Rowan Oak

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William Faulkner House
Rowan Oak
Location Old Taylor Road, Oxford, Mississippi
Coordinates 34°21′35″N 89°31′29″W / 34.3598°N 89.5247°W / 34.3598; -89.5247Coordinates: 34°21′35″N 89°31′29″W / 34.3598°N 89.5247°W / 34.3598; -89.5247
Built 1844
Architect Col. Robert Sheegog
Architectural style Greek Revival
Governing body State of Mississippi
NRHP Reference # 68000028
USMS # 071-OXF-0502-NHL-ML
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 23, 1968[2]
Designated NHL May 23, 1968[3]
Designated USMS January 15, 1986[1]

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, which 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 Miłosz, Charles Simic, Richard Ford, James Lee Burke, Bei Dao, Charles Wright, Charles Frazier, Alice Walker, the Coen brothers, Bobbie Ann Mason, Salman Rushdie, and others. Writer Mark Richard once repaired a faulty doorknob on the French door to Faulkner's study.

Rowan Oak.JPG

Rowan Oak was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968.[3][4]

Rowan Oak Landmark

After its most recent renovations, some of which were funded by part-time Oxford resident and Ole Miss law school alumnus, John Grisham, Rowan Oak was rededicated on May 1, 2005.

The current curator of Rowan Oak is William Griffith. Past curators include the novelists Howard Bahr and Cynthia Shearer. The original curator was Bev Smith, an Ole Miss alum, who was responsible for finding a great deal of Faulkner's original manuscripts hidden within the home.

The address for the house was once 719 Garfield Road in Oxford, but the road changed names in the 1980s to Old Taylor Road.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mississippi Landmarks". Mississippi Department of Archives and History. May 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  3. ^ a b "William Faulkner House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  4. ^ Polly M. Rettig and John D. McDermott (March 30, 1976). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: William Faulkner Home, Rowan Oak. National Park Service.  and Accompanying 9 photos, exterior and interior, undated. PDF (2.38 MB)

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