House of late philanthropist who surprised Mississippi town by leaving millions (and his home) to charities now on sale

Published 8:41 am Friday, September 20, 2019

The Historic Natchez Foundation is accepting sealed bids for the house of the late Neil Varnell, who bequeathed the property to the foundation in March.

Varnell operated the 1894 Queen Anne Cottage on Clifton Avenue as the Bluff Top Bed and Breakfast for many years before he died. The psychologist left $2 million to 15 local charities and organizations, including the Historic Natchez Foundation.

Foundation Executive Director Carter Burns said HNF would accept sealed bids until the end of October when they will be opened.

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The house includes three bedrooms and 3 and one half bathrooms, Burns said.

Burns said the minimum bid that will be accepted is $450,000. Bids will be accepted for the property “as is.”

A preservation easement will be placed on the property, requiring any changes to the exterior of the house be done in consultation with HNF, Burns said. The easement does not apply to interior changes that do not affect the exterior, Burns said.

“That is not to say that nothing can ever be changed,” Burns said. “If they want to add an addition or make some other change to the exterior, they just need to do that in consultation with us.”

Burns said HNF reserves the right to negotiate with any and all bidders.

For more information about the house or the bidding process, or to arrange an inspection of the property call Burns at 601-442-2500.