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Posts Tagged ‘Leona Baer’

anshe-cemetery-sign

A few days ago my husband and I decided to take a little stroll in the Temple Anshe Chesed Cemetery. I know, not your typical mid-week, daytime, activity, but we’ve driven by this landmark many, many times and never taken the time to stop in and look around. (more…)

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Most of you know about outhouses. Some of you have probably even used one at one point in your life. I’m not talking about the port-a-potty johns at the county fair either, I’m talking about the real life wooden structures with a bench seat inside.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m sure you’re familiar with how these contraptions work; you dig a hole and place your little house over the hole. When said hole is full, you dig another one someplace else, move the house and throw dirt over the almost full former sewage hole. That is why outhouses were portable.

Well folks, the lady who designed my house (Leona Baer), had a different idea for her privvies. You see, she did not want her elite socialite friends and distinguished guests to have to trapise out into the elements to use the outhouse. Oh no, that would be a disgrace. She insisted that her privvies be attached to the house and under a covered walkway (aka porch). And, of course, there had to be a mens and a ladies facility. No co-ed for Ms. Leona Baer. No sirree.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Women's side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Women’s side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Men's side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Men’s side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Notice that the ladies side is much bigger than the mens? That’s because ladies wore hoop skirts and needed more room to negotiate around and get everything settled into place. Imagine trying to use the facilities shown above wearing this:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Now, having your outhouse attached to your house is certainly convenient, but it created a huge problem: what to do when the holes got full. Well, obviously, you clean them out. Say what? Shovel s$%@? I know. Right? Who is God’s name wants that job? But, shovel s$%@ someone did. You see, Leona had workers dig a pit, a cistern if you will, and covered it with a permanent structure that sat very close to the house (not completely attached) but connected by an extension of the porch. She really created a very primative septic system, minus the leach lines.

Here’s a picture of the downstairs portion of this structure. This shot is taken from the farthest end of the porch where the men’s privy was (the door on the left) looking back toward the back door of the house on the first floor.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

But, wait, there’s more.

If you will remember, the title of this blog mentioned a 2-story, 4-hole outhouse. Two stories? Yes, my friends – two stories. One hole on the ground level and one hole above it on the second story. Here’s how my second story porch looks. The privvies are through that little doorway at the end of the porch.

Upstairs porch and walkway to privy. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Upstairs porch and walkway to privy. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Notice the white lattice work at the end of the porch? Well, that would be the enclosure. You can see the 2 doorways at the very end of the hallway.

2nd story outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

2nd story outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Here’s what it looks like from afar. The privvies are enclosed by that white lattice on both floors.

Baer House Inn 2-story outhouse. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Baer House Inn 2-story outhouse. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

How do these things work you ask? Well, on level one of the house, a person walks in about 2 feet and encounters the hole. On the second level, a person walks in about 4 feet before encountering the hole. Now, mind you, there is a wall directly behind the hole on the ground level so nothing falls down upon you from above, but you can hear everything directly behind your head that falls from above. I know . . . how pleasant.

Why two stories? Well, thank you for asking. You see, Ms. Baer felt that her family should not mix and mingle with her esteemed guests, so much so that the children and servants were relegated to the second floor. But not just during parties or social events. Oh no. No, no, no. Children had to remain upstairs ALL THE TIME. They were never allowed downstairs. They even have their own set of outside stairs in the event they needed to leave the house. They were not allowed to enter or exit the home through the first floor. There had to have been a lot of this going on:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Not being allowed downstairs created a problem when little Sarah, or little Samuel had to use the facilities. So, Leona fixed the problem by creating their very own privvies on the second floor. The added bonus? If Leona needed to use the bathroom during the middle of the night, she did not have to go all the way downstairs and outside, she simply walked along the upstairs porch to her own private penthouse privy.

Now this structure, that is original to the home, is still standing and part of our house. Of course we don’t use it, but it’s here for everyone to see and admire. The downstairs portion has been repurposed into a very nice, very modern bathroom as part of room number 8, but the original outside doors are still in place. The privy doors are on the left in this picture and the door into room number 8 is on the right.

Room 8, Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Room 8, Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

 

Room 8 bathroom (former 1st floor outhouse). Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Room 8 bathroom (former 1st floor outhouse). Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

So tell me dear readers, have you ever seen a 2-story outhouse? Would you have wanted to have the job of cleaning out the poop cistern? Somebody had to do it. Yuck.

Word of the Day: Odurate

Fun fact about me: My uncle had a cabin in upstate Minnesota with no indoor plumbing and we had to use the outhouse whenever we visited. Good times.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode. Stock photos courtesy Google Images.

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So here’s part two of the virtual tour of the house that Leona built.

If you’ll recall, we left off in the awesome entry hallway downstairs that separates the front door from the back door. Let’s all go upstairs and take a peek into a few of the guest rooms.

Our first stop will be the Tara Room. I should let you know that currently all of the rooms are named after Gone With the Wind characters or houses, which are characters in their own right. However, we will probably be changing the names at some point in the future. We’re shooting for a more Mississippi themed house and Gone With the Wind was not set in Vicksburg or anywhere in Mississippi, although it is an epic Southern based media phenomenon.

So, back to the Tara Room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

 

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room has a lovely queen-sized 4-poster bed, a sparkling Austrian crystal chandelier, and a non-working fireplace. It has it’s own private bath and sits toward the back of the home.

Next we’ll visit the Rhett Room:

Rhett 2

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Rhett 3

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room has a queen-sized canopy bed as well as a day bed, however, in just a couple of weeks, a 4-poster twin bed will replace the daybed. It also has a non-working fireplace. It shares a bathroom with the Pineapple Room. The bathroom is across the hall because both the Rhett and the Pineapple rooms are in the oldest part of the home, the side that has no plumbing on either the first or the second floors. These are the largest guest rooms in the house.

Next, we’ll visit the Pineapple Room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Pineapple 2

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Pineapple 3

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Pineapple 4

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room is also on the older side of the home and has floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls. It has a king-size bed and, for now, the 4-poster twin bed that will be moved into the Rhett room, when we pick up the full-sized 4-poster bed we just purchased for this room. Like the other three rooms we’ve visited, it has a non-working fireplace. This room is usually allocated to brides for their use before wedding ceremonies conducted at the home, since it is so spacious and has lots of light from the four windows.

Take a peek back down the upstairs hallway as we go back across to the newer side of the home to the Bonnie Blue Room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Those cabinets on the left are built in and original to the home.

Let’s step into the Bonnie Blue Room, my favorite guest room:

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

This room, situated in the front of the house, has an impressive king-size bed and a small sitting area in the sunny bay window. This room was Lazarus and Leona’s bedroom when they occupied the home in the late 1870’s. It has a private bathroom, obviously added at some point after the home was originally constructed, and a lovely Austrian crystal chandelier. This is the only guest room upstairs that does not have an original fireplace. We believe it is covered up by built-in cabinets and shelving, added in the 1970’s when the entire home housed law offices and a law library in the current ballroom.

There are two more guest rooms, but it was difficult to photograph them since the lighting is not very good in those rooms at this point. We are upgrading our website and have a local photographer coming to take some professional shots so I’ll post those at some point in the future.

There is an upstairs porch on the back side, shown below, and a balcony in the front of the house, but you’ll have to experience that for yourself when you visit.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

Original photo by P. Rickrode. August 2015.

So that’s the end of our tour today. I hope you enjoyed this second glimpse of my new home. But, I hope even more that you’ll book a reservation to come experience the ambiance and grandeur for yourself. The front porch swing is a lovely place to sit and sip a glass of wine in the evenings.

So, what did you think? Which room do you want to stay in when you visit? Have a favorite? Any suggestions for re-naming the rooms? We’re trying to go with names and themes associated with Mississippi and it’s history. I’d love to hear your suggestions. I’ll even award a $10 Amazon gift card for any suggestions we decide to use.

As, always, thanks for visiting and your continued support.

Word of the Day:  Azimuth

Fun Fact About Me: I’ve never been fond of cats. (Sorry CJ.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode, August 2015.

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So I’m adapting to southern life relatively well. I now have my Mississippi driver’s license and license plate for the car, so I guess it’s official, I am a resident of Mississippi, Warren County to be exact.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But, what I’m still not used to, are certain words associated with things here in Vicksburg. Stuff ain’t called the right stuff here. For instance, in California I used to go to the grocery store; here, everyone goes to the market. Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to still call it the grocery store.

And then when I get to the grocery store market, I pick up one of those things to put my stuff in, you know, a grocery/shopping cart? Not here in Mississippi. Here you pick up a buggy. I know. What? Buggy? While I was checking out and unloading my – cart – the young man bagging stuff at the other end of the conveyor belt asked me for my buggy. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. After I figured out what he wanted, I corrected him – politely – advising that from now on he should call it a cart, otherwise I’d have no idea what he was referring to. I’m sure he’ll listen to my prudent advice.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

And here, no matter what kind of soda, or pop as they say in the mid-west, you order, it’s called coke. So if you want a Sprite, or a 7-Up, you order a 7-Up flavored Coke. You order a Coke and then let the wait person ask you what kind of Coke you want. How strange is that? I ordered a Coke with my lunch one day and she asked me what kind of Coke I wanted. Really? What kind of Coke? “I’ll have the coke flavored Coke please.” Weird.

Maybe calling all soda Coke is required here since Vicksburg is the very first place to bottle the fizzy beverage. Who knows. Just be careful what you order when you come visit.

All in all, Mississippi is treating me well. I’m loving it here and meeting some awesome people. Everyone wants to be my friend, everyone wants to take me to lunch, everyone wants to offer assistance. It’s so not like California in that regard. No egos here. No heads in cell phones. Just friendly smiles, waves, and people who truly want to be nice to me. What a refreshing change.

I say, come on out for a visit. I’m ready and waiting to feed you well and tell you some pretty cool stories about this old house and the crazy lady who owned it. Leona Baer – what a woman!

What strange words or phrases have you come across in your travels outside your hometown? Anything I need to know about the south before I fall into another faux paus? (Buggy. Whatever.) Please help a girl out here.

Word of the Day: Zoic

Fun fact about me: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say “ya’ll.” It just ain’t right ya’ll.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Here it is – my new abode! Come on in, take a look around. While you explore, I’ll share some of the history of the home. Let’s start in the ballroom:

Baer House parlor

The Baer House was constructed in 1870 by Leona and Lazarus Baer from an existing site with a brick structure dating prior to 1850. Most of the original house was destroyed during the siege of Vicksburg in 1863. Leona Baer (formerly Bloom) began reconstruction with the goal of building a Victorian home guaranteed to impress with elaborate woodwork in the Eastlake architectural style, made popular by Charles L. Eastlake in the 1870’s and common among the elite in New York.

If you’ll turn around, you can see the other end of this large room, which is where guests enjoy a hearty breakfast, complete with a variety of hot dishes, juice, fresh fruit, homemade breads, hot black coffee, and made-to-order specialty dishes.

Baer House dining room

Back to the home’s construction. Leona Baer, was quite the revolutionary woman, insisting on overseeing every aspect of the home’s design and monitoring it’s construction. She was very forward-thinking for her generation, insisting that the kitchen be inside the home (an unheard of idea at that time) and that there be privies on the first and second floors. That’s right, this home sports a two-story outhouse. Don’t believe me? You’ll have to make a reservation and check this out yourself. The structure is still standing and still attached to the house. Makes for interesting conversation among tour guests.

Let’s step into the hallway for this next portion.

Baer House hallway

The head-turner here is, obviously, the grand staircase, complete with solid walnut balustrade. Notice the floors? They were painstakingly constructed of black walnut and American chestnut, highly sought after for it’s durability and rot resistance. Yes, the chandelier is quite impressive as well, as are the crown moldings and ceiling medallions. However, what is spectacular about this floor is that it is irreplaceable since the entire American chestnut population in Mississippi was wiped out by the blight around the turn of the 20th century.

Up those stairs are 6 guest rooms, 4 with private baths, 2 with a shared bath. Most have either a King or Queen bed, 2 are mini suites. The upstairs, while still quite grand, does not boast the fancy trimmings of the downstairs. You see, Leona believed that the family, children in particular, should not socialize with guests until they reached a proper age, thus the need for upstairs privies. Until such time, children were to remain upstairs and out of sight. There are still 14-foot doors with glass transomes up there, but they are plain, not decorated with the fancy Eastlake trimmings. After all, family does not need to dwell among such lavishness; luxury is visible only to esteemed guests.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Perhaps next week, I’ll treat you to some photos of the guest rooms and share some more of the fascinating history, including mysterious activity that happens in certain areas of the home. For now, this was a smattering of the fanciness of my new digs. I might also tell you about some of the goings-ons (that sounds weird) here in Vicksburg. Yes, stuff happens even in the heat. I know, I was shocked, too.

How have you been managing the summer heat? Have you traveled anywhere fun this month? What cool old houses have you visited? Curious people want to know.

 

Word of the Day: Xerostomia

Fun fact about me: I’ve yet to find a dishwasher that removes egg from anything.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy TripAdvisor.com and Google Images.

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