Home offers inspiring backdrop for social functions

Published 10:30 am Friday, May 3, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh


Designed after a famous antebellum home in Natchez, Mississippi built in 1790s, The Brown Estate was referred to as the Linden of Pinehurst. Edgar William Brown Jr and his wife, Gladys Slade Brown, built and lived in the house.

Antebellum is a Latin word that means “before the war.” In American history, the antebellum period refers to the years after the War of 1812 (1812–15) and before the Civil War (1861–65), according to encyclopedia.com

Linden is one of the oldest antebellum homes in Natchez,  the inspiration for Tara in Gone With The Wind. The main part of the house was built for six generations-one of the few remaining long-term family owned bed and breakfasts in the area. It is said that the design of the front door was in 1790, with the east wing addition in 1818 and the west wing addition in 1849, according to www.visitnatchez.org

Construction of the home began on October 8, 1954, and was finished in April 1956.

Approximately 20,000 square feet, the house consists of four bedrooms, five bathrooms, two family rooms, a formal dining room, a drawing room (now a second dining room), library, solarium, kitchen with a butler’s pantry, freezer room, laundry room, an office, and a hobby room. It also has a working basement.

Sitting on 88 acres of land, the structure commands attention as one enters the grounds.

Behind the magnificent home, is a water fountain just behind the solarium, adding the perfect touch to the house. Just past the gates and entering the rest of the property, one encounters not one but two bridges crossing the three-acre lake which has a second fountain constructed in the middle of the water.

As one takes in the beauty of the gardens, the water, and the architecture, one feels they have left all the hectic day to day behind and entered into a world of peace and tranquility.

Bridge over lake

The solarium, water fountains, and bridges were added in 1965. With the solarium as the room most used for meetings, luncheons, and receptions, it offers a glimpse into the beauty of the rest of the property.

In Brown’s will, the land and home were originally to be given to the Methodist Church to be used as a nursing home. The church rejected it due to the difficulty in remodeling it to be a suitable nursing home. The church accepted land elsewhere in the county and the four sons of the Brown’s conveyed the home and a trust find to Lamar University. It is considered a public service division of Lamar State College-Orange, Texas a member of the Texas State University System.


The library, found on the first floor, is paneled with solid oak, hand carved in a linen pleat/fold pattern, marred only by the two sword marks left from its early days in England, according to historical information provided by The Brown Estate Manager Terrie Smith.

Inlaid above the fireplace is a bass relief woodcarving entitled, “Monk’s Revelry,” depicting times before the Reformation, the 16th Century religious movement that aimed at reforming the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in stabling the Protestant Church.

The artist, from New Orleans, created the piece in 1908 and when it was completed, he attempted to remove his signature in the lower right corner of the work.

On the ceiling of the same room, the molding depicts the signs of the zodiac.

Mrs. Brown’s bedroom and dressing room is now the area bride’s prepare for their big day. The gold plated fixtures and wall-to-wall mirrors will make anyone feel like royalty. The original sink tops were made on onyx.

In Mr. Brown’s office, another carving above the fireplace will capture one’s attention. It a scene from Aesop’s Fables made of marble.

At the time of its construction, the Brown Estate cost a little over $1 million. To replace it today with the same quality materials and craftsmanship would cost over $10 million.

The Brown Center is able to hold events from 7 a.m. – midnight, seven days a week. It is also available for tours by appointment.

Office hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

The Brown Estate of Lamar State College-Orange is located at 4205 West Park Avenue in Orange. For more information on booking an event or scheduling a tour, call 409-883-2939.

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