain as momentoes to his enterprise, when he should have passed away (December 20, 1884).

Elsewhere in the same issue the editor commented that the buildings constructed by Mullin would "long stand as a material monument of his good taste and ambition. .. ." We imagine this splendid building is simply the desire of his old age, to do something for the benefit of the people amongst whom he lived, worked, toiled with no stain to mar his escutcheon.

Mullin's youngest son, R. W. Mullin, married Effie Thomas in 1890, and in 1926 Evergreen Plantation passed to their only child, Mary. In July 1974, the property was sold to Grady and Frances Green, who in turn sold Evergreen to Jack and Mary Wallace Crocker in June 1976.

Building Description

The Evergreen Plantation house and four outbuildings are grouped symmetrically in a tree-shaded eight-and-a-half-acre yard enclosed by a fence and served by a circular drive that turns east off of Hardy Road approximately four miles north of Grenada and two miles from the extinct town of Troy, Mississippi. The fence along Hardy Road is of decorative cast iron, with a tripartite pedestrian and vehicular gate opening onto the drive at the center. The main house is a two-story, five-bay brick structure with a tin-sheathed gable roof, two stuccoed chimneys rising symmetrically from the ridge, a wood-bracketed plaster cornice, and matching two-story central porticoes on the east and west facades. The hip-roofed porticoes are surrounded by low brick steps and supported by square paneled brick columns which are reflected by pilasters. They shelter simple Greek Revival doorways with square-paned transoms and sidelights at both the first and second floor levels, decorative iron railings on the balconies, and a scored stucco wall covering on the primary (west) elevation. The segmental-arched windows are capped with a decoratively corbeled crown that is plastered on the facade examples. All windows contain the original double-hung, six-over-six wood sash, and most of the original louvered exterior blinds survive in place.

A brick walk surrounds the house, connecting it with two flanking one-story brick octagonal dependencies that reflect the overall design of the house with similar details such as tin roofs, bracketed cornices, corbeled chimney caps, and segmental-arched windows. Behind the house, two rectangular two-room out-buildings face each other across the yard. In spite of serious roof and wall damage caused by a fallen tree, an original mantel survives in one room of the north structure, the original kitchen building. The south rear dependency, which probably originally accommodated house servants, has been used as a garage in recent years. Other structures that originally stood on the Evergreen Plantation grounds included a lattice well house, which has been dismantled and stored on the property, and octagonal iron gazebos, which were removed from Evergreen by the youngest son of the builder to his home two miles away.

The interior of the Evergreen Plantation house reflects a simple center hall plan, two rooms deep, on both floor levels. The plan and an elevation of the house appear in an 1862 catalog of Buildings Furnished by Hinkle, Guild & Co., a Cincinnati, Ohio, architectural supply firm; and most of the interior millwork details can be traced to stock designs advertised in the same catalog. The eight major rooms each measure twenty feet square, with fourteen-foot ceilings, and a straight stair rises along the north wall of the center hall. The first-floor hall and parlor (southwest room) contain the most elaborate millwork in the house. Architraves in the hall feature the Greek Revival crossette surmounted by a dentiled cornice, while the parlor examples are composed of tall pilasters supporting an entablature with a dentiled cornice and wide frieze. The parlor ceiling is ornamented with geometric designs executed with applied wood moldings. The house has eight fireplaces, originally served by six mantels of wood and two of cast iron. The wooden, and one of the iron mantels, of simple pilastered Greek Revival design, survive in place. The more elaborate Rococo Revival cast-iron parlor mantel was removed in recent years. The original floors throughout the house are of random-width pine boards, with a painted grain in some rooms. Alterations to the house have been minor, and all were effected in 1926, when narrow hardwood flooring was installed over the original floorboards in the first-floor hall, the parlor, and the dining room; two bathrooms were installed by enclosing space in the southeast room on both floors; and a kitchen was created in a portion of the northeast room on the first floor. The Evergreen Plantation house and outbuildings have suffered some deterioration in recent years, but a complete restoration begun several years ago by the last owners will be carried to completion by the present owners, who plan to make Evergreen their home.

Evergreen Plantation, Grenada Mississippi View of west (front) elevation (1975)
View of west (front) elevation (1975)

Evergreen Plantation, Grenada Mississippi Rear elevation, looking east (1975)
Rear elevation, looking east (1975)

Evergreen Plantation, Grenada Mississippi View of stair and typical interior door treatment, from southwest (1975)
View of stair and typical interior door treatment, from southwest (1975)