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Eudora Welty Home gives visitors an...

Eudora Welty Home gives visitors an intimate look into one of Mississippi’s greatest icons

By: Courtney Ingle - March 23, 2023

Eudora Welty Home (Photo from Eudora Welty Home & Garden Facebook page)

The famed author lived in the Jackson home, built by her parents, for nearly eight decades.

Mississippi has no shortage of talent in any field, but arguably one of the shiniest jewels in the Magnolia State is Eudora Welty. 

During her lifetime, Welty amassed numerous writing awards, honorary doctorates, book-to-movie adaptations and the loyal readership of millions. Her work is translated in over 40 languages and is still being translated today. 

With all that success, it’s surprising that the Eudora Welty House is so beautifully modest. When you turn onto Pinehurst Street in Jackson, it seems you’re being pulled more and more into the Welty heyday; the modernity of 2023 melts behind and with each stop sign there’s a pull into another past decade until you park in front of the 1925 home. 

Welty lived in the home for nearly eight decades. She wrote every word of her published works from her bedroom, by the window overlooking the grounds of Belhaven University. Welty would then carry her works downstairs, cut out sections and lay them out on her dining table; one might argue that it was the original “cut and paste” system, though hers was more of a “cut and pin.” She used fabric pins to secure sections of writing together, much like a quilter works with squares. 

Truly, when touring the Eudora Welty Home, one steps onto hallowed ground. The home was built by Welty’s parents in 1925, when they commissioned the same architects that built the Lamar Life Building in downtown Jackson. Welty’s father, Christian, eventually served as president of Lamar Life, and some of the building materials from that building can be seen as steppingstones throughout the Welty grounds and garden. 

The introduction of the Lamar Life building is what inspired the Weltys to build right across the street from Belhaven University. They believed that the emergence of Jackson’s first skyscraper would propel the capitol city to be the next Big Apple, so the Welty family home was built where a green space would always be present despite the “big city renaissance” that never came. 

When the docent opens the door on your Eudora Welty House tour, it becomes clear that the house is enshrined exactly as Welty would have wanted. Books cover nearly every surface of the home. Over 5,000 books were found in the home when it was donated to the state following Welty’s death. If it were not for the carpet paths and border ropes winding throughout the home, you’d think you’d just stepped out of a time machine. 

Since the home belonged to her parents, Welty commissioned paintings of her father and mother, Christian and Chestina, to hang in the living room and dining room. Decor in the home is just as intentional as the words on Welty’s pages–many pieces represent something in Welty’s writings. Pictures of family members depict her adoration and a set of Golden Apples, a gift from a friend, references the writer’s collection of short stories entitled “The Golden Apples.” A small heart-shaped box on one of the tables in the parlor is a reference to “The Ponder Heart.” 

The next stop of the tour is the grand dining room. Again, Welty’s intentionality shines in the room. Each piece of furniture showcases either reverence – such as furniture milled from trees from her father’s childhood Ohio home – or her dedication to her craft, with published works on the shelves and her famous “copy and pin” editing method laid out on the table. 

Not every room in the home has all flowy, positive stories, though. The kitchen flue, still open in the wall despite its now electric appliances, is where Welty burned a story that was rejected several times. Beyond that kitchen is a makeshift breakfast space which was created when adding a closet in the adjacent bedroom for boarders during the Great Depression encroached on the once larger space. 

That adjacent bedroom was the longtime home of Fannye Cook, who was known as the first person to catalog Mississippi wildlife and was a driver to the creation of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Cook and Welty were a dynamic duo of iconic roommates until Cook had to move out so that Chestine Welty, Eudora’s mother, had a safer bedroom after suffering many strokes. Chestine passed away in that same bedroom. 

The entirety of the bottom floor of the Eudora Welty House now serves to connect visitors with the renowned author as a person, but it is the top floor that takes you right into her workspace. Welty’s bedroom is the largest in the house, with one half dedicated as a living space and the other half serving as her writing space. Not only did Welty craft every single one of her stories in her childhood bedroom, but she also penned close to 15,000 letters to her incredibly large social circle. The pigeon-hole desk by the window, next to her writing desk, displayed Welty’s VIP pen pals with each hole serving as the homes of her correspondence with her friends.  

Welty was not only known for her writing, but her photography as well. Every photographer then needed a space to develop their own shots. Welty chose the upstairs bathroom— with one single small window that she could easily darken. The sink is still stained from the chemicals used to develop photos to this day– a stark contrast to the beautiful robe still hanging on the hook by the door. 

If the inside of the home isn’t enough of a connection for you to the author, the grounds boast even more of a look into Welty’s life. The beautiful garden is designed in the 1920s traditional style with sections, or rooms, being themed. The Camellia room, for example, is where the young Eudora Welty would visit by candlelight late at night to tend to flowers left by her lover who was then serving in the War. She visited any time she heard of an air raid to “check in” on her lover, who encouraged her to put her worrying energy into the flowers. 

A playhouse stands beyond the rose garden, where each rose is named for its gifter. The playhouse was meant to be a “no girls allowed” retreat for Eudora’s brothers, however she and her girlfriends quickly took over and made it their social spot.

The timeless Eudora Welty House and Garden gives an intimate look into one of Mississippi’s greatest icons. Whether it is for a school field trip or for a fan experience, there’s a takeaway for everyone at the home. 

To schedule your tour, contact To reserve your tour, email or call 601-353-7762.

About the Author(s)
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Courtney Ingle

Courtney Ingle is a veteran journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience in print, radio, and digital media. Courtney brings her talents to bear at Magnolia Tribune to cover family-centered education and to elevate those unique aspects of Mississippi culture.