Belle Grove Plantation was an elaborate Greek Revival and Italianate-style plantation mansion near White Castle in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Completed in 1857, it was one of the largest mansions ever built in the South, surpassing that of neighboring Nottoway Plantation, which is often cited as the largest antebellum plantation house still remaining in the South. The masonry structure stood 62 feet high, measuring 122 feet wide by 119 feet deep, with seventy-five rooms spread over four floors.
Belle Grove was owned by John Andrews, a wealthy sugar planter originally from Virginia, who built the mansion from 1852 to 1857 at a cost of $80,000, not including the free (slave) labor or the plentiful cypress lumber and hand-made bricks produced on the plantation. The house was designed by New Orleans architect Henry Howard. Andrews had a legendary rivalry with the owner of Nottoway Plantation, John Randolph. This competition even extended to their mansions, with both massive structures designed by Howard in a mix of the Greek Revival and Italianate styles.
Following the American Civil War and ensuing collapse of the plantation economy, Andrews sold the home and plantation in 1867 to James Ware, for the meager sum of $50,000. The Ware family continued to live and farm the plantation until the early 1920s. After several bad crop years, they were forced to sell the home. From 1925 onwards the house sat vacant.
The post-Ware era at Belle Grove saw the finely crafted home rot away in Louisiana’s harsh environment. Neglect allowed a leaky roof to expand and destroy the rear wing of the mansion. Several owners purchased the home, each with aspirations of restoration, but none had the means necessary in the lean years of the Great Depression and World War II to stop the onslaught of rapid decay. On March 17, 1952, a mysterious fire during the night destroyed what remained of the house. – via Wikipedia.
(Imagery courtesy of the HABS/HAER Collections/Library of Congress/Tehrkot Media)