Shadyside was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
Shadyside (107 Shadyside Street) is a one-story square brick Greek Revival dwelling with hipped roof. Originally the roof was pierced by two interior chimneys and two inside end chimneys and surmounted at the center by a large clerestoried room topped with a pyramidal roof and adorned with a balustraded eave (Thomas M. McNeely, owner of old photographs of Shadyside). The southerly facade of the house rests upon a high stuccoed brick foundation with a beveled water table, while the rear of the house is near ground level. The southerly and westerly elevations are laid in Flemish bond with finely struck joints, while the rest of the house is laid in common bond. The center bay of the five-bay facade is fronted by a portico supported by two fluted Greek Doric columns echoed on the front wall by unfluted pilasters. Columns and pilasters are linked by massive turned balusters and a molded handrail. The frontispiece is composed of a single-leaf four-panel door surrounded by attached box columns, side lights set over molded panels, and transom, the whole of which is recessed behind attached box columns supporting an entablature. The molded wood cornice of the portico is continued on all elevations of the house. The windows, which contain six-over-six double-hung sash and are closed with original shutter blinds, are adorned with cast-iron window caps on the southerly and westerly elevations.
The interior plan is a double-pile central-hall plan with a parlor on each side of the hall. Sliding doors set within a molded shouldered architrave divide the hall into an entry and a wider rear room, originally used as the dining room. Ceilings of both hall spaces are adorned with lavish plaster centerpieces. Mantels of the parlors and rear hall are designed with molded shouldered architraves, as are door and window surrounds. Bases of these rooms have double fasciae, and windows are set over molded panels. To the rear of the parlors are two chambers with architrave door and window trim, plain wooden pilastered mantelpieces, and molded bases with single fascia.
A gallery at the rear of the house extends the full five bays of the structure. The gallery is supported by wooden box columns linked by rectangular-sectioned balusters and molded handrail. An interesting feature of the rear gallery is the enclosed cork-screw stairway that winds to the clerestory room, now roofed over. The gallery makes a right-angle turn at the northeast corner of the house to become the first-story gallery for a two-story brick service wing. The service wing has a hipped roof of standing-seam metal and is fronted by a double-tiered gallery, partially enclosed on the second-floor level. Square wooden columns were originally joined by rectangular-sectioned balusters, and upper and lower galleries were connected by a straight flight of stairs.
The service wing, which is five bays wide, features a single-pile plan of three connected rooms. The first floor contains the original kitchen, pantry, and family (or winter) dining room. The upstairs consists of two larger bedrooms and a smaller connecting room. There are two inside end chimneys. Mantels are wooden and pilastered, and the woodwork is simply executed. An interesting feature of the service wing is the original two-story brick privy, attached corner to corner and entered from the ends of the service-wing galleries.
The Shadyside property includes a ca. 1900 rental house.
Shadyside is a finely executed suburban Greek Revival dwelling, representative of houses built by successful members of the rising middle class in antebellum Natchez. The house was built for Ralph North, attorney, circuit court clerk, legislator, circuit court judge, and author. His most famous publication was A Treatise on the Law and Practice of the Probate Courts of Mississippi (Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1845), which was for many years a standard reference text in Mississippi law libraries (Daily Democrat, May 21, 1891.
In Antebellum Natchez, D. Clayton James uses Ralph North as one of several examples of successful men of the middle class in Natchez in 1850 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968, p.166). Ralph North, who was born in Connecticut in 1813 and moved to Mississippi during his boyhood, received his formal education at nearby Jefferson College, in Washington, Mississippi. North studied law, was admitted to the Mississippi Bar, and was active as an attorney or judge until one year prior to his death, in 1891 (The Daily Democrat May 22, 1891, p.2). During the 1840s North served in the state legislature and was a leader of the forces opposing the location of the state university at Oxford (James, pp. 124-125). He was also one of two attorneys for the Natchez Building Association (chartered 1852), founded to accumulate savings and to award loans for purchase and construction of houses. The organization was an early form of present-day savings and loan firms (James, p.212). A journal kept by North indicates that the most prominent and influential citizens of Adams County were among his clients (Thomas M. McNeely, photocopies of pages from Ralph North's journal as copied from the original by Mary Elizabeth Postlethwaite). One of North's client; was William Johnson, a freed slave, who was self employed as a barber. In 1951 William Johnson's Natchez, the Ante-Bellum Diary of a Free Negro was published, in which Johnson refers frequently to his business dealings with Ralph North. In 1850, Johnson records that North was chosen to deliver the oration at a mock funeral held to mourn the passing of President Taylor (William Ransom Hogan and Edwin Adams Davis, eds., William Johnson's Natchez, The Ante-Bellum Diary of a Free Negro [Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951], p.740).
In 1849 North acquired the fourteen acres of Concord Plantation on which he built Shadyside (Adams Co., Miss,, Deed Book GG:564). Although no definite proof has been found, the architect of Shadyside was probably James Hardie, designer of many antebellum Natchez mansions. Stylistically, Shadyside resembles other buildings designed and/or constructed by Hardie, who was listed as a client in North's journal (Thomas M. McNeely, photocopies of pages of Ralph North's journal). During the Civil War, North entered the Adams Light Guard as a volunteer and was a gallant member of the Sixteenth Mississippi regiment (The Daily Democrat, May 22, 1891, p.2). In 1867 he lost Shadyside by mortgage foreclosure, and the house became the property of Osborne K. Field (Deed Book 00:634). In 1890 it became the property of Thomas Junkin (Deed Book 3-E:526), who had, as part of a corporation, previously divided the original fourteen-acre Shadyside tract into building lots (Deed Book 3-E:280). Descendants of Thomas Junkin owned the property until 1971, when Shadyside was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McNeely. The house had been vacant for almost ten years and was surrounded by a rapidly deteriorating neighborhood, which has continued to deteriorate during the seven years that the McNeelys have owned the house. Himself an attorney, Mr. McNeely deserves much credit for assuring the preservation of Shadyside, home of one of Mississippi's most esteemed jurists.
Adams Co., Miss. Chancery Clerk. Deed Books GG, 00, 3-E.
Hogan, William Ransom and Edwin Adams Davis, eds. William Johnson's Natchez, The Ante-Bellum Diary of a Free Negro. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951.
James, D. Clayton. Antebellum Natchez. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,1968.
McNeely, Thomas M. Photocopies of pages of Ralph North's journal as copied by Mary Elizabeth Postlethwaite, Natchez.
McNeely, Thomas M. Photographs of Shadyside.
North, Ralph. A Treatise on the Law and Practice of the Probate Courts of Mississippi. Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1845.
The Daily Democrat (Natchez), May 21, 1891.
† Mary Warren Miller, consultant, Shadyside, Adams County, Natches, MS, nomination document, 1978, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.