Adams French mansion, site of many Dwight Stevens auctions, for sale

The historic Adams French mansion – a 7,000-square-foot antebellum home in Aberdeen, Mississippi on the National Register of Historic Places – is for sale for $750,000.

The historic Adams French mansion – a 7,000-square-foot antebellum home in Aberdeen, Mississippi on the National Register of Historic Places – is for sale for $750,000.

ABERDEEN, Miss. – The historic Adams French mansion – a 7,000-square-foot antebellum home on the National Register of Historic Places, situated on four bucolic acres atop the highest elevated point in Aberdeen – is for sale for $750,000 (or best offer). The buyer would also have the option of purchasing the home’s top-quality furnishings from the period.

The seller is the mansion’s sole occupant – Dwight Stevens, the owner of Stevens Auction Company. After acquiring the house in 2002, and until 2006, when a fire affecting the roof forced a two-year renovation, Stevens regularly conducted his auctions there. “The mansion was the site of many million-dollar auctions,” he said. “I have some great memories.”

The mansion was built starting in 1856 by Col. John Cox, a wealthy plantation owner who was also in the lumber business. Many plantation owners at the time built opulent homes like Adams French for their wives. In Col. Cox’s case, he built the home for his only daughter, Mary Jane. It took less than two years to complete, thanks to Cox’s sawmill, which supplied the lumber.

The purchase price includes a former church, first built in 1905 about four miles away by freed slaves who called it the James Creek Missionary Baptist Church. When Stevens learned that a group intended to tear the church down in 2005, he offered to move the structure to his mansion grounds. The move was documented on an episode of the Home & Garden channel.

The mansion features five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a modern updated kitchen and a formal parlor that opens into a formal dining room. The basement has been made into a full gym, while the third floor boasts a home theater, giant closets, a spare bedroom and a bathroom. An elevator travels from the basement to the second floor, a feature the Coxes couldn’t imagine in the 1850s.

The Masons purchased the property in 1933, only using it sparingly as they owned a former opera house in town and held their meetings there. When it burned down, they used the Adams French mansion as a Mason meeting hall from 1941 to 2002.

In 2002, the Masons decided to sell the building and approached Stevens to handle the auction. He agreed, and it changed his life. “I personally guaranteed a selling price of one hundred thousand dollars,” he recalled, “but when nobody bid that, I said, ‘Well, it looks like I just bought myself a mansion.’”

When the fire in June 2006 caused some damage to the home, Stevens was faced with a choice: renovate and restore it, or subject it to the wrecking ball. “I decided to save it,” he said. “It was actually a fairly easy decision, since I was already involved in the restoration of several other historic buildings in Aberdeen. It was just another major project.”

In 2008, Stevens moved into the mansion, this time as its sole resident (his auction business was, and still is, thriving, at 609 North Meridian Street). The house has the original mantel, heavy crown molding and a spiral staircase that spans the first to the second floor and also from the second to the third floor. All the rooms are tastefully done, with period accessories. The windows have heavy custom drapes and all the rooms have period 19th century chandeliers and gasoliers (which would be included in the purchase price).

Anyone interested in buying the Adams French mansion may call Dick Leike of Crye-Leike Realtors, at 901-486-2070. Visitors to the Stevens Auction Company website – www.stevensauction.com – can learn more about the Adams French mansion by clicking “Real Estate” on the toolbar. They can also watch a YouTube video on the home, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlXjZzQcPPE&t=47s.