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Butler--Greenwood Plantation, where 18th-century English gardens greet the visitor
Courtesy of Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council
{photo2} Rear view of historic site

Standing as a fine example of an antebellum plantation house, Butler- Greenwood Plantation consists of 44 acres and a plantation complex including the plantation house, a gazebo, and a rear brick kitchen. The beauty of Greenwood lies in the landscape architecture surrounding this historic plantation home, and the side gardens flanking the house remain as one of the few extant examples of antebellum garden design in West Feliciana Parish. English and French stylistic garden features adapted to the Louisianan climate, as well as a sundial, summer house, garden gate and urns are the notable unique features of the Butler-Greenwood grounds. The north side garden is in the form of a geometric parterre, an ornamental garden with paths between the beds, reminiscent of the style developed in French gardens of the 16th and 17th centuries. In contrast to the formal geometric pattern of these sunken side gardens, the entrance of Greenwood, with its naturalized, free-flowing manner, is derived from the design of 18th-century English gardens.

In 1770, a physician named Samuel Flower came to the Baton Rouge area from Reading, Pennsylvania, and within a decade purchased the land where he would build Greenwood. In 1810 a fire destroyed the original Greenwood, but Flower built a larger house on the site, which is the present Butler-Greenwood Plantation home. Samuel Flower died in 1813, and the title of Greenwood eventually passed to his daughter, Harriet, who married Judge George Mathews in 1809. Mathews was an important figure in the early judicial history of the state, being one of the presiding judges of the Louisiana Supreme Court in its early phase. By 1860, Harriet and her son, Charles Mathews, were running a plantation of 1,400 acres worked by 96 African-American slaves living in 18 dwellings. After Harriet's death in 1873, the management of the estate fell on Charles's wife, Penelope. The history of Greenwood Plantation provides an excellent illustration of how southern women managed great southern plantations. The house possesses a degree of architectural significance despite the loss of its historic three-story side wing.

The Butler-Greenwood Plantation is located on 8345 US Hwy 61, 2 miles north of St. Francisville The house features bed and breakfast accommodations and guide tours Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm for which there is a fee. Please call 225-635-6312 for further information.

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