Longwood provides visitors with eloquent testimony to the devastating impact of the Civil War on the cotton economy of the American South. The tragic story of the hardships of the family who lived there, "reared in the lap of luxury and reduced to poverty, " has all the tragedy and pathos of Gone With the Wind but with a double reverse twist. First, it is true. Second, the family that lost everything was loyal to the Union. Work on the house, begun in 1860, stopped after the war was declared in 1861. The Northern workmen made their way through the blockade that was put on the South and home to Philadelphia, leaving their tools on the workbench where they now remain.