Alpine (plantation)

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Alpine
Alpine Plantation 01.jpg
Main house at Alpine Plantation in 1937
Location Alpine, Alabama
Coordinates 33°21′04″N 86°14′14″W / 33.35113°N 86.23722°W / 33.35113; -86.23722Coordinates: 33°21′04″N 86°14′14″W / 33.35113°N 86.23722°W / 33.35113; -86.23722
Built 1858
Architectural style(s) Greek Revival
Governing body Private
Alpine (plantation) is located in Alabama
Alpine (plantation)
Location of Alpine in Alabama

Alpine is a historic plantation and plantation house in Alpine, Alabama, United States.[1] Completed in 1858, the two-story Greek Revival-style house was built for Nathaniel Welch by a master builder, Almarion Devalco Bell. The wood-frame house has several unusual features that make it one of the more architecturally interesting antebellum houses in the state. These features include the foundation materials, interior floor-plan, and the window fenestration.[2]

History[edit]

Nathaniel Welch was born in Madison County, Virginia on November 24, 1814, the son of the Reverend Oliver Welch, a Baptist minister. Oliver Welch was a founder of the Alpine Baptist Church. He built the simple two-story hewn-log house at his homestead nearby, known as Kingston, upon his arrival from Virginia in 1832.[3] The Welch family was intermarried with the Reynolds family, of the now-destroyed Mount Ida nearby.[4]

Nathaniel Welch married Mary Jane Wilson on January 7, 1840. Nathaniel Welch died on November 4, 1883, followed by Mary Jane on January 16, 1902.[5] Over time, a town grew up around the plantation when a railroad came through. Initially known as Welchs Depot, it eventually came to be known as Alpine, in honor of the plantation.[6] The plantation remained in the Welch family until 1970.[7]

Architecture[edit]

Approached via a 14 mi (0.4 km) long avenue of mature oak trees, the house sits upon the crest of a hillock. Conceived from the beginning as a Greek Revival-style house, the two-story structure is fronted by a monumental Doric tetrastyle portico, supporting a pediment over the central bay of the 60-foot (18 m) wide three-bay front facade. The portico shelters the main front entrance in addition to a second story balcony with an intricate cast iron balustrade and matching upper doorway. The relatively simple 6-over-6 lite front windows, in addition to the doors on the first and second levels, are all flanked by sidelights, creating an unusual three-part window arrangement.[7]

Two other unusual features for an early house in Alabama are the maximum 4-foot (1.2 m) tall cut stone foundations and a brick-lined dining room measuring 20 by 40 feet (6.1 m × 12.2 m) on the basement level. It was designed as a refuge from the state's hot and humid summer weather. Interior stone stairs rise from the cellar room to the ground floor. The rear left side of the house has a one-story attached ell wing, originally used as a domestic wing.[2][7] When the house was inventoried by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1937, the grounds contained a detached wood-frame kitchen building, with a build-date contemporaneous with that of the main house, a smokehouse, and a storehouse.[8] The storehouse was demolished in 1970 and the timber reused to build a modern carport.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Gamble (September 2, 2008). "Plantation Architecture in Alabama". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Hammond, Ralph (1951). Ante-bellum Mansions of Alabama. New York: Architectural Book Publishers. pp. 344–345. ISBN 0-517-02075-0. 
  3. ^ "Guide to the Welch Family Paers, RG 87". Various authors. Auburn University Special Collections and Archives. 1832–1958. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ Owen, Thomas McAdory; Marie Bankhead Owen (1987). History of Alabama and dictionary of Alabama biography, Volume 4. University, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 1429–1430. ISBN 0-8173-0148-8. 
  5. ^ "Wilson Cemetery". Find A Grave. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Alpine, Talladega County, Alabama
  7. ^ a b c d Gamble, Robert (1987). The Alabama Catalog: A Guide to the Early Architecture of the State. University, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 79–80. ISBN 0-8173-0148-8. 
  8. ^ "Alpine, County Road 46, Alpine, Talladega, AL". Historic American Buildings Survey. Library of Congress. Retrieved July 6, 2011.