Dunleith is one of the most picturesque and stately homes in the Natchez vicinity.
It stands on the site originally occupied by a house named Routhland, which was built by Job Routh and his wife, Ann Miller, during the late 18th century. Their daughter, Mary Routh Ellis, was a young widow who took Charles Dahlgren as her second husband when she was 15. Together they inherited Routhland, which burned to the ground in 1855 after lightning struck one of the chimneys. All that remained of the house were the carriage steps and the steps to the left of the present-day Dunleith.
The Dahlgrens decided to rebuild Routhland in 1856. Three years later, in 1859, Mrs. Dahlgren died. Her husband decided to sell the house in order to settle the inheritance.
Alfred Vidal Davis purchased the house for $30,000 in 1859. Mr. Davis is responsible for erecting the existing wrought iron fence, which cost $1,800. He also is responsible for changing the name of the house to Dunleith, a Scottish name. In the ensuing years the house was owned by several people for brief periods of time.
Located at 84 Homochitto St.
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In 1886, Joseph Carpenter, a prominent local banker, purchased Dunleith, and it remained in the Carpenter family for the next 90 years. During their ownership, Dunleith played host to some of the most lavish social gatherings in Natchez, if not in the South. The Carpenter family’s presence still is evident today, as daughters etched their names in the window panes. The custom was to make such etchings with the engagement diamond.
Dunleith was purchased by William F. Heins in November 1976. He owned the home for 23 years, operating a bed-and-breakfast establishment for the latter half of that period.
In 1999 the house was purchased by Michael A. Worley and Joy Worley. The Worleys immediately undertook a large-scale restoration and renovation. They have taken the property back to its original grandeur and have expanded the number of bed-and-breakfast rooms.
Dunleith is set upon 40 acres of land directly in the heart of Natchez. Several service buildings on the property include a carriage house and dairy barn, which are thought to be original to Routhland. There also is a brick poultry house and a three-story brick dependency directly behind the house.
The Greek Revival style is boldly evident in the architectural details of Dunleith. Among those details, the most prominent are the 26 Tuscan columns surrounding the house.
Dunleith is the last example of a fully colonnaded house standing in Mississippi. The brick and stucco columns that surround the house support a double gallery. Intricately designed wrought iron railings span the length between each column.
The interior of Dunleith is equally as grand, comprising 9,500 square feet of floor space. The floors are made of heart pine.
Adorning each fireplace is an Italian marble mantelpiece.
Although made of cypress, the baseboards on the first floor are painted to look like oak. The technique used to achieve this look is known as faux bois. The same technique has been used on the cypress doors, which have been made to resemble mahogany. Elegantly designed ceiling medallions enhance the chandeliers hanging throughout the house.