July 5, 2022


Comfortable residential structure

Alabama’s only octagon house was environment for secret tale

A person of Alabama’s most uncommon homes has been preserved in downtown Clayton. The Petty-Roberts-Beatty Property is recognised for its exclusive architecture, its setting up resources and its people. In simple fact, a person resident, the writer Claudia Waddell Roberts, established one of her limited tales in the home’s basement.

Nowadays, the home is shown on the National Sign up of Historic Areas and can be toured by appointment by contacting Jolene Gothard at 334-775-8604 and 334-750-2511. The figures are also mentioned on the doorway.

Eight sides and concrete walls

The dwelling at 103 N. Midway was created in 1861 by local businessman Benjamin Franklin Petty. At the time it was created, octagonal houses – properties with 8 sides – experienced turn out to be a craze.

The national craze started in 1848 when architect Orson Fowler was striving to come up with a far more effective property style. Octagon houses were typically two stories and featured a veranda that ran about the property, a flat roof and cupola. The dwelling in Clayton has three tales.

Fowler released his suggestions in his guide, “A Home for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Creating,” in accordance to an post by American Heritage.

“An 8-sided dwelling would be cheaper to construct, considering the fact that its exterior partitions would enclose much more space than a rectangle,” the report explained. “It would be much easier to heat in the winter season and (with a cupola on leading) a lot easier to vent in the summer season. And the interiors of octagonal homes had been brighter, as the sunlight streamed through windows on eight sides as an alternative of only four.”

The octagonal household pattern peaked in the 1860s, then commenced to die out. A number of the octagon homes have been preserved throughout the place. The Petty-Roberts-Beatty Household is the only 1 to survive in Alabama just one that was developed in Athens, Ala., was torn down in the 1950s.

The Clayton house is believed to be the only surviving antebellum octagonal residence “in the southeastern United States that built use of the ‘gravel wall’ developing system,” according to an posting by the Encyclopedia of Alabama. This structure was recognized as a “concrete household.”

The concrete wall design and style that Petty’s builders utilised was Fowler’s creation.

Encyclopedia of Alabama explained the course of action, “The Clayton Octagon Household has substantial, 17-inch-thick walls, with every ‘face’ of the octagon staying 18 toes prolonged. To make this sort of strong partitions, builders created a picket frame created of horizontal boards and loaded it with a grout combination created of sand, gravel, and water that hardened like cement.”

The citizens

The dwelling has been dwelling to numerous significant people, which includes a decide, an author and even Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin H. Grierson, who used it as headquarters for Union Cavalry in April, 1865.

Petty’s daughter and son-in-law inherited the property in 1899 and offered it to a neighbor, Choose Bob T. Roberts in 1901.

Bob’s spouse, Claudia Roberts, was an creator, composing mostly small tales showcasing mysteries. 1 of her most properly-recognised tales, “The Rusty Vital,” was posted in a booklet in 1938, alongside with three other tales.

The booklet, called “The Rusty Essential: Prize Tales of the Deep South,” took its name for the key tale, which won 1st prize in the May perhaps Harris short story contest and was sold to Mystery Magazine, in accordance to Amazon. The other tales in the booklet have been, “A Truthful Exchange, “The Male with a Earlier,” and “In the Bridal Chamber,” all of which have been prize-winning stories.

Curiously, the location for “The Rusty Key” was the basement of the octagon home, in accordance to regional historian Jolene Gothard.

In accordance to an on line historical past of Barbour County, Roberts also wrote for “Film Pleasurable,” “Young’s Magazine,” “Lippincotts’ Magazine,” “Southern Miscellany Journal,” “Chicago Record-Herald,” “Philadelphia Community Ledger,” the “New Orleans Situations-Democrat and Picayune,” “Progressive Farmer,” “Birmingham Information-Age Herald,” “Montgomery Advertiser,” the “Commercial Attraction,” and quite a few other publications.

In the mid-1920s, the Roberts’ daughter, Mary, and her husband, William C. Beatty, inherited the residence and manufactured in depth modifications.

In 1981, the city of Clayton purchased the dwelling from the daughter’s estate. The Clayton Historic Preservation Authority was recognized to analysis the primary structure of the home.

The Encyclopedia of Alabama report reported, “The fee oversaw attempts to restore, repaint, and furnish the house to its authentic look, with grey partitions and forest green trim. The structure was restored to its pre-1920s visual appearance and today has 12 massive rooms, 10 compact rooms, 10 closets, 37 home windows, four outdoors doors, and 31 inside of doors.”