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(On ‘New’ Forty Highway)
Edwin S. Rice
It’s more than mortar, brick, and moss
That once escaped a lanter’s toss;
This southern mansion stands today
Just off a busy right of way –
And shows its beauty once again
Coaxed back from pity and distain
Slaves gathered purposed clay and wood
From sites within its neighborhood.
One hundred fifty years since then
A home to many heirs it’s been
Built by Thompson and his crew –
The years he occupied were few.
The Gossett family, next in line,
Used roof and walls to shelter nine.
And after that the Witthar clan –
Then the Carlson brothers ran
The witness to the border war,
Whose columns faced the Northern Star
Then, after eighty years of this
A highway (with commercial kiss)
Ran its new paved tourist route
Behind, and caused it’s roundabout.
They turned this monster without tilt
Preserved its walls, so seemly built
Once the columns faced the street
The commerce came, then slow retreat –
Its slide toward blight in later years –
Neglect’s reprisals; and the fears
Of ownership apparently
Steered its fate in large degree
Now recently, and praise the Lord;
A new ship’s – captain comes aboard –
This owner’s paint made white of gray –
Sandblasted brick brought new array
A busy crew shows enterprise
There’s second looks from passing eyes.
Stubborn columns still stand straight,
Olden beauty fares first rate.
Now fears now – TIME ‘threw the book.”
It holds that “Old Plantation” look.