The Southdown Plantation House & Terrebonne Museum in Houma, Louisiana, was originally built in 1859 as a one-story house in the style of Greek revival architecture. Constructed by the Minor family, who operated the plantation as a sugar mill, the house was built of bricks that were hand-fired on the property. In 1893 Henry Minor, son of the original owner and builder, added the second story and Victorian architectural features that make the plantation house so delightful and recognizable today. Named for a breed of sheep that the Minor family raised on the premises, the Southdown Plantation House was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1974, due to its influence on the sugar industry and the cultural development of Terrebonne Parish.
As part of ongoing renovations to the property, North Country Slate was selected to provide 82 squares (8,200 square feet) of our Semi-Weathering Gray slate shingles to contribute to the refurbishment of the house’s roof. At 18” x 12” x ¼-3/8”, 160 shingles are required to cover 100 square feet, so an astonishing 13,120 slate shingles were provided to refurbish the Southdown Plantation House’s roof.
Produced in Vermont, North Country’s Semi-Weathering Gray slate is a rich battleship gray color that deepens over time with exposure to the elements. Approximately 10-20% of the slate shingles will weather over time to tones of brown and buff. This color is a popular slate in Louisiana, both on its own as well as in combination with other colors to produce a multi-colored statement roof.
Two of the more elegant features of the Southdown Plantation house roof are its dual slate turrets and its copper eyebrow dormers. While installing slate on a roof turret is a time-consuming process, with the slate shingles trimmed manually on site so that the wider sizes meet the eaves and narrow progressively towards the peak, the effect of a slate roof turret can make a house feel like a castle. Eyebrow dormers have the effect of adding a charming appeal to houses, breaking up long rooflines and creating additional useable attic space. These dormers are handcrafted, and a well-made dormer will last in excess of 75 years
The construction of this roof was conducted by Precision Construction and Roofing, one of the most well-recommended slate roof installers we work with, and regular recipients of many roofing accolades.
We at North Country Slate pride ourselves on supplying only the best North American produced roofing slate shingles. All of the slate provided for the Southdown Plantation House & Museum met ASTM-S1 testing requirements, guaranteeing a service life of at least 75 years. The slates for the Southdown Plantation House were installed using Copper Ring Shank Roofing Nails, which are preferable to Smooth Shank Nails in areas that experience high wind events such as hurricanes. We have a helpful chart for determining the length and quantity of nails required for any given project available here.
Thanks to the good work of the Terrebonne Historical & Cultural Society and the high quality slate shingles adorning the mansion’s roof, the Southdown Plantation House and Museum will ensure future generations have the opportunity to learn about the history of Terrebonne Parish, as well as the lives of the families, workers, and enslaved people that operated the sugar mills.
For more information on this and other projects we have contributed to in Louisiana, please visit our “Projects in Your Area” page, or feel free to contact us for a detailed list of project references.