By Tori Linville


Though there are museums, war monuments and even reenactments, a certain sense of history can only be found in the way people lived during their time periods. Historical homes provide an insight into cultural influences, every day lives and more. If you’re looking for a new way to experience the past, we’ve found some historical homes that are worth a visit.




A.M. Brown House


Constructed for African-American physician Arthur McKimmon Brown in 1906, the A.M. Brown House sits on 4th Terrace North in the Smithfield neighborhood. The Craftsman style cottage was designed by Wallace A. Rayfield and still has the physician’s original furnishings. Owned by the Birmingham Art Club and the A.M. Brown Memorial Community Center, the house is open by appointment. For more information, call 323-3010.


Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens


Built by one of the ten founders of Birmingham, Judge William S. Mudd, the Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens now serves as a historical landmark for people to experience. The house was originally called “The Grove.” It is the only remaining antebellum mansion remaining in Birmingham and was used as a headquarters for Civil War General James Wilson. It was in The Grove that Wilson planned to destroy the Confederacy’s iron furnaces along with the military school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Located on Cotton Avenue, the home is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 780-5656 for more information.


Samuel Ullman-Morris Newfield House


Samuel Ullman was a German immigrant known as a civic leader in early Birmingham. He argued for education rights for women, labor reform and more. Ullman wrote the famous poem “Youth” that has remained popular, especially in Japan. Birmingham and Japanese citizens raised money to restore the home to honor Ullman. The house sits on 15th Avenue and is open by appointment. Call 934-5634 for more.


Visit to find out about other historical homes in the Birmingham area.



Gorgas House


Located in the center of The University of Alabama’s campus, the Gorgas House is still a gathering place centuries after its heyday. First serving as a dining hall for university students in 1828, the house became a home to Josiah Gorgas after the Civil War. Gorgas was the seventh president of the university and was married to Alabama governor John Gayle’s daughter, Amelia. For tours and rental information, call 348-5906.


Murphy-Collins House


Serving now as the home of the Murphy African American Museum on Bryant Drive, the Murphy-Collins House was built by Tuscaloosa’s first licensed black mortician, Will J. Murphy in the early 1920s.  During construction, the house used scraps like window sills from the old state capitol building that burned in 1923, just blocks away. The museum “focuses on the lifestyle of affluent blacks during the early 1900s,” according to the house’s webpage. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. For tours by appointment, call 758-2861.


Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion


Sitting on Greensboro Avenue, the mansion was under construction from 1859 to 1862. It was to serve as a house for Senator Robert Jemison Jr. and was incomplete at the beginning of the Civil War. The home had technological advances such as gas for lighting. It was the first house in Tuscaloosa to have a fully plumbed bathroom.  The mansion was used as the city library for a time and is now owned by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society and the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa. The Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is open for weddings, parties and more. Admission is free to the public. For more information, call 758-2906 or visit


To find out more about Tuscaloosa’s heritage and its historical homes, visit




The Conde-Charlotte Museum House


Built by Johnathan Kirkbride and his wife in 1850, the Conde-Charlotte Museum House is located on Theatre Street. The house features five flags above its door to represent the five powers that controlled Mobile in its past. Period furniture is in the home’s rooms and Fort Conde is right next door. In the house’s backyard garden, remnants from the old city jail can still be seen. The museum house is owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Alabama. It is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


Oakleigh Historic Mansion


Located on Oakleigh Place, Oakleigh Historic Mansion is the official period house of Mobile. It was originally built as a “gentleman’s escape” and features Greek Revival Villa style. The mansion has one of Mobile’s last detached kitchens and servants quarters. The Cook’s House renovations at the back of the mansion’s property were scheduled to be complete as of August 2013.


The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion


The mansion was built for Judge John Bragg in 1855. The Bragg-Mitchell Mansion is just outside of downtown Mobile and features the typical Greek Revival architecture that came with antebellum homes.  The home was vacant for 15 years before becoming a museum and still holds furniture pieces that are original to the home. It is the only historical home in Mobile equipped with an elevator. The mansion is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.


To find out more information on Mobile historical homes, visit


Article sponsored by Morning Pointe.

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