Auburn is located in Duncan Park on Auburn Avenue in a setting of huge moss-draped oaks, magnolias and pines. The magnificent red brick mansion is owned by the City of Natchez and operated by the Auburn Garden Club, which has done extensive work in restoring the beautiful interior of the house and in getting some of the original furnishings back into the house.
Lyman Harding bought the land on which to build Auburn in 1807 for $8,000. A short time later preparations were begun for the construction of the mansion.
Actual construction of Auburn began in early 1812 as indicated by a letter written by the great architect Levi G. Weeks, addressed to an editor in Boston. The letter was dated Natchez, Sept. 21, 1812. After telling of business conditions in Natchez, Weeks said, “the brick house I am now building is just without the city line and is designed as the most magnificent building in the territory.”
Located at 400 Duncan Ave.
Tues-Sat: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Last tour: 2:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday
Tours upon arrival
Levi Weeks was one of the pioneers of the Mississippi Territory. It is assumed he left his home in Massachusetts some months before Dec. 7, 1807.
He evidently went from Cincinnati to Natchez, since he was known to be in Natchez about 1808.
Lyman Harding, for whom Weeks built Auburn, died in 1820, and in 1827, his estate sold Auburn and a tract of land to Dr. Stephen Duncan for $20,000.
The Duncans then added the wings to Auburn and furnished them exquisitely.
While living at Auburn, the Duncans entertained many national celebrities, including Henry Clay who made several visits, spending weeks at a time.
In 1911, Dr. Duncan’s descendants, Stephen Bingaman Duncan of Biarritz, France, and Stephen Duncan Pringle of Issaqueena County, Miss., deeded Auburn and the surrounding grounds to the City of Natchez as a memorial to the family that once filled an important place in the city.
At this time, the mansion was furnished with rare and costly antiques, and Natchez had not awakened to their value.
Feeling that an empty house might more easily be maintained, the city fathers sold the furnishings.
Through the years the house was opened free to the public as a museum. The grounds surrounding the house then and now are used as a city park, which offers golf, tennis, swimming, baseball, nature trails, playground equipment, picnicking facilities and much more.
Then on March 1, 1972, the City of Natchez leased Auburn to the Town and Country Garden Club, which later became the Auburn Garden Club.
This club operates Auburn on a volunteer basis. Proceeds from Auburn are used for its restoration and maintenance.
The entrance to Auburn, through a classic doorway with fan-shaped lights, has been aptly called “an architect’s dream of beauty.”
Inside the house is a majestic spiral stairway, rising to a grand high hallway, without support except at its base.