The elegance of Southern entertaining at its finest awaits you at the Wynn House.
By Kristen Brown Photos by R. Caligaris
Since 1839, The Wynn House has enriched the lives of many in the Columbus area. It has served as a family home, center of community fellowship and a venue for momentous occasions. Built by Colonel William Wynn and originally called Oakview, the home is a Greek Revival style, a style popular in the south. The high ceilings and center hall improved the ventilation and helped homes stay cooler during the heat of the summer months. It is surrounded by Doric Columns on three sides and topped by a cupola and a widow’s walk.
Oakview originally stood on 10th street in the Overlook section and was one of the finest homes in the Wynnton area, which made it a popular gathering place for prominent Columbus citizens and the site for many community celebrations such as Fourth of July.
The celebrations continue as more than 20 civic and nonprofit organizations meet monthly and absorb the grandeur of this historic home. Brides select the venue for wedding events and the community still enjoys the Annual Holiday Greenery Market and Easter Egg Hunt. Throughout the years, many families called the Wynn House home. After Col. Wynn’s departure in 1849, Henry Hurt bought the home in 1852.
From there Colonel Hines Holt bought the home in 1855, J.T. Cooper purchased it in 1905 and moved the house forward and nearer to Wynnton Road, Mr. and Mrs. S.C. Butler bought the home in 1932 and began renovations to the home while maintaining the historical integrity and character. Most of the renovations that took place were toward comfort and livability.
The Butler’s added bathrooms, closets and enclosed the back porch that was then separated from the kitchen and the rest of the home to create a family room. In 1958, Mr. Jim Woodruff purchased the home and gave it to the Christian Fellowship Association (CFA) to house their offices and the various programs they offered to the community.
The CFA later became the Wynn House Inc. and today the Wynn House is a nonprofit organization and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Wynn House has been maintained throughout the years and survived two fires that threatened to destroy the home. In 1969, a fire did extensive damage to the front of the house and major restoration was required.
In the incident, the crystal chandeliers were destroyed and J&L Lobmeyer of Vienna, Austria was commissioned to fabricate the crystal and gilt chandeliers that now hang in the front parlors as a gift from Mrs. Brownie Buck Elliott and Mrs. Mildred McCreery Flowers.
The furniture is a mix of Empire, Victorian and 19th century pieces that were mostly given to the house as gifts, including the gilded mirror in the music room that was left as a gift from Mrs. Butler.
The wallpaper in the dining room was hung by Mrs. Butler when she restored the house. It is a Zuber wallpaper known as “El Dorado” and the namesake for the room. Zuber & Co. from Rixheim, France has been in the business of creating beautiful, wood block papers since 1797. The company has passed the process of making paper down from generations and it is still hand printed today using the original wood blocks from 200 years ago.
Jackie Kennedy hung Zuber paper in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House that was an antique copy of the panoramic wallpaper titled “View of North America,” further increasing its popularity in the design world. The “El Dorado” design that hangs in the Wynn House is a series that represents the Spanish legend of a city in which everything is made of gold. The Zuber wallpaper holds significant historical and cultural value. The wood blocks were granted the “National Valuable Historical Monuments” status by the French Government in 1955. The Wynn House takes great pride in preserving this piece of history.
The Wynn House is sustained by individual, family, and corporate memberships along with support from local donors and contributions through the Community Foundation. Members are granted special rental privileges along with priority invitation to numerous fundraising events such as Valentine’s, Italian, and Candlelight dinners, teas and fashion shows. Also, revenue generated from venue rentals and onsite catering for weddings, anniversaries, rehearsal dinners and other special events helps to preserve the historic structure.
In addition, The Wynn House offers a fully stocked freezer of casseroles and desserts made using some of the most cherished recipes of Columbus. Around every corner awaits the warmth of southern hospitality at the Wynn House as its staff caters to the desires of your palette with delicious dishes and hors d’oeuvres for every occasion. Guests also admire the craftsmanship and sheer volume of work that went into building the structure.
Often they select a favorite room for an event such as the Eldorado Room, Piano Room, or Gold Room and the Gloria Cummings Memorial Garden is a favorite of all. Celebrate old world charm and modern day romance in the heart of Midtown Columbus for your next special event at the historic Wynn House. For more information on the Wynn House contact Darlene Hughes at 706.323.1895 or visit thewynnhouse.com. svm