Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gaineswood Plantation Built In 1843-1861

Gaineswood Plantation
Built In 1843-1861
Demolopis, Alabama
The outside of this huge home is in the Regency villa style. The home's owner, General Nathan Whitfield, kept adding to the home from 1842 when it was just a two room log house to 1860 when it reached its peak of splendor.

Do note the roof line of this home. This house started small and kept growing. When later additions to the home blocked the living room and dining room windows the skylight additions allowed sunlight into these rooms. You can see the skylights on the roof.
On this deep south road trip this was the first plantation that we toured. It is located west of Birmingham, Alabama. Look at the sign above. Here's another new use for your smart cell phone. A self-guided tour of the property. By the way, Jack and I are still using "dumb" phones.
A Grecian statue in the middle of the formal gardens of the grounds of Gaineswood.
Another Grecian statue standing in the formal gardens on the grounds of Gaineswood.
Look above and you will see why the National Geographic Guide To America's Great Houses included Gaineswood in its list of 150 U.S. mansions worth a visit. This very ornate circular skylight adorned with hand molded plaster reliefs gave additional light to this room when former windows were removed to enlarge the house. These molded plaster reliefs were a combination of a special plaster mixed with horsehair for additional strength.

Luckily we were able to take photos in this house as long as we didn't use a flash.
Here's a good view of the dining room.
A beautiful set of original John H. Belter made French rococo style antebellum furniture. The engraved glass surrounding the silver candlestick on the side table is original and has survived all these years of use.
Look at all this ornate plaster work on the ceilings and on the Corinthian columns in this Greek Revival parlour. The Smithsonian Guide To Historic America states that this room is the reason why Gaineswood remains one of the three or four most interesting houses in America. Look at that huge and gorgeous chandelier that once was lit by gas. There isn't a ceiling this ornate in the White House in Washington D.C.
Look closely and you can see my Jack reflected in the far pier mirror admiring the furniture in this room
Here's another view of the ceiling.
Wow! Very impressive!
One of the owners of this home created this painting of a ship loaded with cotton caught on fire in the port of New Orleans. The owner of another antebellum home we visited was on this ship and died from exposure four days after the ship's fire because he had to jump from the ship into the cold December waters of the Mississippi river. See my earlier blog post about Melrose Plantation in Natchez to learn more about what happened to the unfortunate man who had to jump ship.
On the wall you can see the painted portraits of the one time owners of Gaineswood. By the way, Demopolis, Alabama was settled by French refugees who were exiles from the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.
This was a rare downstairs bedroom in the home. The four poster bed had lots of carving including the pineapple welcome motif.
In the above bedroom is a bay window that the owner had constructed to look like each pane of window looked rounded although all the glass was flat. The owner used calculus to create this illusion.
This was an upstairs bedroom with a set of Birdseye maple furniture. Note the trundle bed for children that would fit under a four poster bed.
The spinning and sewing room at Gaineswood.
A rare old pre civil war brass sewing machine in the sewing room at Gaineswood.
What holds up this house's roof? This 30 foot long solid log of cypress that we got to see in the attic. I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of Gaineswood.

1 comment:

Yertrude said...

Wow-- thanks for posting these awesome pictures! I have a book called Victorian America that has maybe four pictures, but this tells a much more complete story~

Also thank you for the Christmas music~