Answer Man: What’s the story behind a historic house in Abbeville? | Local News

Judith Zeng

Q: What’s the story powering the historic residence at 300 Kirkland St. in Abbeville?

A: The Kennedy House (also known as the Bethune-Kennedy Home) was created all over 1870 by Dr. William Calvin Bethune, a prominent medical professional who experienced been a lieutenant colonel in the Fifty-seventh Alabama Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. The property was included to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 1976 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

In accordance to the NRHP nomination sort, the dwelling is a great case in point of a late Creole cottage. An Encyclopedia of Alabama short article on the household states the Creole-cottage design and style was popular on the Gulf Coastline but particularly uncommon inland.

“The one particular-and-a-50 % tale, braced frame structure has a gabled roof, close-exterior chimneys and a whole width recessed gallery,” the sort says. “Four square columns with Doric capitals assistance a deep frieze and a simple cornice. Pilasters terminate the gallery which is of shiplap siding, while the remainder of the framework is concluded with clapboard.”

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Bethune seemingly occupied the home only a handful of years, the variety suggests. It adjusted palms three periods prior to becoming ordered by Walter K. Stokes in 1878. Stokes retained the composition for seven years, offering it to William and Mollie Kennedy in 1885.

“The Kennedy loved ones owned and farmed land in rural Henry County, but chose to occupy this residence near the middle of the county’s major town,” according to the variety.

The home remained in the Kennedy family members till 1974 when it was acquired by the Henry County Board of Schooling.

In 1976, the Encyclopedia of Alabama short article claims, the board prepared on demolishing the property to make room for the crowded Abbeville Center Faculty close by.

“Few persons in the neighborhood ended up anxious in excess of the then-derelict building, while County Superintendent William Covington supported makes an attempt to preserve the home,” the write-up states. “The Henry County Historical Modern society and its president, William Nordan, for whom the Heritage Area at the Abbeville Memorial Library is named, also sought to save the historic dwelling and released endeavours to draw notice to the historic importance of the dwelling.”

Nordan’s desire led him to Cheryle Webster, a transplant to Abbeville who had not too long ago renovated a further historic dwelling on Kirkland Road with her husband.

“Webster and Nordan ended up thriving in rallying regional fascination, and Webster was ready to gather other gals from local golf equipment into forming the Community Enhancement Council,” the report claims. “The Abbeville Metropolis Council then allocated $1,000 to the council to assistance conserve the property.”

The Group Improvement Council acquired the property for use as a community middle in 1976.

“In 1978, Abbeville held its 1st Parade of Homes on May possibly 28,” the post suggests. “Webster and her renovated household, the Johnson-Webster Household, was section of the tour, along with the Abbeville Methodist Church created in 1896, the Clendenin-Hardwick House, which is supposedly haunted by a Confederate soldier, the 1903 Stokes-Rane Property that was utilised as a regulation business, and the Henry County Lender, in a Greek Revival property courting from 1908.”

The income from the tour were being utilised to renovate the Bethune-Kennedy House. The dwelling is currently owned by the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce and was section of the Historical Strolling Tour in Abbeville for the Henry County Bicentennial in 2019.

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