Waverly is a cotton plantation 13 miles downriver from Memphis at Bigg's Landing, Arkansas. The center-hall house is in the Greek Revival style popular from the 1820s until about 1860. The exact construction date for this house isn't known, but trim, doors, and interior details are typical of the 1870s and 1880s — not surprising, since not much was built during the Civil War and Reconstruction years, and styles were slow to change in rural areas. In 1910, the house was moved behind the new levee to protect it from flooding. It was put on tall brick piers with a full story below, perhaps replicating its original construction, since raised Greek Revival cottages were found in great numbers throughout the South. Waverly is fully restored and is situated on 31 acres of landscaped grounds, less than a half-hour drive from downtown Memphis.
The façade has a full-width porch, opening to a wide hall that runs all the way through the house. The main level has 11-foot ceilings and narrow oak strip floors, probably installed over the original heart pine flooring when the house was moved. The hall begins as a foyer, with four French doors that can be folded against the walls to promote air circulation. The middle area of the hall is used as a grand living room. It's focused on a fireplace with a marble surround and flanked by arch-headed bookcases with paneled doors. A large cased opening connects the central living room to a 17-foot-square dining room with an immense bay window that looks west into the landscape, where an evergreen Southern magnolia and a deciduous Japanese tulip magnolia are prominently sited just outside the window, along with a hedge of burning bush and another of indica azalea.
A renovated kitchen is behind the dining room, and the breakfast room occupies the rear of the center hall, with a long view down an allée of Natchez crape myrtles. A cross hall connects through a library to a sun porch on the eastern side of the house, looking toward a 12-acre fenced pecan orchard.
Two of the original main-floor bedrooms have intricately planked and paneled ceilings, fireplaces, and alcoves. The other two bedrooms have been converted to a master suite. Its sleeping area has an original fireplace with modern gas logs; and the rest of the space is a dressing room/office and bath with a large shower and separate tub. The lower level has been enclosed, doubling the floor space and used for a handy mudroom, laundry, game room, and guest suite consisting of two bedrooms, two baths, a sitting room, and a kitchenette.
The property has a parking court out front, another parking area to the rear, a two-story carriage house, two workshops, a barn, and stables. The best seat in the house is, and probably always was, on the high, wide front porch, where long views through the tall pecan trees stretch over fields of cotton that run as far as the eye can see.
7250 Waverly Road, Procter, AR
Approximately 5,700 square feet
5 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths; $595,000
Realtor: Coleman-Etter, Fontaine, 767-4100
Agent: Jeanne Arthur, 634-2800