The Burris / Baby Doll House, Benoit MS

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The J.C. Burrus / Baby Doll House, Benoit MS

This is a pic of the old J.C. Burrus House, called Hollywood Plantation. It's the only antebellum structure in Bolivar County and is constructed of heart cypress. Today it's better known as the Baby Doll House because it was the setting for the 1956 movie Baby Doll, which is based on Tennessee Williams' 1946 play, Twenty-seven Loads of Cotton.

I've read that the reason it survived the war is because Judge Burrus knew the invading Federal officer while he attended UVA. It was also used as a Confederate hospital and headquarters for Confederate officers including General Jubal Early.

John Wilkes Booth is also said to have lived here for about ten days after shooting President Lincoln.

When the filmmakers for Baby Doll came out to Benoit, they promised the home's then-owners that in lieu of a fee for shooting, they would make some renovations to the home. Years later, people would come out to the house and actually take pieces of the house as souvenirs from the movie. Not nice.

Now the home looks really terrible. There are people that live in the side yard of the house, but I didn't get out to chat with them or anything. I read that the home was given to the Bolivar County Historical Society in 1974 by the Burrus family but it doesn't look as though much is being done.

The home was placed on the 2001 list of endangered places by the Mississippi Heritage Trust. Hopefully someone will take more of an interest in it and preserve the house as it has so much history attached to it.

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