Save the date: October 20 and 21, 2017
Registration will open in April.
Established in 1809, St. Francisville is set in a unique location on a bluff of the Mississippi River. Often described as a town “two miles long and two yards wide,” the quaint community offers southern hospitality, charming shopping, and breathtaking scenery. Symposium events are held at several historic and picturesque locations.
Afton Villa Gardens
Although a fire in 1963 destroyed the beautiful antebellum mansion, the gardens at Afton Villa are among the most famous and picturesque in the state. Beginning in 1972, Genevieve and Morrell Trimble undertook the task of restoring the grounds. Today the estate contains almost 35 acres of formal gardens and pleasure grounds, including the famous ruins gardens, a formal parterre garden, a daffodil valley, and a historic family cemetery.
A cultural arts and reception center, Hemingbough takes advantage of the extraordinary scenic beauty of West Feliciana Parish. Conceived and developed by Arlin Dease, Hemingbough’s classic architecture and tranquil gardens provide an ideal setting for the Southern Garden Symposium.
Imahara’s Botanical Garden
Walter Imahara’s Botanical Garden was inspired by his father, James Imahara, who came to Afton Villa in 1950 to serve as Head Gardener and resurrect the badly overgrown grounds. This splendid garden sits on 54 acres and includes an existing cypress swamp along side an abandoned railroad of long ago. The 4-tier ponds and plantings of redwood trees, magnolias, hollies, palms, maples, and hundreds of azaleas all add to the natural beauty of the rolling hills and native trees.
Jackson Hall at Grace Church
Organized March 15, 1827, Grace Church is the second oldest Episcopal church in Louisiana. The present structure, built in 1858-60, is a well-preserved brick building reminiscent of Gothic country churches which dot the English countryside. Its peaceful oak-shaded cemetery is filled with fine statuary and Victorian monuments of marble and stone.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
This Catholic church was built in 1893 following a plan drawn by General P.G.T. Beauregard. The builders used cypress and pine, woods native to the area. From Catholic Hill visitors enjoy a splendid view of the Mississippi River.
The Rosale Plantation is one of West Feliciana’s most historic houses. Historians believe it to be the place where in June 1810 more than 500 local residents gathered to organize the West Florida Rebellion. After a fire in the 1880s destroyed the original brick home, an 1832 schoolhouse was moved to the site and the present home built around it. The study, dining room, stair hall and two bedrooms upstairs are the remains of the old schoolhouse. Other original features of the property include the cypress ceiling gazebo, which served as an ornate wellhouse. It too survived the fire and is the only architectural indication of what the original mansion looked like.
Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site
Built by Daniel and Martha Turnbull in 1834, Rosedown remains one of the most majestic properties in the area. The gardens are as grand as the home and were the province of Martha Turnbull throughout her life. The gardens grew out from the house over a span of several years, to cover approximately 28 acres. Currently, the planter’s home, historic gardens, 13 historic buildings and 371 remaining acres of Rosedown Plantation are preserved as a state historic site by the Office of State Parks.
Completed in 1903, Temple Sinai was called one of St. Francisville’s “most attractive places of worship,” and housed a sizeable Jewish congregation described as “charitable to the needy and kindly towards all without regard to creed.” Since its 2012 restoration, Temple Sinai serves as a non-denominational space for events and programs, and is part of an ongoing project that includes the restoration of the adjacent Julius Freyhan High School building, constructed in 1907.