Jennifer Miller of Columbus, left, and her mother, Sandra Upchurch of Starkville, prepare the “Baby Doll” suite at the Moon Lake Guest House in Columbus Wednesday. Three suites at the home are themed after Tennessee Williams’ plays, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” They are part of the TWT Tour of Victorian Homes Sept. 8. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
August 25, 2013 11:31:21 AM
In addition to its antebellum belles, Columbus boasts many Victorian era homes that graced the city when Tennessee Williams lived on College Street, by St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Some will open their doors for tours from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, the final day of the 2013 Tennessee Williams Tribute.
The tour includes the first home of Tennessee Williams, the Welcome Center at 300 Main St.; the home of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Farris Smith at 1301 Third Ave. N.; A Painted Lady, the home of Jennifer and Katie Rose Miller at 504 Fifth St. S.; and a special stop at the nearby Moon Lake Guest House, to see the "Baby Doll," "Streetcar" and "Tin Roof" suites themed after three of Williams' plays made into well-known movies.
In these suites decorated with the movie sets in mind, visitors will encounter actress Melanie Hintz as "Maggie" in the room themed for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and Daniel Talley as "Stanley" in the suite that channels "A Streetcar Named Desire." Danielle Reviera will enlighten guests on Williams' work in the "Baby Doll" suite.
The two-story guest house is owned by Sandra Upchurch of Starkville and is being renovated by her daughter, Jennifer Miller, who owns A Painted Lady and its adjacent Coal House Antiques and Gifts. The Moon Lake Guest House is a sister company of A Painted Lady.
"This home has been apartments for probably 50 years; I've turned those apartments into super suites, with full kitchens," said Miller, who began the work in 2012. "I thought it would be wonderful to have a Tennessee Williams-based home right here in Columbus, in the town of his birth."
In addition to decor, each suite will hold movie memorabilia such as posters, photographs and scripts,
"And when a guest stays in that suite they can actually watch the movie about their suite," Miller smiled.
Tour-goers will be guided to the Moon Lake Guest House when they visit A Painted Lady.
Tennessee Williams Tribute founder and chair Brenda Caradine remarked, "This is really a new and wonderful aspect of the tours, as is the book signing by Michael Farris Smith at his home."
Smith's novel, "Rivers," is due for worldwide release Sept. 10 by publishers Simon & Schuster and is already garnering rave reviews. The Mississippi University for Women associate professor of English will sign books for tour visitors.
"It's kind of exciting to have a novel coming out and being part of the Tennessee Williams event at the same time," offered Smith. "He's a literary giant whose work I admire very much."
How to go
Home tour tickets are $20, available in advance at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. Or purchase tickets at the Welcome Center on the afternoon of the Sept. 8 tours.
Visit muw.edu/tennesseewilliams for a complete Tennessee Williams Tribute schedule of events, or call 662-328-0222.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.