Magnolia Hall (Alabama)

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Magnolia Hall in 2011

Magnolia Hall is a plantation house at the corner of Otts and Tutwiler streets in Greensboro, Alabama. It is also known as the McCrary-Otts House. It is a historic Greek Revival mansion. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property to the Greensboro Historic District. It was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey in March 1936.

History[change | change source]

Greensboro became prosperous as part of the cotton boom of the mid-19th century. In 1850 William Murphy, a lawyer and legislator, sold a prime lot to David F. McCrary, a prominent cotton broker and planter. McCrary had originally come from North Carolina. He married Elizabeth Cowan Lowry, daughter of a prominent Alabama family. McCrary had Murphy’s house removed. He hired the architect B. F. Parsons to design a new mansion. The house was completed in about 1855. The Alabama Beacon reported that the house cost $10,000. It was a very large sum at the time.[1]

McCrary’s finances survived the American Civil War. He opened the Greensboro Bank and Exchange in 1871. His only living child and her husband inherited the property when MCCrary died in 1888. Their son and his wife bought the house from siblings in the 1920s. It stayed in the family until 1970. It was sold to Mr. and Mrs. M. D. Baines. The house was sold again in 2011.[2]

Architecture[change | change source]

A detailed, twelve-page building contract for Magnolia Hall still exists. It calls for porticos, north and south, each with six fluted columns, of the "Grecian Ionic Order ... the Entablature and Mouldings all to harmonize with it ... and proportioned after the order." There are double balconies of delicate iron grill work. There are colored glass transoms around the doors. Inside are large four over four rooms, 14 foot ceilings, chandelier medallions, and a grand mahogany-railed staircase in the hallway. W. E. Yerby in his History of Greensboro wrote that Magnolia Hall "is indisputably one of the finest antebellum mansions in Alabama ... [and] a perfect example of late Greek Revival architecture."[2]

Gallery[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Alabama Beacon, Greensboro, Alabama, April 24, 1857. Archived at the Alabama Historical Commission.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yerby, William Edward Wadsworth (1963). History of Greensboro. Northport, AL: Colonial Press. 

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Gamble, Robert (1990). Historic Architecture in Alabama. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 60.