Captain G.C. Adams built this house between 1848 and 1853 in the then-booming town of Red Banks, Mississippi, not far from Holly Springs. Cotton was king, and the land here was fertile. In 1853, James Wells bought the house and 20 acres. He enlarged the land holdings and lived here during the Civil War.
Originally, the house stood in an oak grove. When Grant was based in Holly Springs, some of his officers were quartered at Cedar Crest, and they felled the hardwoods to provide fuel for cooking and heating. After the war, Lebanon cedars were planted, and the house is named for the surviving trees.
Family lore maintains that Adams built this Greek Revival house to resemble his daughter's doll house. After the War of 1812, the new American republic rejected its ties to England and embraced Greek Classicism, because Greece was seen as the cradle of democracy. The low-pitched roof and columned front of Greek temples became the principle elements of the new architectural style. Round columns were more true to the Greek prototypes, but in rural areas, square box columns were easier to build, as seen here.
Adams harvested all the lumber for the house on the site. The ceilings are an impressive 14 feet high to cool the house and are covered in hand planed, butt-jointed boards, some still showing the original blue calcimine paint. Two large chimneys provided fireplaces to heat three rooms.
Double doors on the front porch open to the center hall, with a parlor to one side and dining room to the other. The four-paneled, pegged doors are 8 feet tall. Windows are even taller to provide ample cross ventilation. The floors are wide, heart pine boards.
The house was fully updated in 1992, including a new roof and central heat and air. The kitchen has a galley layout, with painted cabinets and Mexican tile floors and counters. The current master bedroom was a detached building moved over and appended to the house at the beginning of the 20th.
The house sits on eight acres and has several cypress barns. The drive winds through the property, ending in the cedar grove in front of the house.
Cedar Crest offers a renovated, historic house and enough land to develop extensive gardens or a hobby farm. The rear south yard is open and would be perfect for a kitchen garden and a large entertaining area with a pool. It's rare to find a 160-year-old house only a 35-minute drive from Midtown with such enticing opportunities.