Historic Structures

Riverview Mansion - Burris House - McLaran-Humphreys House, Columbus Mississippi

Date added: July 23, 2021 Categories: Mississippi House Mansion Greek Revival

Riverview was constructed between 1847 and 1851 for Colonel Charles McLaran (1808-91), a native of Baltimore, who migrated to Lowndes County, Mississippi, in the 1840s and became engaged in cotton production. In 1847, he was one of the founders of the First National Bank in Columbus and by 1850 was listed as the second largest landholder in the county. McLaran's name frequently appeared in local newspapers, which urged him to seek the governorship of Mississippi. This he declined, "... having no fondness for either emoltiments or honors of public office". His most prominent contribution, however, remains the construction of Riverview, which attracted considerable interest from contemporaries. To satisfy public curiosity, the Southern Standard of November 12, 1852, carried a lengthly description of the mansion and of a "great festive entertainment" which had occurred during the previous week. An architectural evaluation headed the article:
. . . Our townsman. Colonel Charles McLaran, recently had erected on one of the most eligible and beautiful situations within the limits of our city, a splendid and costly brick mansion, the crowning architectural structure among the many stately edifices, private and public, that adorn our city, and delight the eye of the stranger en passant, — and which, in dimensions and external grandeur — internal arrangements, style and exquisit [sic] finish is, probably, superior to anything of the kind to be found in the Southern States."

In 1857, McLaran sold Riverview to John Gilmer, owner of the Gilmer Hotel in Columbus and a former state representative. Gilmer, known as an early advocate of the extension of certain civil rights to women, owned the house until 1881, the year of his death. His widow sold the property to a Columbus lawyer, W. W. Humphries, whose decendants retained the title until 1965. Threatened with demolition, the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Pratt Thomas, prominent local preservationists. Riverview remained rented until 1971, when it became the property of Dr. and Mrs. John Murfee, Jr., who restored the home.