The old Isom Place (circa 1835) is one of Oxford’s oldest and most historic houses. Built by Dr. Thomas Isom, it was his home, office, and apothecary. The house was expanded in 1840 and again in 1862; the charter of the University of Mississippi was signed in its dining room, which also served as the University’s first board room. The local legend that Isom Place provided the setting for William Faulkner’s famous short story, “A Rose for Emily,” is discounted by most scholars.
In 1995, Susan Barksdale bought the house and renovated it as a luxurious bed-and-breakfast. The house and its back yard were available for weddings and other private parties. To accommodate this program, Howorth & Associates Architects opened the public rooms for larger gatherings; organized the former apartments into coherent bedroom suites with private baths; enlarged and redesigned the kitchen to meet its increased demands; renovated the exterior of the building; and redesigned the landscape, especially of the rear yard, to accommodate large public functions.
The entire project—design and construction—was completed on a fast track schedule in 7½ months.
Since 2000, the building has housed the Barksdale Reading Institute.Barksdale-Isom House Website