Lost History: Cummings-Leach-Hammond House (1845/1891)

The Cummings-Leach-Hammond House was originally built in 1845 by J. Y. Cummings. This original home was a small one-story cottage which faced west, towards Maury Street.  William A. Roberts (1827-1888) owned the house from 1863 until 1880, when the original house went through foreclosure.  In 1884 the house was purchased by Joshua G. Leach (1842-1904), who owned the Leach Hardware Store on the east side of the Holly Springs Square (where Bookers Hardware is today).

In 1891, Leach began a massive rebuilding project at the house, turning the home into a huge Queen Anne Victorian house and adding an entire south wing and second floor.  This house had elaborate stickwork and other decorative elements and a gorgeous full-length porch.  The main entrance of this new house faced south, onto Van Dorn Avenue.  At some point between the years 1900 and 1907, the house’s most distinctive architectural feature- a circular cupola on the southwest corner- was added (see the 1907 Sanborn Fire Map above).

After Leach’s death in 1904, the house was inherited by his daughter, Pauline Leach Hammond (1897-1981) who married Barnett Hammond (1887-1949).  The Hammond family lived here for over 75 years.  Walter Blaylock owned the house from 1983 until 1985.  From 1985 until 1990 the house was owned by Tommy Otto.

In early 1990 a devastating fire completely destroyed this grand Victorian house.  After the land was cleared, local attorney Steven Farese Sr. constructed a new home on the property, which he named Farewood, and which was modeled after an antebellum home in Natchez called “Edgewood”.  Farewood faces west, towards Maury Street, as the original 1845 house once did.  Steve Farese continues to live in the house today.

Between 1891 and the house’s destruction in 1990, the Cummings-Leach-Hammond House was a two-story hip-roof frame Queen Anne Victorian house, with a four-bay shed-roof porch with decorated frieze supported by square posts with brackets and a conical-roof gazebo cupola on the southwest corner.  Above the front door was a single-bay gable front porch with round arch openings and a millwork balustrade.

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