5 December 2001
UNIVERSITY, Miss. The main house of Rowan Oak, historic Oxford home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, will be closed Dec. 21 through June 2002 for extensive renovation and repair.
The grounds around the house, now owned by the University of Mississippi, will remain open to the public throughout the restoration process, said William D. Griffith, Rowan Oak curator.
We needed to close the house because theres just too much work going to be done, said Griffith, formerly collections manager of the University Museums.
Until Dec. 21, the home is open from noon to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays.
As the first phase of a $500,000 project funded in 1998 by the Mississippi Legislature, the home renovations include installation of an upgraded security system, new plumbing and structural supports, and a climate control system necessary to preserve Faulkners remaining belongings.
Built by a pioneer settler in the 1840s and situated in a grove of oak and cedar trees, Rowan Oak was purchased by Faulkner in 1930 and became his refuge from the world until his death in 1962. Ten years later, the University purchased the house and its 31-acre grounds from the author's daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers of Virginia.
University officials plan to seek private funds to complete renovation.
So far this year, an estimated 20,000 visitors have tread the cedar-lined gravel drive to reach the antebellum home, which is a National Historic Landmark and a National Literary Landmark. On a recent day, visitors came from as far away as Russia, Illinois, Montana and New York.
For more information, call Griffith at 662-915-7073 or 662-234-3284.