Oaklawn Manor Circa 1837   
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The Founding Years
Le Grande Tour
History of Franklin
Visitor Information


The Preservation

In 1963, Tom and Lucie sold Oaklawn to George B. Thomson, a young man form Crowley, Louisiana and a graduate of Duke University.

Gorge and his wife, Mary Beth, had been searching for just the right antebellum plantation to call home. They had spent years collecting a variety of pieces from other estates ion hopes of a special place that could benefit from their efforts. Also, as their three young boys grew older, George and Mary Beth needed more room for the youngsters to play.

That home was Oaklawn, and George and Mary Beth, together with interior designer Ernest Nereaux of New Iberia, set about refurbishing the manor. hey combined the beauty of Oaklawn's past and the luxuries of present day.

First, they completely rewired the house and installed air conditioning which would help reserve the antiques in the home from Louisiana's intense heat and humidity.  To brighten the home's appearance, they painted the exterior - a daunting, yet rewarding, task that required 500 gallons of white paint.  In addition, the Thomsons redecorated and insulated the newly dressed rooms with draperies lined with heavy cloth to keep out the hot summer sun.  Lastly, they added the beautiful old furnishings that they had collected over the years.

The result was a stunning facelift on a plantation worthy of great appreciation and admiration, as evidenced by its renewed popularity with all those who visited the historic home.

For the Thomson children Oaklawn was an ideal childhood home, where they could roam the great hallways and play on the grounds that stretched for acre upon acre.  The children took special pleasure in camping out on weekends and playing with the many animals inhabiting the home and land.  Craig, Stephen and George, Jr., often invited friends to spend time with them at the manor, and the senior Thomsons gladly indulged their children's desire to play host to the neighboring children.

The Thomsons proudly opened their home to the public, as the owners before them had done, and closed it only one day each year, on Christmas Day.

All was not easy for the new owners and their Oaklawn, however.  Just one year after the Thomsons move in, hurricane Hilda truck hard, costing the lives of 44 cedars along the property's Cedar Walk.  The Thomson family sought refuge in the manor, propping furniture against the large wooden doors to prevent the storm from blowing through the structure.  As the family waited out the storm, they could hear the chimneys crumbling from the onslaught of the torrential hurricane winds and rain.  The Thomsons emerged unscathed, but their lovely home once again needed repairs.  The following year, hurricane Betsy caused additional damage, although no major losses resulted.

Despite the rough beginning, the Thomsons soon enjoyed their life at Oaklawn Manor.  Once of Mrs. Thomson's fondest memories is the filming of two Hollywood movies on the plantation.  Paul Newman, the star of the second movie, The Drowning Pool, proved to be a delightful guest at the manor, gracing Mrs. Thomson with gifts of crates of avocados ad limes flown in from California especially for her.

The Thomsons were privileged to host other famous people during their time at Oaklawn Manor.  Former Governor John McKeithen visited the Thomsons several times at Oaklawn with Lieutenant Governor "Taddy" Aycock, a Franklin native.

In 1978, George and Mary Beth Thomson sold Oaklawn to a group of Arkansas investors and moved into the town of Franklin, where they currently reside.

Later, the investor group made many changes to the estate, including dividing 40 acres of Oaklawn land and developing a subdivision of large homes along the property line.  Oaklawn was bough and sold again, until she was back on the market as a result of financial problems

The Renaissance
The Preservation
A Thriving Manor

What's New! 

Oaklawn Manor is looking festive for the Christmas season. Everything is decorated beautifully. Come visit us and see how nice it looks.

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