Statement of Significance (as of designation - November 7, 1973):
Begun in 1842 and modified in stages over eighteen years (1843-1861), Gaineswood is one of America's most unusual neoclassical Greek Revival-style mansions. Amateur architect and cotton planter Nathan Bryan Whitfield refined his mansion with the help of skilled African-American craftsmen as the stylistic preference in America shifted from Greek Revival to Italianate. Gaineswood's sprawling, asymmetrical floor plan and lavish decorative detail brilliantly reflect that shift. The drawing room (ballroom) is highlighted by vis-à-vis mirrors, fluted Corinthian columns and pilasters, and a coffered ceiling with decoative Italianate plasterwork. The parlor and dining room have domed ceilings with windows added in 1860 to illuminate the home. Gaineswood is one of the few Greek Revivial homes that has Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns.