Lewis House (Oldfields)
Oldfields was constructed circa 1845 as the residence of Alfred E. Lewis, an important GulfCoast planter, merchant, politician, and Civil War officer. The Greek Revival house is illustrative of the Coastal idiom of the style, having columned undercut galleries across both front and rear elevations. Its front gallery affords stunning views to the water, taking full advantage of the picturesque setting facing the Mississippi Sound.
Perhaps even more significant than its architecture are the people who inhabited the house. In addition to his extensive economic enterprises, Lewis at various times served as county tax collector, postmaster, and state representative. In 1861 he was a signer of Mississippi’s Ordinance of Secession, raised his own regiment known as the Live Oak Rifles, and rose to the rank of colonel in the Confederate service.
In 1906 the house was acquired by the parents of Agnes (Sissie) Grinstead, who later married renowned artist Walter Anderson. For several years in the 1940s the Andersons lived at Oldfields with Sissie’s family, during which time Walter Anderson did some of his most important artistic work.
Because of the house’s location near the water, Hurricane Katrina’s winds and tidal surge inflicted severe damage. Porch flooring and clapboards were ripped off, the huge hand-hewn sills were exposed, many windows were broken, interior floors buckled, and plaster ceilings and walls were soaked. Despite a restoration grant offered by the Department of Archives and History, due to litigation over the property’s ownership, no restoration or stabilization work was undertaken. Loss of Oldfields would be another tragic, and needless, casualty of Hurricane Katrina.
2015 Update-No Progress
Oldfields remains open to the elements, continuing to deteriorate. This property is currently on the market for $499,000.