Rowan Oak, Oxford, MS

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rowan Oak...

One of the bookcases in the front room of the house...

It was an absolute beautiful day....
Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jackie wanted us to tour the Faulkner House at Oxford while we were there for the Ole Miss/Vanderbilt game.  So we took the couple block trip over to it from the square in Oxford.  It was just beautiful Saturday.  Lots of leaves turning and the temperature was about 75, a perfect fall afternoon.

Here's an excerpt from the Rowan Oak listing with wikipedia:

Rowan Oak, also known as William Faulkner House, is William Faulkner's former home in Oxford, Mississippi. It is a primitive Greek Revival house built in the 1840s by Robert Sheegog. Faulkner purchased the house when it was in disrepair in the 1930s and did many of the renovations himself. Other renovations were done in the 1950s. The house sits on 4 landscaped and twenty nine acres of largely wooded property known as Bailey's Woods. One of its more famous features is the outline of Faulkner's Pulitzer-prize winning novel A Fable, penciled in graphite and red on the plaster wall of his study. Though the "rowan oak" is a mythical tree, the grounds and surrounding woods of Rowan Oak contain hundreds of species of native Mississippi plants, most of which date back to antebellum times. The alley of cedars that lines the driveway was common in the 19th century. The studs of the house are 4"x4" square cypress; they were hand-hewn. Faulkner drew much inspiration for his treatment of multi-layered Time from Rowan Oak, where past and future seemed to inhabit the present.
In 1972, his daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers, sold the house to the University of Mississippi. The University maintains the home in order to promote Faulkner's literary heritage. Tours are available. The home has been visited by such writers as John Updike,Czesław MiłoszCharles SimicRichard FordJames Lee BurkeBei DaoCharles WrightCharles FrazierAlice Walker, the Coen brothersBobbie Ann MasonSalman Rushdie, and others. Writer Mark Richard once repaired a faulty doorknob on the French door to Faulkner's study.

I loved learning that Faulkner renamed the property Rowan Oak, a tree that is a symbol of peace and security.  There were lots of interesting tidbits throughout the property.  A case with an empty bottle Jack Daniels in it and this quote, "I have found that the only tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food and a little whiskey".  He had a writing room, guest bedroom for his two step children and a grand piano in living room that his only daughter Jill would play.  And it had a piano book on it that she played from.

A lot of the furnishings of Rowan Oak reminded us of Bill Shaver's love of Faulkner.  He had a ton of Antebellum furniture like that at Rowan Oak.  If you visit, be sure to tour outside and around the grounds.  Faulkner was an avid rider and lover of the outdoors.  The grounds were quite impressive and I think the whole property is about 30 acres.

It's $5 to tour the house and it's really something to see.  Be sure to read all the info cards about each room etc.  You'll have to go outside to view the kitchen that was added later and I think updated in the 1950's.
Rowan Oak 662-234-3284

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