Antebellum homes offer a chance to own a piece of history

May 22, 2009



Several of Columbus'' Civil War era homes are on the market -- awaiting someone willing to invest the time, energy and appreciation for history it takes to keep these nearly 200-year-old homes fresh and vital. 


While the idea of becoming the owner of a literal piece of Southern history might be imposing, Columbus Historical Society Director Nancy Carpenter said owning one of these homes is a labor of love.  


I think most of the people interested in owning one of these homes are younger than you''d think," she said. "They have the stamina it takes to be in constant care of the homes." 


Carpenter herself has owned the Italianate two-story Barry House, at 506 Fourth St. S., for 20 years, along with her husband Carroll. The home was built in about 1838 and features the original cypress beams and heart-pine flooring. 


Riverview, located at 216 Third. Ave. S. was built in 1850 by famed architect/builder James Lull. The massive mansion and its grounds take up the majority of an entire city block. 


"I would say Riverview is one of the finest homes in the South, and that''s not stretching it at all," said Carpenter. 


The Greek Revival home has been on the market for some time, and is being sold by the owner, Patty DeBardeleben, through Crye-Leike Realtors. According to Crye-Leike''s Web site, the asking price for the home is $1.3 million. 


Another historic home been recently put on the market is Hamilton Hall, located on the corner of Third Avenue and Ninth Street North. The Italianate townhouse was built in two sections, one completed in 1840 and the other in 1860. The house is owned by John and Sherry Parker, and also is being sold through Crye-Leike. The home is listed on their Web site for $550,000. 


Columbus has three historical districts: The South Side District, which extends from the Tombigbee River to 14th Street South to the railroad tracks, Burns Bottom and Main Street. In those areas, there are more than 600 antebellum structures. 


During the Civil War, Columbus acted as a hospital town, so it avoided being burned to the ground, as many other Southern cities were when the Union army marched through the region. 


"The misconception is people with deep pockets are the only ones who are able to get one of these wonderful homes," said Carpenter. "But for many of the homes a lot of energy and a deep love and commitment of and to history is really what it takes."