Venue Status: Open
San Francisco Plantation was built in 1856 by Edmond Bozonier Marmillon. It is the most distinctive and only authentically restored plantation on the River Road. It features five artistically hand painted ceilings, faux marbling, and faux wood graining throughout and antique furniture by master craftsman John Henry Belter.
Although the house, in St. John-the-Baptist Parish, Louisiana, is antebellum in a chronological sense, it is certainly not typical of the period. Its style and coloration are totally distinctive.
The house is so distinctive, in fact, that it inspired novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes to write "Steamboat Gothic", a story about a family she imagined lived there. Viewed from some angles, the house closely resembles the ornate and yet graceful superstructure of a Mississippi riverboat.
There seems to be no link with California; the Marmillions were undoubtedly Louisiana French and their travels would traditionally have taken them to Europe, on the Grand Tour, rather than westward.
The most important period in the history of the mansion was the time of prosperity in the late Eighteen Fifties, when the intricate decorating and remodeling were undertaken. Little was done after that, until the Bougère period. The Bougères, who had a larger family, added two bedrooms on the first floor and removed some of the large doors in the main entrance. The stairways were partitioned and gas lights were installed. Some redecorating was done.