Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Does this beautiful old mansion still exist in Talladega County?

ORANGE VALE

OLD HOMES OF TALLADEGA COUNTY1

(KINGSTON, MT. IDA, SELWOOD, THORNHILL, ALPINE)

BY MARY WELCH LEE

(MRS. SCEARS LEE)

A few miles on County Road 11, Talladega, Talladega County, AL, the slender columns of the “Lawler Place” come into view. Its name is “Orange Vale”.


Alex Bush, Photographer February 4, 1937, EAST (FRONT) ELEVATION (GENERAL VIEW) – Lawler House, County Road 11, Talladega, Talladega Count

The house, of the square colonial type was built by Levi W. Lawler, passed to his daughter, Mrs. Whiting of Mobile, who used it as a summer home.

Gen. Levi W. Lawler (The Baptist Encyclopædia: A Dictionary of the Doctrines, Ordinances 1883)

The farm, consisting of about three thousand acres of land, has been kept intact and is still in possession of her heirs. Six slender fluted columns rise across the front, with the usual iron-rail balcony above.

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, LOOKING NORTH ON BALCONY – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, May 9, 1935, FRONT (E) AND SOUTH SIDE – Lawler House, (Library of Congress)

The yard is enclosed by a picket fence with a drive bordered with hedges of trimmed cedar leading up to a circle. Beyond the circle a second hedge of cherry laurel marks a small enclosure where a brick walk lined with magnificent boxwood leads to the porch. Wisteria vines festoon the cedar hedge and gateway, and climb a trellis near the steps and a balustrade of an open porch.

Lawler House by 1939 by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1864-1952, photographer (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, CLOSE-UP OF MAIN ENTRANCE – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

The most unusual feature of this house is that it is furnished throughout with the original furniture, most of it of the period in which the house was built. The long hall, a summer sitting room, is filled with tables, desks, divan, chairs.

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, INTERIOR OF MAIN ENTRANCE IN HALL, FIRST FLOOR – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

Quaint prints adorn the walls and on the stair landing at the rear hangs a mahogany clock which has been kept running through the years. There are four rooms on each floor with long halls between.

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, GENERAL VIEW OF WEST END OF HALL, SECOND FLOOR – Lawler House, (Library of Congress)

Over the windows are black and gilt cornices—in the parlor more ornate ones. Here stands the square piano/Victorian sofas, slender chairs, etageres, a tall mirror and on one wall, a Confederate flag. The dining room with its walnut furniture and cabinets for china and glass is presided over by a portrait of “Old Marster”.

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, CEILING ORNAMENT IN PARLOR – Lawler House, (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, MANTEL IN PARLOR (SO. E. ROOM), FIRST FLOOR – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

In the shallow closets on each side of the fireplace are cake stands of china and glass, pitchers of moss rose design, glass decanters with graceful coneshaped stoppers, a heavy cut glass sirup pitcher with a silver top, platters of every size with rosebuds scattered over them, and wine glasses which, in “Old Miss’s” day, were filled to pass to the guests.

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, MANTEL IN NORTH EAST ROOM, SECOND FLOOR – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, CEILING ORNAMENT IN HALL, FIRST FLOOR – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, DOOR IN HALL, SECOND FLOOR – Lawler House, (Library of Congress)

In the bedrooms are mahogany and rosewood suites of furniture — a low four-post bed, a sleigh bed, a four poster with a canopy with a trundle bed peeping from underneath, and a cradle nearby. A suite of maple furniture with painted scenes must surely have been purchased for the young lady of the family when the house was furnished.

Alex Bush, Photographer, May 9, 1935, REAR, (W) AND NORTH SIDE – Lawler House, (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, MANTEL ON WEST WALL OF NORTH EAST ROOM, 1st FLOOR – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

Alex Bush, Photographer, February 4, 1937, STAIR BASE IN HALL, FIRST FLOOR – Lawler House (Library of Congress)

The old kitchen in the yard still serves and Minerva cooks there when “The family” comes just as she did in the old days. Her house is just beyond the kitchen, and she looks after the “big house” with love and pride.

Alex Bush, Photographer, May 9, 1935, FRONT (S) AND W. SIDE OF OLD KITCHEN AND SMOKE ROOM – Lawler House, (Library of Congress)

1Written in 1938 as an Alabama Day paper for a club in Birmingham,

NOTE: This antebellum home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was at one time used as a bed and breakfast. After the death of Levi Lawler in 1892, he willed Orange Vale to his daughter Ida Gracey Lawler Whiting and her husband Julian Wythe Whiting.

As of April 19, 2015, (per photo by Andrew P. Wood) Orange Vale or the Lawler House still existed on Al 21 S of Talladega, Talladega, Alabama. See photo http://landmarkhunter.com/141003-lawler-whiting-house/

SOURCE

  • Transcribed from The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 10, Nos. 01, 02, 03, & 04, 1948 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
  • The Baptist Encyclopædia: A Dictionary of the Doctrines, Ordinances, Usages, Confessions of Faith, Sufferings, Labors, and Successes, and of the General History of the Baptist Denomination in All Lands : with Numerous Biographical Sketches of Distinguished American and Foreign Baptists, and a Supplement, Volume 2 William Cathcart L. H. Everts, 1883

Tapestry of Love: Three Books In One 

At the age of sixteen, Mary and her husband, whom she barely knows, are forced to escape the only home they’ve ever known and settle in the primitive 17th century world of America where they shape their family’s destiny for generations.

Inspired by actual people and historical events of colonial America, “The Kingdom of Accawmacke” is revealed and secrets about America’s history are discovered in this well-researched series. The story begins in 17th century England during the reign of Charles I and continues a family’s journey to the eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!
Tags:

2 comments

  1. Paula Shivers

    SB Wright, saw this ! Very interesting

  2. What a beautiful old home! Enjoyed the article/pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.