If you’re a fan of Greek Revival architecture and history, there’s no better way to experience it than visiting Great American Treasures’ Greek Revival plantations and mansions. Greek Revival reached peak grandeur and elegance in the mid-19th century, and the South was at the forefront of this architectural movement.
A few of these historic properties have been preserved by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) and are open to the public, offering a glimpse into a bygone era. Pack your bags and set out on the open road for a journey through some of the most beautiful and iconic Greek Revival plantations and mansions in the South!
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- Dorr House in Pensacola, FL
- Oakley Plantation in St. Francisville, LA
- Kent Plantation House in Alexandria, LA
- Neill-Cochran House Museum in Austin, TX
- Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett
- St. Pete Florida Blues – Ray Charles
- Sweet Cakes – Junior Cook
- Louisiana Saturday Night – Mel McDaniel
- Didn’t Want to Love You – Don Rich
- That’s It! – Preservation Hall Jazz Band
- Dance De Mardi Gras – The Cajun Playboys
- Junker’s Blues – Champion Jack Dupree
- Jambalaya – The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band
- Texas Sun – Khruangbin, Leon Bridges
- Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette) – Tex Williams & His Western Caravan
- Austin Prison – Johnny Cash
Dorr House – Pensacola, Florida
We’re starting off our tour with a beautiful example of southern Greek Revival architecture in Pensacola, Florida. Built in 1871 by Clara Dorr, the Dorr House is a later example of Greek Revival architecture. In fact, the style was considered out-of-date in other parts of the country by that time, but that didn’t stop Dorr from creating a magnificent Greek Revival home for her and her five children after the death of her husband, timber industry titan Eben Dorr.
The house itself features dentil (tooth-shaped) molding along the cornices. Unlike most of the homes covered in our last itinerary, this home is painted canary yellow instead of the classic Greek Revival white. Also while the home is symmetrical overall, the home does not have a central door. Featuring both upper and lower porches as well as large windows, this home was adapted to suit the Florida heat and humidity.
You can visit the Dorr House as part of the Historic Pensacola Historic House Tour, which covers other historic properties in the area like the Lavalle House, Old Christ Church, and the Lear/Rocheblave House. Tours are held Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm, and cost $12 for adults and $7 for children aged 3-14 (admission is free for children under 3 years old).
Things to do Nearby:
- Pensacola Museum of History, at the University of West Florida – Exhibits, artifacts, programs & more on the history & culture of northwest Florida.
- Pensacola MESS Hall (Kid-friendly) – Interactive science & engineering museum where visitors are allowed to conduct actual experiments.
- Chappie James Museum of Pensacola History – The childhood home of America’s first black four-star general.
Places to Eat:
- Dharma Blue – Cozy cafe serving an expansive menu including everything from sushi to pork tenderloin.
- Seville Quarter – Vast venue offering 7 themed rooms including a pool hall, dance club, & many dining & bar options.
- The Fish House – This harborside go-to specializes in seafood & grits & includes a bar with live music nightly.
Dorr House – Great American Treasures
Oakley Plantation – St. Francisville, Louisiana
Oakley Plantation is not a Greek Revival plantation home, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting and comparing with the Greek Revival treasures on the rest of the itinerary! Many consider it a West Indies Style home with its jalousied (meaning horizontal slats) galleries that allow the breeze to come through the house, but not rain or harsh sunlight. Nearby plantation homes like Rosedown and Greenwood are Greek Revival through and through — white columns and white facades with the classic Southern expression of Greek Revival in the double front porches and central doors. Oakley Plantation, on the other hand, is architecturally significant because it features several anomalies not found in other structures in that area.
Unusually tall, Oakley seems to blend in with its surroundings, which are important on their own. It was here that John James Audubon began his 32 bird paintings which would later become famous in The Birds of America. He began the drawings while living in Louisiana for four months in the summer of 1821, tutoring the daughter of the plantation owners, the Pirries.
Get a glimpse of this unique home and the birds that still frequent the landscape. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids 17 and under.
Things to Do Nearby:
- West Feliciana Historical Museum – Great local museum highlights the history of West Feliciana Parish.
- West Baton Rouge Museum – Regional history exhibits & artifacts from a 19th-century sugar plantation on 6 oak-studded acres.
- Rosedown Plantation – Historic 19th-century plantation featuring a home with period furnishings, formal gardens & guided tours.
Places to Eat:
- Cafe Petra Greek & Lebanese Restaurant – Casual Greek and Lebanese joint serving up shwarma and other Mediterranean dishes.
- Restaurant 1796 – Warm and inviting restaurant featuring southern staples.
- Ma Mama’s Kitchen – Casual bistro with old-timey flair providing Cajun & Creole seafood classics along with happy hours.
- Walt’s Look Around: Oakley Plantation – A look around the historic Oakley Plantation in Louisiana.
Oakley Plantation – Great American Treasures
Kent Plantation House – Alexandria, Louisiana
We’re heading to the heart of Louisiana to see Kent Plantation House, a Creole plantation home that predates the Louisiana Purchase. Constructed in 1796, the house is a beautiful example of French Colonial Architecture. Kent Plantation House offers a glimpse of the unique influences that the French, Spanish, and American cultures had on the Bayou State, which is why all three flags fly over the entrance.
Notice the additional wings on each side of the home. Originally built as a typical 6-room Louisiana colonial home on a raised foundation, the Kent Plantation’s second owner added these two rooms both to add space and to reflect the Greek Revival style. That’s why the house isn’t as clearly Greek Revival as many of the rest of the homes in our itinerary. Tours of Kent Plantation House are offered Monday through Saturday at 9:00, 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00. Admission for adults is $11, and for children aged 6-12 is $3.50.
Things to Do Nearby:
- Forts Randolph & Buhlow State Historic Site – Historic spot with a visitor’s center, an elevated boardwalk & Civil War re-enactments in a field.
- Alexandria Museum of Art – Modest museum with permanent & rotating exhibits & classes in a renovated historic bank building.
- Moody Gardens – a 242-acre amusement park with hotel & attractions including an aquarium, zip line & paddlewheel boat.
Places to Eat:
- Word of Mouth – Homestyle American lunches is the draw at this charming, snug cafe with a down-home atmosphere.
- Wildwood Pizza – Casual, modern spot with sidewalk seats for specialty & customizable wood-fired pizzas, plus salads.
- Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux – This game-day bar serves burgers & fried fare, plus local beers & party platters for big groups.
- Big Blend Radio Interview: Kent Plantation House in Alexandria, Louisiana – Listen to the podcast host and a tour guide discuss the Kent House Plantation, one of the oldest standing structures in the state of Louisiana.
Kent Plantation House – Great American Treasures
Neill-Cochran House Museum – Austin, Texas
We’re concluding our tour of Greek Revival Plantations and Mansions with a bang! The Neill-Cochran House Museum is a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture with its massive overhanging porch ceiling supported by 26-foot tall wooden columns, with enough history to match its grand façade.
Originally constructed in 1855 at the height of the Greek Revival architectural movement in the United States, the house functioned as a school for the blind and a federal war hospital. The house gets its current name from the Neill family, who occupied the home from 1876-1893, and the Cochran family, who lived there from then until the 1950s. The house is one of the city’s oldest historic residences and includes Austin’s only intact slave quarters.
Today, the house tells visitors about the history of Austin, and Texas more broadly, from 1839 to 1930 through historically furnished spaces and rotating exhibitions. General admission is $8, and self-guided tours are available Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Things to Do Nearby:
- Bullock Texas State History Museum – Exhibits, IMAX films & educational experiences aim to tell & interpret the story of Texas.
- Austin Nature & Science Center – 80-acre nature center features educational exhibits including replicas of fossils & dinosaur tracks.
- Zilker Botanical Garden – 31-acre garden in Zilker Park with plants, ponds & trails, plus educational programs for kids.
Places to Eat:
- Home Slice Pizza – Thin-crust slices & pies for dining in or carry out, open late for takeaway on weekends.
- Dirty Martin’s Place – An Austin mainstay since 1926 with burgers, beer & American chow served in an old-school space.
- Cabo Bob’s Burritos – Chill, surf-themed mini-chain for Cali-style burritos & more made with health-focused ingredients.
- Neill-Cochran House Museum Tour – Take a look at the historic house museum.
Neill-Cochran House – Great American Treasures
Continue Your Journey Amongst Greek Revival Architecture
A tour of Great American Treasure’s Greek Revival plantations and mansions offers a glimpse into a fascinating period of American history, where the grandeur and elegance of the Greek Revival style were at their height. And when you’re done touring these stately structures, you’ll want to check out our guide to Greek Revival Homes for another American architectural odyssey!
Whether you’re planning a road trip or looking for a weekend getaway near you, be sure to add these iconic Greek Revival properties to your next adventure! And when you’re done, create your own adventure to explore even more Great American Treasures wherever you are.