Built in 1840-48, Madewood Plantation House reflects the
aspirations of its original owner, Colonel Thomas Pugh, a
member of a prominent and wealthy Louisiana family. Madewood
represents one of the finest and purest examples of the Greek
Revival style architecture in a plantation home.
In a grove
of oaks and magnolias, facing Bayou Lafourche, Pugh and his
architect, Henry Howard, constructed a house whose classical
splendor would surpass that of the neighboring plantations.
Madewood was the manor house for the group of plantations
that Pugh acquired in the 1830s and 40s, which eventually
totaled some 10,000 acres.
Sugar cane production brought economic
prosperity to the area around Bayou Lafourche in the first
part of the 19th century. While Madewood is one of many plantations
along the bayou, it stands out for its architectural grandeur,
which is unique in its blending of its Classical features
with indigenous material.
The grounds today include the main
house and attached kitchen, and in the rear, the carriage
house, the Pugh family cemetery, Elmfield Cottage and the
Madewood slave quarters.
Second floor collonade of Ionic columns
Photograph from the National Historic Landmark collection
The house is built of bricks made on the plantation, while
the exterior is covered with stucco, scored to represent masonry
blocks and painted white.
The proportions are carefully determined,
the six fluted Ionic columns rise two stories, with the central
portion retaining the character of a Greek temple.
wings, echoing the predominant elements of the main house,
complete the facade. The interior contains 23 rooms, with
floors of heart pine, doorframes and moldings of cypress,
painted to resemble oak (or faux bois). Each doorway is signed
by the artist, Cornealieus Hennessey.
Elsewhere, the woodwork,
including the cypress mantelpieces, has been painted to resemble
marble or exotic woods. The Harold Marshall family purchased
the property in 1964 and undertook a major restoration of
the home, which was completed in 1978.
The property is now
owned by their sons, but is open to the public daily and is
the center for an annual arts festival and other cultural
Madewood, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 4250
Hwy. 308, Napoleonville. It is open for tours 10:00am to 4:30pm
daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
Call 1-800-375-7151 for further information.