175th Anniversary Celebration of Oak Alley's Antebellum Mansion, the "Big House"

From "French Creole culture" to "modern day Louisiana," this iconic home has witnessed 175 years of history!

Oak Alley Foundation will be hosting a year long celebration commemorating 175 years of its antebellum mansion, the "Big House", which was the cornerstone of the lives of the French Creole family that lived at Oak Alley.   Constructed from 1837 to 1839,  this year marks the 175th anniversary of the completion of this iconic structure.

 
We are working on finalizing several ways to commemorate this important celebration which will include:  an exhibit commemorating the Big House’s place in US History,  a celebration to welcome to the 5 millionth visitor which is expected later this year and a Civil War Living History Day. 
 
The land where Oak Alley sits was a working sugar cane plantation long before the Big House was built. Jacques Télésphore Roman acquired the property in 1836 and construction began on the antebellum mansion shortly thereafter.  It was the completion of this house, and turning this locale into a family home, that marked the true beginning of Oak Alley Plantation as an iconic place in its own right.
 
Today, the Oak Alley Plantation historic site is owned and operated by Oak Alley Foundation.  Oak Alley Foundation is a non-profit, Section 501(c)(3) private operating foundation, which is operated exclusively for charitable, literary and educational purposes. Its trustees are charged with maintaining and preserving the mansion (Big House) and surrounding twenty-five acre National Historic Landmark site for public exhibition as an historical monument to the times and area in which the property was built.
 
However, over the years, the plantation has had many interesting and diverse owners:
 

1820: Oak Alley Plantation, identified as “Section 7”, in land purchases made by Francois Gabriel “Valcour” Aime.

May 19, 1836: Francois Gabriel “Valcour” Aime transfered ownership to his brother-in-law, Jacques Télésphore Roman, builder of the “Big House”. The transaction was conditioned so that Valcour would acquire the nearby Roman family estate later referred to as Le Petit Versailles.

March 12, 1866: Henri Roman, son of Jacques Télésphore and Celina Roman, signed the plantation over to creditors. 

December 15, 1866: John Armstrong purchased the plantation at public auction at the Merchants Exhange in New Orleans.  

August 3, 1868: John Armstrong sold an undivided ½ interest to Hubert Bozano, New Orleans businessman and speculator. Bozano held this interest for six years.

March 1, 1873: Hubert Bozano sold an undivided ½ interest on to Hector Humphreys. With the death of John Armstrong in 1875, his share passed to Bozano who sold it to Humphreys, making him the sole owner of Oak Alley. 

March 21, 1882: Hector Humphreys sold Oak Alley to Antoine Sobral. During his twenty three years at the plantation, Sobral created partnerships with Morris Feitel & James Tucker to help with both the physical and financial operations of the plantation. 

February 3, 1905: Antoine Sobral sold to the partnership of Etienne O. Hotard and J. D. Pittman. 

January 20, 1911: Partnership of Etienne Ozeme Hotard &  J.B. Pittman sold Oak Alley to Ephriam Rosenberg for debts. Hotard retained the plantation store for three more years. The operation of the store passed to the hands of his sons.  Rosenberg, who was from New Orleans, purchased the plantation as an investment. Rosenberg remained in New Orleans and leased the lands for rice production. The lessee(s) may have lived in parts of the mansion, but left sometime in 1912.

December 28, 1917: Rosenberg sold Oak Alley to Jefferson Davis Hardin, Jr.  Hardin’s efforts on behalf of the great oaks in the alley, the grounds, development of the working plantation and in restoring the mansion were enormous, but met with misfortune. 

April 19, 1924: Jefferson Davis Hardin, Jr. signed the property over to Whitney Bank.

June 4, 1925:  It is recorded that Alice Teplitz purchased the property, Oak Alley Plantation, from Whitney Bank. 

July 22, 1925: Alice Teplitzs sold  the plantation to Andrew and Josephine Stewart. 

October 3, 1972: Death of Josephine Armstrong Stewart and transfer of the historic site to Oak Alley Foundation.