BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Office of State Parks took over
management of Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville and reopened
it as a state historic site.
Ceremonies on Dec. 1 marked the first public access to the
plantation's home and buildings since 1994.
Only the grounds had been accessible to visitors under the
"We're eager to resume public tours to a historic treasure that
provides a unique window to Louisiana's past," said Phillip Jones,
secretary of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and
Tourism, shortly before the reopening.
In early November, the state bought the 370-acre antebellum
estate, a 40-minute drive north of Baton Rouge, for $5.7
The sale included the home, built in 1835, plus 13 historic
buildings and a 28-acre formal garden patterned after the French
style of the 17th century.
Also covered in the sale were the original furniture and
artifacts, valued at $1.3 million.
Earlier, the proposed purchase sparked controversy, with
opposition from those who believed the state's money could be
Fears and rumors that many of the home's original contents were
gone and that the state was getting little for its money, fueled
On inspection, however, according to Jones, everyone was
impressed with the quality and quantity of furnishings and the
condition of the grounds.
Minimal preparation was needed for the reopening, he said.
Original plans to reopen the grounds by next spring -- and the
home by July -- were abandoned in favor of reopening before the
Rosedown, near the Mississippi River and owned by Daniel
Turnball before the Civil War, was one of the area's largest cotton
It was passed to four unmarried sisters, Turnball descendants,
who in the 1930s opened the home to tourists while living on the
Sold in 1956 after the last surviving sister died, it underwent
an extensive eight-year restoration, with the home and formal
gardens returned to their antebellum state.
The home was closed to the public in 1994 after it came under
Rosedown Plantation brings the number of state historic sites
operated by the Office of State Parks, which comes under Jones'
department, to 16.
On Route 10 in West Feliciana Parish, it is open from 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. daily except for certain holidays.
Admission is $10; $8 for those ages 62 and older; $4 for
students ages 6 through 17, and free for ages 5 and under.
For details, call the Office of State Parks at (888)
The Web address is www.lastateparks.com.