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    Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential LibraryBeauvoir, Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library Gulfport, Mississippi
    Beauvoir, which means "beautiful to view" is the historical post-war house and Presidential library of Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, that was constructed in 1848, right across from the Biloxi Beach in Biloxi, Mississippi, and how it would get its name. The estate originally consisted of the house, some outbuildings and 608 acres of land. Today it has shrunk to just 52, and the outbuildings were destroyed, when the main house would be badly damaged from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, after having survived another terrible storm called Camille that hit in 1969. At the time the site was inhabited by a Louisiana raised cottage style plantation residence, Confederate soldier museum, former Confederate veterans home, the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum, a botanical garden, gift shop, numerous outbuildings and a historical Confederate cemetery that houses the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier. Five of the seven structures would be lost in the storm, but copies of those buildings lost are now in the works. The house is encompassed by oaks, magnolia trees and cedars, and did have an orange grove in the rear of the house at one time, and the house faces the Gulf of Mexico. Beauvoir was constructed by James Brown, an entrepreneur and planted, started in 1848 and finished in 1852. It was sold to Frank Johnston in 1873, and not long after, to Sarah Ann Ellis Dorsey, who was a novelist and intellectual from Natchez, as well as being a staunch southern sympathizer. She lived in the house with her half-brother, Mortimer Dahlgren, and she asked Davis to stay at the house and write his memoir, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. Jefferson accepted her generous offer and moved into the library pavilion in 1877. His wife, Varina, would join him later, and in 1879, Davis would arrange to buy the estate for $5500 to be paid to her in three installments. Sadly, Sarah passed away within six months, but left the estate to Davis in her will. The Davis family would move into the main house, with their youngest daughter, Winnie, and they would live there until Jefferson's death in 1889. Varina would stay at the estate until she finished her book, Jefferson Davis: A Memoir, and then she and Winnie would move to New York City in 1891. Jefferson left the estate to his daughter Winnie, but she passed on in 1898, with the property reverting to Varina, who would sell off much of the land to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1902 to be used as a memorial to her husband and the location of a home for Confederate veterans and widows.

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    Lynn Meadows Discovery CenterLynn Meadows Discovery Center Gulfport, Mississippi
    From the beginning, the discovery center has been a community project, with the initial funding coming from the Gulfport Junior Auxiliary and the opening in 1998. The museum's name was chosen to honor the memory of Lynn Meadows, Carole Lynn and Joe Meadows' daughter that was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1984, while she was a student at Ole Miss. The center is located in the Mississippi City Elementary School, that had been built in 1915 and considered an architectural display itself. The center is spread across 15,000 square feet of indoor space, and six acres of outdoor play space that includes a tree house village, meeting rooms for workshops, camps, a woodsy cabin on a stream and birthday parties. Katrina would leave the area a mess, but it has all been replaced or rebuilt now and is ready for all visitors. Exhibits now being shown include Kid's Street, What It's Like to Be Me, Celebrate the World We Share-Mexico, The Super Colossal Climbing Sculpture, The Porthole, Mississippi City History Hotel, WLMDC-TV, Winn-Dixie Morning Market, Bear Camp Bayou, A Matter of Science, The Dolan Avenue Depot, Tree House Village and Pelican Porch Cafe & Bayou Bait Shop.

April 22, 2011