Enterprise, Mississippi, is full of history and beautiful historic homes like the Stephenson-Allen House.
Enterprise is situated in rural Clarke County in east central Mississippi. The city was established in 1834 to serve as the county seat (the seat would later move to Quitman, Mississippi). An abundance of nearby waterways, including the Chickasawhay River, made travel to Enterprise accessible by steamboat. The city grew quickly and by 1839 was incorporated with streets and alleys. The waterways surrounding the county also allowed it to enter the booming cotton trade. Enterprise became a busy river city with people coming from far way to trade goods and then purchase the necessities for living. The ongoing trade in Enterprise led to a large commercial center.
As more businesses opened there were increased opportunities for residents who moved to the city. This led to construction of many lovely homes in the latest architectural styles with materials brought over from Europe.
Of the homes that were built prior to the Civil War, sixteen remain standing and many are listed on the National Register of Historic Homes. One of those homes is the Stephenson-Allen House on Bridge Street. It was listed on the national register of historic places in May of 1980. The nomination form notes the home’s military history and architectural significance.
The Allen Home was built around 1850, and named “Acquinasaw” the Choctaw word for “our home”.
Just as Enterprise was thriving as one of the largest cities in the state of Mississippi, the Civil War began. The city served as a Confederate supply depot and as a base for recruiting troops. Laura Miller Allen’s home served as the headquarters for Confederate officers in the area.
Around 1900, the house was purchased by Laura Stephenson, a prominent citizen of the community who compiled Clarke County’s Works Projects Administration source material. The home has been owned by her family for almost 80 years and is still occupied by her family.
Aquinasaw’s architectural significance is based on the homes evolution from a Greek Revival to a Queen Anne cottage. Greek Revival features that have been preserved in the home’s original structure plan, entrance with sidelights and transom, and stylistic details, particularly on the interior. Aquinasaw’s Queen Ann features can be seen in the home’s attic gable, encircling veranda with balusters, spindles and brackets, and multi-gabled roof that joins the original kitchen with the house. This house an example of changes in style over time.