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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Open House: 1938

Open House: 1938

1938. Iberville Parish, Louisiana. "Belle Grove. Vicinity of White Castle. Greek Revival mansion of 75 rooms. Built 1857 by John Andrews, who sold it to Stone Ware. Occupied by Ware family until circa 1913." What was left of Belle Grove, reputedly the largest plantation house in the South, burned to the ground in 1952. 8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Beautiful Melancholy

Oh, what I would give to have had the opportunity to poke through this incredible home before it's demise! Something about this magnificent me wanting to see if there were other pictures of the place. Not many, but found a few here (thanks, Mary!). Such a sad story behind it, really.


I'm always curious at what point a person or family walks away from a house, especially a mansion. When does it go from livable to abandoned?


Did she ever photograph the inside of these homes? Granted, in many cases it may not have been safe, but other than the one photo with the odd door at the top of the staircase (and a couple others around that time, iirc), I don't think we've ever seen inside any of these homes. I would so love to go poking around in some of these!

Strange Coincidence

I took a cross country car trip and stopped in at White Castle to look at the old Belle Grove plantation just yesterday. The adjacent fields still grow sugar, but the house is completely gone, replaced by dozens of brick tract homes.

House envy

Reminds me of Nottoway Plantation, also in White Castle. Nottoway was built in 1859 for John Hampton Randolph.

Oven Safe

Stone Ware! It has a solid ceramic sound to it.

The best part

is the weed growing out of the chimney.

It was a beautiful house.

For the curious, there are more photos and information about the house here:

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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