Spring Villa in 2010
|Nearest city||Opelika, Alabama|
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|NRHP Reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||January 3, 1978|
Spring Villa is a historic Carpenter Gothic plantation house on the outskirts of Opelika, Alabama. Inspired by designs published by Andrew Jackson Downing, the house is one of only about twenty remaining residential examples of Gothic Revival architecture remaining in the state. It was built by William Penn Yonge in 1850 next to a 30-acre (12 ha) spring-fed lake, from which it takes its name.
The house was acquired by the city of Opelika in 1927 and now forms the nucleus of its 325-acre (132 ha) Spring Villa Park. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 3, 1978, due to its architectural significance.
The 1 1⁄2-story wood-frame building has a front elevation with three bays. The ridge-line of the roof is parallel to the front facade. Each side of the main structure is gabled and flanked by stuccoed chimneys. The upper story makes extensive use of steeply pitched cross-gables. Each window on the upper floor is fronted by an individual sawnwork balcony. These originally incorporated latticework rather than the current simple balusters. Each gable is trimmed with bargeboards and crowned with a diamond-shaped pinnacle.
The semi-detached, centrally placed rear ell, also one-and-a-half stories, has a four-bay facade on each long side and replicates features seen on the main facade. It was added to the building in 1934 by the Civil Works Administration, during conversion of the house into a clubhouse for the city.
Adding to the charm of the plantation is the legend claiming that the mid-19th century house is now haunted by the ghost of its builder, William Penn Yonge, a harsh master said to have angered his many slaves. The legend tells of the one slave who, seeking revenge for some undeserved punishment, hid one night in the niche located above the 13th step of the home's spiral staircase. It is said that the angry slave stabbed Yonge to death as he reached the 13th step, where a dark red stain believed to be the master's blood remained until its rotted wood was repaired many years later. Visitors touring the homestead are still warned to avoid stepping on this haunted spot.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Gamble, Robert (1990). Historic architecture in Alabama: a guide to styles and types, 1810–1930. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press. pp. 89–90. ISBN 0-8173-1134-3.
- "Spring Villa". City of Opelika. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- Gamble, Robert (1987). The Alabama Catalog: A guide to the early architecture of the state. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-8173-0148-4.
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. AL-508, "Spring Villa, Spring Villa Road, Opelika, Lee County, AL", 4 photos, 4 measured drawings, 4 data pages