September 17, 2021

Alexandra Beer House

The Real Estate Experts

Alabama’s only historic octagon house was location for secret tale

A person of Alabama’s most abnormal properties has been preserved in downtown Clayton. The Petty-Roberts-Beatty Household is acknowledged for its unique architecture, its creating elements and its inhabitants. In point, one resident, the author Claudia Waddell Roberts, established a single of her short stories in the home’s basement.

Nowadays, the home is listed on the National Sign-up of Historic Destinations and can be toured by appointment by contacting Jolene Gothard at 334-775-8604 and 334-750-2511. The quantities are also mentioned on the door.

8 sides and concrete partitions

The property at 103 N. Halfway was constructed in 1861 by area businessman Benjamin Franklin Petty. At the time it was designed, octagonal households – properties with 8 sides – had turn out to be a craze.

The national development began in 1848 when architect Orson Fowler was attempting to appear up with a a lot more effective property design and style. Octagon properties had been typically two stories and featured a veranda that ran about the house, a flat roof and cupola. The home in Clayton has 3 tales.

Fowler posted his suggestions in his e-book, “A House for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Manner of Setting up,” according to an article by American Heritage.

“An 8-sided residence would be cheaper to make, considering the fact that its exterior walls would enclose a lot more space than a rectangle,” the report mentioned. “It would be less complicated to warmth in the winter season and (with a cupola on best) much easier to vent in the summer months. And the interiors of octagonal houses have been brighter, as the sunlight streamed by home windows on eight sides rather of only four.”

The octagonal property trend peaked in the 1860s, then began to die out. A selection of the octagon households have been preserved throughout the region. The Petty-Roberts-Beatty Household is the only one particular to survive in Alabama a single that was designed in Athens, Ala., was torn down in the 1950s.

The Clayton dwelling is considered to be the only surviving antebellum octagonal home “in the southeastern United States that made use of the ‘gravel wall’ building method,” in accordance to an write-up by the Encyclopedia of Alabama. This structure was regarded as a “concrete house.”

The concrete wall design and style that Petty’s builders applied was Fowler’s invention.

Encyclopedia of Alabama explained the approach, “The Clayton Octagon Property has huge, 17-inch-thick partitions, with each individual ‘face’ of the octagon becoming 18 toes extended. To create such strong walls, builders manufactured a picket body manufactured of horizontal boards and loaded it with a grout combination produced of sand, gravel, and water that hardened like cement.”

The inhabitants

The property has been dwelling to many essential people, including a judge, an writer and even Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin H. Grierson, who used it as headquarters for Union Cavalry in April, 1865.

Petty’s daughter and son-in-legislation inherited the dwelling in 1899 and offered it to a neighbor, Choose Bob T. Roberts in 1901.

Bob’s spouse, Claudia Roberts, was an writer, writing typically quick tales showcasing mysteries. 1 of her most nicely-known stories, “The Rusty Crucial,” was released in a booklet in 1938, together with 3 other stories.

The booklet, called “The Rusty Crucial: Prize Tales of the Deep South,” took its title for the main tale, which received initially prize in the May perhaps Harris small story contest and was bought to Secret Journal, according to Amazon. The other stories in the booklet had been, “A Honest Trade, “The Man with a Previous,” and “In the Bridal Chamber,” all of which ended up prize-winning stories.

Apparently, the placing for “The Rusty Key” was the basement of the octagon house, in accordance to regional historian Jolene Gothard.

According to an online heritage of Barbour County, Roberts also wrote for “Film Enjoyable,” “Young’s Journal,” “Lippincotts’ Journal,” “Southern Miscellany Magazine,” “Chicago Record-Herald,” “Philadelphia General public Ledger,” the “New Orleans Periods-Democrat and Picayune,” “Progressive Farmer,” “Birmingham News-Age Herald,” “Montgomery Advertiser,” the “Commercial Enchantment,” and several other publications.

In the mid-1920s, the Roberts’ daughter, Mary, and her partner, William C. Beatty, inherited the house and produced intensive modifications.

In 1981, the town of Clayton purchased the dwelling from the daughter’s estate. The Clayton Historic Preservation Authority was recognized to investigation the authentic style of the residence.

The Encyclopedia of Alabama write-up reported, “The commission oversaw attempts to restore, repaint, and furnish the residence to its initial visual appeal, with gray walls and forest eco-friendly trim. The construction was restored to its pre-1920s overall look and currently has 12 big rooms, 10 small rooms, 10 closets, 37 home windows, four outdoors doorways, and 31 inside doorways.”