Mont Helena

I was lucky enough to make the short trip north into the Mississippi Delta last week to visit Mont Helena.

I did not get a picture of the house and surroundings, as I was on a bus, so I borrowed this from picturemississippi.com…

Mont Helena picturemiss.com

 The Colonial revival home was built atop an Indian mound near Rolling Fork, MS, in 1896.  Helen Johnstone Harris had inherited land here and she and her husband, George Harris, set about to build their “retirement” home.  Before their belongings had even arrived the home caught fire and was completely destroyed.  These folks were survivors though, they immediately began to rebuild!

This was not the first tragedy Helen Johnstone had encountered by any means.  As a young girl of about 17 or 18 she met the love of her life thanks to a carriage accident which brought Henry Vick to her front door.  The two quickly fell in love and wanted to marry.  Helen’s mother gave her blessing but said they would wait until Helen turned 20 for the marriage to take place.  Here comes the tragedy – Henry was killed in a duel one week before their wedding date – the date of Helen’s 20th birthday.  She goes on later to marry George Harris, an Episcopal priest, and they live a long and happy life together raising their three children.

After their deaths and the passing of years, Mont Helena fell into serious disrepair.  Its windows and doors were taken, family members moved mantels to other homes and the house began to fall apart.

By 1993 almost all hope was lost…

mont helena1

photo above from their website www.monthelena.com

 Enter a distant relative of Helen’s and the restoration was underway.

The entire community has come together in this effort and this piece of history is not only being saved, but the people of Rolling Fork have banded together to share the amazing story through a theatrical production.  Old and young, black and white, vocalists, actors, lighting specialists, flower arrangers, cooks and no telling who else go to work each spring to bring the story of Mont Helena to life.

This one is worth putting on your calendar but you will have to wait until 2016 because all of the performances for 2015 are sold out!  I understand that the entire two week schedule sells out on the day that the dates are released so you might want to check the website for release dates!

steps used to lead up the mound to the house but this is all that remains of them today…

Mont Helena

we were delivered to the entrance by volunteers in golf carts…

Mont Helena

Mont Helena

we enjoyed a charming musical welcome…

Mont Helena

Mont Helena

beautiful view from the porches…

Mont Helena

Mont Helena

at intermission you are invited to enjoy the wedding reception that Helen and Henry never had…

Mont Helena

 Townspeople do all the food preparation and serving and believe me this is one reception that would make our mothers proud!

floral arrangements were stunning…

Mont Helena

Mont Helena

my photo is blurry because the lights were flashing for Act II to begin but here is Helen…

Mont Helena

and George…

Mont Helena

I was amazed and impressed at the level of talent this small town encompasses.

 It was a magical night and not without a bit of mystery…

Mont Helena

did you look closely?

Helen’s ghost is said to appear here…

Mont Helena

I hope your week is off to a not so scary start…

ghost-dog

thanks for the invitation L & J!

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Comments

  1. So interesting! Our neighborhood streets are actually named after these families–Vick Drive, Mont Helena, etc. It’s always interesting to hear the histories of the people from long ago who were in our area.

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      I do love knowing the stories behind things such as the naming of your streets – I don’t think I ever thought about that when I have been in your neighborhood!