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Boyd House, late 19th century

The Boyd House

The Boyd House was built about 1853 as a five-room cottage with a deep porch and colonnade of square wooden columns across the front. A simple gabled roof runs the length of the structure, parallel to the street.

The Oaks’ exterior is in the Greek Revival style that was popular at the time of its construction. Large six-over-six windows hang in unadorned cypress frames, and the cypress front door is surrounded by windows. The house is sheathed in tapered wood siding that has been covered in many coats of paint through the decades. The earliest was a medium blue-grey color with cream trim, as the house is now painted.

James Hervey Boyd and Eliza Elllis Boyd
James Hervey Boyd and Eliza Ellis Boyd

Decorative trim is sparse and plain, befitting the Greek Revival detailing. Graceful wooden arches within each bay across the front were probably added in the 1880s. A very early photograph of the house shows living vines curving about the delicate arch trim and on diamond-shaped trellises on each end of the porch.

The first major renovation of the Boyd House was in the early 1880s, when daughter Mary Boyd McGill and her husband Richard F. McGill moved into the house with the widow Eliza Boyd and made many improvements. Numerous receipts and invoices from that time, now in the Library of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, attest to extensive repairs and additions. The McGills made additions to the back of the house to enlarge the living space, adding a cook stove, indoor plumbing, and eventually electricity.

Boyd House, 1930s
Boyd House, 1930s

The rear porch on the house (now enclosed) dates to the late 19th century, probably when the McGills made their substantial changes to the house. A kitchen ell was added about the same time, although the ell that currently extends to the back was constructed later.

The second renovation of the Boyd House was in the 1960s, when the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Mississippi acquired the property for its state headquarters and opened it as a house museum. Today, new conservation efforts are underway at The Oaks. Funded in part by a Mississippi Landmark grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, consulting experts have prepared analyses of the archaeological, architectural, landscape, paint, and interior aspects of The Oaks, with recommendations for appropriate restoration and re-creation of The Oaks for the interpretive period of 1853 to 1863.

823 North Jefferson Street  -  Mail PO Box 4240   -  Jackson, Mississippi  39296-4240  PH. 601.353.9339 Click for map