Just up on the right, you will see “Boxwood,” which was built for Wilds Kolb in 1850. The boxwood gardens around the house, said to have been designed by an English landscape architect, followed soon after. Mr. Kolb was very selective for his home in both material and design. His was the first home in Madison to have a hot water system and a “built in” bathroom. The third floor, with its frieze-band windows, is an unfinished attic with fireplaces. There, family treasures were stored, and children played on rainy days. Much of the wood in the house is black cyprus, which does not warp and decay as does pine. Around the doors of both entrances is Bohemian glass. One pane is scratched with the words “A. Felts,” which it is said was done by a Union solider in Sherman’s Left Wing.
Only three families have owned the house – the Kolbs, the Pous, and the Newtons. The parlor furniture and drapes put in the house by the Kolbs in the 1850s were traditionally passed with the house for 130 years. Miss Kittie Newton, who lived in the home for 93 years, kept the outside shutters closed so as to prevent the lovely green satin drapes from fading in the sunlight. After Miss Kittie’s death, her nephew donated the drapes and furniture to the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center where they are on exhibit.
The family tells a favorite story of the day when Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell came to visit at Boxwood: While sitting in the parlor, Kittie and her mother talked about the house and the original fabrics. At the time, drapes hung on only one side of each window because the drapes on the other side had been taken down and used to reupholster the sofa and chairs. Later, when Gone with the Wind was published, Kittie and her mother supposed that they had given Margaret Mitchell the idea for Scarlett pulling the drapes off the wall to make a dress so she could go to Atlanta to see Rhett Butler and not look like a field hand. Who knows if it’s true, but it makes a good story!