A Gift to transcend the ages...
History and People
In 1834, this land and many others were ceded from the Chickasaw Indians. After purchasing the land in 1836, Ebenezer Davis constructed the stately Davis House in 1851 of clay bricks fired on the property. The home was raided repeatedly during the Civil War and ultimately burned. Margaret Finley Shackleford and her husband John Shackleford restored the home to its former grandeur in the 1960's.
The beautifully restored Davis House is a major feature of the Center and adds tremendous value to Strawberry Plains with its cultural and historic ambience. Used as a backdrop for Audubon’s true mission of environmental awareness, the Davis House adds an element of history to the overall programming at the Center. The Davis House is a major draw when it comes to Center visitation, with over 1100 people visiting the home for the annual pilgrimage weekend. The importance of this historical asset cannot be understated. Currently furnished in period antiques, the Davis House is an accurate replica of its former style. The sunroom and den are recent additions to the home and serve as a bird observation room and library. The sunroom overlooks the Center’s main Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden and already has the distinction of being the most sought out place to sit and observe wildlife. The house draws in history tourists who then become well acquainted with its beautiful native plant landscaping and Butterfly/Hummingbird gardens.
Hubert H. McAlexander's book, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center: Four Generations of a Mississippi Landscape, is the multi-generational history of the land that became one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the United States. With a large cast of characters from many generations, this book richly delineates life on a tract of land in north Mississippi. It tells a fascinating story involving famous historical figures like Hernando de Soto and William Tecumseh Sherman, but concentrates on those who owned and worked this land and their changing fortunes. Through their individual stories, the author conveys the larger sweep of history in the South and tells an uplifting saga of stewards of the land, conservators whose vision led to the creation of a lasting legacy for people and wildlife. This book can be purchased through Strawberry Plains Audubon Center.
Today, we honor the legacy of Margaret and Ruth through education, community outreach, and by sustaining and promoting healthy ecosystems for all living things.
You may visit Strawberry Plains Audubon Center and tour the Davis House with a guide. Learn about this rise and fall of this traditional plantation and how it was reborn as a sanctuary for both wildlife and people.