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“Endangered Property Needs Help” The Jemison-Turner House BRITTAN Y AU STIN HIST 634 NOVEM BER 13, 2011


Jemison-Turner House


Jemison-Turner House

East and South Elevations, Camera Facing Northwest Note the “split level� rear T wing at left.


Jemison-Turner House


Jemison-Turner House

North Side Note the paired entrance


Jemison-Turner House

Foundation Note fine cut sandstone base.


Jemison-Turner House


Jemison-Turner House

East Parlor House retains elaborate trim and mantelpieces.


Floor Plan


Background Information Robert Jemison, originally of Lincoln County, Georgia, brought his family and slaves to Talladega County, Alabama, in 1837. He began buying property in the rich cotton growing lands near the Chocolocco and Cheaha creeks. Jemison was later joined by six of siblings, and the family became quite economically and politically prominent in the area. Turner’s Mill, a gristmill, was owned and operated by Robert Jemison, and provided a source of revenue for the family that was not cotton related. Robert Jemison, Jr., a relative, was a prominent figure during the Civil War, and served on the Confederate Congress, though he was against succession from the Union.


Background Information The split-level design of this plantation house is rather significant, as it is one of two remaining in the state of Alabama. The other was also constructed by a Jemison family member. The house boasts a Federal style interior, which is largely intact. The outside and parts of the inside are deteriorating from abandonment and lack of funding to restore it. Restoration would not be an overnight task, as weather and time have taken their toll on the original materials. Another major consideration in restoration is the stability of the house, as it must be relocated. As a part of the National Register, the house merits the effort to preserve the architectural and family story it holds, yet funding is a major issue.


Background Information Original construction was begun by the Jemison family and completed by the Turner family around 1840. It has a Tshaped plan with two elegantly detailed parlors, a dining room, and two floors of bedrooms. It’s rare split-level design is significant for the period. Wealth is evident throughout the home, with its “elegant Adamesque mantels, wainscoting and the channeled window and door trim with bull’s-eye corner blocks …in hues of pale gray.” Truly, this historic home is a significant architectural find and must be preserved. It’s rare design, in combination with the fine craftsmanship of its interiors, establishes it as a work of art in the architectural world. Most of the damage to the interior can be fixed with time, money, and a group of skilled craftsman.


Background Information The Alabama Trust was recently given the house from the Holmes family, and named it an Endangered Property. The ATHP plans to stabilize the house and market it to a third party who will agree to relocate and restore it. Relocation is necessary due to legal issues with the land the house is currently on. They are currently accepting donations for their restoration process, as well as seeking this third party who will take it upon themselves to actual restore it. This project plans to list some steps towards restoration and stabilization, create propaganda not only to illicit donations, but also a buyer/restorer, and to brainstorm fundraiser ideas, all of which are indicative of the types of activities that preservationists do today.


Thoughts About This Project Resources were not easily available in the time frame I have had to work on this project. I know understand how much time is simply spent conducting research for preservation efforts. 2. I truly have enjoyed brainstorming for ways to help this house, though I have found many limitations to what can be done physically, financially, and in a timely manner. 3. It truly saddens me to see this house in such a dismantled state, and hope to have the opportunity to help the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation help save it from utter disrepair. 1.


Thoughts About This Project I see the challenges faced by preservationists who are gifted a property such as this. On the one hand, they would truly love to keep the house and restore it themselves, but on the other, it is not financially an option for them do to so. 5. Attempting to raise money for this cause is challenging, especially in this economic climate. Generating enough interest in a cause such as this is quite challenging as well, considering I only knew about this house because I was specifically looking at preservation work in the state. It is doubtful that the average Alabamaian has the slightest idea that this house is available or its significance to the state. 6. I still have a significant amount of learning to do about preservation, and the processes involved. 4.


Steps Towards Restoration  Repair foundation using sandstone and brick to 

  

retain authenticity. Stabilize for relocation. Repair or replace mortar as close to color, consistency, and elevation of original building. Replace damaged wood elements using hand carved and cut methods, including historically accurate joinery, not traditional methods. This includes, but is not limited to walls, shutters, roof and doors. Clean carefully and completely. Replace damaged flooring. Repaint interiors and replace any damaged moldings.


Own a Piece of History!

Available for Purchase: Jemison-Turner House The Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation is currently seeking a third-party to purchase this historic Federal style plantation home. Built in 1836, this home boasts a unique T-shaped split-level floor plan, elegant interiors, and an interesting historical story to be retold for generations. Its split-level plan is unique and only evident in one other home in Alabama. Located in Talladega County, Alabama, the house must be relocated and new owner must agree to terms of restoration. Restored, this home would make a living space, offices, bed and breakfast, museum, small library, or other purpose! This architectural wonder deserves to be saved! For a private tour, please contact the ATHP.

Station 45• Livingston, AL 35470 • Phone: (205) 652-3497• www.alabamatrust.info


Ideas for Use After Restoration  19th Century Museum

 Bed and Breakfast  Art studio  Small Business Offices  Hair Salon  Photography Studio


Fundraiser Ideas  SAVE OUR HISTORY dinner fundraiser: Patrons of history,

now is the time to join us in saving a piece of Alabama history. Join us for a night of great food, dancing, and charity. $500$1000 a plate, depending on seating preference. Guest of honor:  Silent auction-businesses donate goods to auction off. All proceeds benefit the Jemison-Turner house restoration project.  Benefit concert on the grounds of the home. Offer tours inside-guide must be well-versed in history and an imaginative salesperson as well!  Pitch to a university to use as a museum on their campus, or for a history department to use as a project for their students.


Ideas for Budget Savers ď‚— Volunteer Work Days: We are working to stabilize

the Jemison-Turner House and need your help! If you are able to help remove debris, have carpentry or masonry skills, then we have a job for you! ď‚— Supply donations from local sponsors. Getting the community involved in saving their own history will encourage patronage of the home, whether it be through time, money, or needed supplies.


Ideas for Generating Interests  House Tours

 Ads in every major newspaper in the area  Radio ads  Entry into a real estate guide  Facebook, mySpace, and other social networking

sites  Collaborative efforts with local preservationist groups in various counties in Alabama


Sources Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation. “Alabama’s Most Endangered Sites for 2011”. http://www.prese rveala.org/pdfs/PP/2011/2011%20PIP%20PDF/Jem ison-Turner%20House%20Talladega%20Co.pdf Auburn University Archives house the family documents of the Jemison family. Unfortunately, I was unable to access them in time for this project. They are not yet digitized.


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