Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mobile Historic Tour of Homes - Oakleigh

Oakleigh is one of Mobile's most historic houses. It was built in 1833 and became a museum in 1955.

The house was built by James Roper. He borrowed $20,000 from the government to buy the property, build the house, purchase slaves and farm equipment. He was a cotton farmer, and also owned a brick company.

I have always been interested in the history of these old  homes, especially the history with the Civil War. Most plantations have a link to the Civil War. During the war so many plantations, homes and buildings were burned down. If they were saved, there was a reason. Example, Sturdivant Hall in Selma, Alabama was not burned because the Union didn't want to risk burning down the neighbor's plantation. That neighbor happened to be MarthaTodd, half sister to Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln's wife).

In 1851 Alfred Irwin purchased Oakleigh. During the Civil War his wife protected the home by hanging a Union Jack over the front rail of the balcony to proclaim their property a neutral territory. Both of her sons were currently fighting for the Confederacy in the war.

I'm not sure how these bricks got into this tree....but I thought it was pretty neat. I have heard of that during various wars throughout history, people would encase their valuables in bricks. Somehow, this tree engulfed these bricks and now bees have made it their home.

When you enter the home, all the furnishings and draperies are very ornate. Mr. Roper did a lot of entertaining at this home.

Above the piano is a painting of Madame Octavia Walton Le Vert. She was a well known socialite of the day who had traveled to Europe numerous times. During her travels in Europe she was presented to the Pope, to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and to Napoleon and Eugenie. Four out of six homes on this tour had paintings of Madame Le Vert featured. It was the "in" thing to have a painting of her.

In Europe during this time period, it was very trendy to have your hands or arms cast in marble. Of course Madame Le Vert's mother had to have her childs arm cast in marble as well. The marble cast of her arm is owned by one of the persons on the tour of homes. Unfortunately his home was not one that could be photographed.

The piano was hand made by a craftsman in Mobile.

The keys are made of oyster shells from Mobile Bay. How cool  is that!!!!

Here is our Oakleigh Belle tour guide showing us the gasolier.

Another painting of Madame Le Vert

Here is where it gets interesting....

This was the master bedroom. Notice the round shadow box hanging above the headboard.

After the Civil War, soldiers returned home, scarred and broken. They participated in an activity called "hair therapy". Women of the time would save the hair from their brushes and put it in jars just for this purpose. The soldiers would take the hair and make jewelry and various other pieces from the hair.

This is a broach made from hair by a confederate soldier. The detail on this blew my mind. It is kind of gross and weird, but at the same time LOOK at the detail! Insane!!!! I don't think that would be considered therapy...that it way to tedious for me. 

Back to the shadow box over the bed...

It contains an WREATH made entirely of human hair. I couldn't get a good shot of it because the bed was at an angle and I was pretty sure my Oakleigh Belle didn't want me sitting on the bed to get a photo.

These dolls were used to sell children's and women's clothes. The salesmen would bring them around in trunks with clothes and accessories. When the clothes were no longer being carried, some lucky child would get the trunk, clothes and doll.

China setting in the dining room

I loved the dining room furniture. It is similar to the piece I just bought.
I will show it off to ya'll when I get in my  house.

There were several cases full of Mardi Gras memorabilia.

Hope ya'll enjoyed your tour of Oakleigh.

Tomorrow I will share my favorite home with ya'll!!! You don't want to miss it....trust me!!!!

See ya'll  later

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mobile Historic Homes Tour - Rutherford House

For YEARS I have wanted to go on the Mobile Historic Homes Tour, and have never been able to go. I FINALLY made it this year, and I can promise you I will never miss another one. Mobile is rich in history, and I was amazed at some of the stories these houses hold.

The houses on this tour are not what you envision when you think "old" Mobile. Most people think plantations, with big porches, but these houses are far from that.

Italianate style was the most popular architectural style from 1840 until after the Civil War. Queen Anne and High Victorian style came soon after and replaced the Italianate design. You see this style of home throughout the older cities such as Mobile, Charleston and Savannah. The Italianate villa had flexible floor plans with easy access to the outdoors. Mansions were square with deep eaves and ornate iron work.

Out in front of the home you will see two Azalea Trail Maids along with an Oakleigh Belle greeting visitors

The homes had several tour guides placed throughout. They would tell you about the house and answers any questions you may have. We were told that this was the first official neighborhood in Mobile. Many of these homeowners had summer homes in Springhill. Springhill is an area of Mobile, and is located about 10 minutes from this neighborhood. They would close up their residences during the summer and relocate to their summer homes, due to the heat. That is just crazy to me that you have a summer home 10 minutes away, and it is bigger than your full time house. I can imagine that in a horse drawn carriage, dirt roads and summer heat made that 10 minutes seem like 10 hours. 

You can tell alot about people by their homes. Especially during this period. The family that lived here was very wealthy. According to the brochure he owned a dock on Mobile's water front and had extensive interest in banking and insurance. Thus the reason he could afford all of that plaster moulding.

The ornate plaster mouldings, arches, corbels and medallions were amazing. 

We were told that a local law firm had leased/purchased the space and would be renovating it. I am glad to see that. I hate to see these old homes and buildings be demolished or just fall in. This one needs a good bit of work. Like gardens and marriages, old houses require a lot of upkeep and work. Some people don't want to fool with all that maintenance, and the houses may sit there for years vacant. Sooner or later, someone will come along that wants to take the time and effort and restore it to its former self.

The cantilevered stairway was stunning. I have always loved them. I saw some amazing cantilevered stairways in England that serviced 5 or more floors. 

This arched opening serves as a partition to separate the foyer and stairwell. The plaster corbel is beautiful. I bet all that is a pain to dust though!

Gasoliers are used throughout the home. Gasoliers are gas chandeliers that used Argand gas, and were first used in 1849. Mobile was actually the third  city in the United States to get gas. Some ceilings medallions would have hidden ventilation grilles underneath. The gasoliers had a tool that would turn the keys in the underside of the lamp to release the gas, and a lighter near the tool to light the flame. If you look at the arms of the gasolier, below the globe you will see the key. When electricity was introduced, most gasoliers were electrified.

Ornate plaster moulding found in the double parlors on the first floor.

There were 3 main rooms on the first floor. They would have all been used for entertaining. The public spaces would have been the most ornate showcasing the large plaster mouldings, ceiling medallions, carved marble fireplaces, and tall base boards. One thing I learned while studying all those manors, estates, and palaces in England...the bigger the crown and the taller the moulding the wealthier they are.  

All of the fireplaces would have been hand carved and shipped in from Italy, and the dog grate would have been cast iron.

This room was probably used as a gathering space for the gentleman. It features a less ornate fireplace and simplified crown moulding.

The ceiling medallion is also smaller in diameter than the other two found in the double parlors

This is where the upstairs floor level meets up to the second floor crown moulding.

The upstairs room are a lot more basic than the others...but they are still beautiful

I know at some point the home had been used as an office. Not sure how long ago...I'm guessing the late 70's by the style of files and desks that were stored in one of the rooms...and not to mention that light fixture!!!

The keyholes on the main doorways are covered by brass swags...

they covered the holes so nosey people couldn't peep through to the other side

I hope ya'll enjoyed your first tour. I can't wait to show you the rest! There were 2 homes that were private residences, so I wasn't able to take pics in them. That sucked too because, one of them was out of this world!!!!!

See ya'll tomorrow

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inquiring Minds

Well...inquiring minds want to know where I've been. Well I've been pretty busy since my last post! I've been turkey hunting and killed a few turkeys, I have been working on 2 different houses, and went on a historic homes tour. I took plenty of pictures though, don't worry. So check back on Wednesday when I start my post on the historic homes.

I have been getting some very entertaining comments lately. Sad. People don't realize how sad and pathetic they are by doing things like that. I am extremely flattered that they are that interested in my life, but seems like life would be better if they stopped worrying about what I am doing, and focus on their own life.

 If you think I care for one minute what you think, or what you say, you are sadly mistaken.  It would probably be alot better on you to worry about yourself instead of everyone else. I am sorry to break it to you, but you can no longer hide behind the shroud of "anonymous". I have changed my settings. You will have to get Google account or email me...either way I am sure you will still hide behind another false name. But if that makes you feel better....then by all means....please keep it up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crenshaw Daylily Farm

LET THE SUN SHINE!!!! I am so happy to see some sun rays outside! It has been so ugly, foggy, gloomy, dreary, cold, damp and BLAH here for the past week. Today it is GORGEOUS outside. I really want to be outside gettin' some sun on these white legs....but that will have to wait *sigh*.

Friday I had a fun day with the Dirt Queen (aka my mom ) and the Hydrangea Queen. We ventured across the bay (aka the county next ours) to Crenshaw Daylily Farm. I have heard of this place for a while,  but I had not been. The first weekend of every month they have a yardsale in their barn. People come in and sale whatever they want. Of course they sale daylilies too.....oh and horses!!!!

The daylilies aren't blooming yet. I will have to go back when they are in bloom.

Ya'll can see it was an ugly, blah day!

This barn had a lot of stuff in it. Some stuff I liked, some not so much.

There were several chandeliers and pendant lights for sale

sewing machine

odds and ends

a snazzy metal sunflower!

this stove that I would loooove to have

except it was sold. Not sure what I would do with it, but I like it ;-)

any idea what this next picture is?????

a TELEVISION!!!! Apparently one of the first ones made! It was pretty cool looking. I like that snazzy gold banding around it.

these little knobs were cute

shame on me for what I am about to say -

I have lived in Alabama my whole life and I knew we had a few covered bridges.....but not enough to write a whole book on. I should have bought this book. It had stories, drawings, photographs, etc. Very cool. Next time I go back I think I will have to buy this.

After we left the barn, we went over to the owners house to see her gardens and horses

I am a sucker for an OLD live oak...and she had a nice one in her front yard.

a few white camellias for ya'll. Some of them had a drop of red on them.

and one more shot of that tree :-)

See ya'll later

Please sign my guest book :)




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