Video – Houses Through History Ep007

Hey guys! Today I wanted to take you to a town in south Alabama. As many of you know I am from a town in Alabama called Dothan. If you have lived in Dothan for any sort of time you would have found yourself passing through Eufaula.

Eufaula has a small downtown area with some history buildings and an interesting feel, but I really wanted to talk about this one particular strip of road.

If you have driven through this you know that this area is a bottle neck. It’s an area where 4 lanes of traffic get squeezed down to two. Although this has always added to my travel time, it has never really bothered me.

Actually, I look forward to passing through this one area. It forces you to slow down. This small portion of road has a series of historic homes. One after another. Beautiful southern homes that have for the most part been well preserved.

Every year around April they have a tour of homes that they call the Eufaula pilgrimage.

One of the most prominent would be the Shorter Mansion. It’s located at 340 Eufaula Avenue. This home was built in 1884 by Eli Shorter the second and designed by Frank Lockwood. Eli the second is the nephew of Alabama Governor John Shorter. John’s brother Eli’s Father was a US Representative from Alabama. Born in Georgia, he attended Yale and received a law degree. In 1844 he began practicing law in Eufaula. He was heavily involved in Agriculture and began aquiring large amounts of land. He died in 1879, passing his power and fortune to his son’s John and Eli.

There is a lot of history on Alabama Governor John Shorter. His story is interesting and I would say rather corrupt with power and government during a time of succession and civil war.

Eli’s story is a little less known. He graduated from Howard College (Samford). His intention was to practice law like his father and uncle. His wife Wileyna was born to a wealthy family. Heir to one of the most profitable medicine companies of the 1800’s. The SSS Tonic Company. After their marraige they moved into his small cottage at 340 Eufaula Ave.

His small cottage was either burned down or absorbed by the large house that currently occupies it’s space. The house is 8700 sf. It took 5 years to complete because of the intrecate moldings, hand carved sculptures and elaborate interior and exterior. The 17 intricately designed corinthian columns surround the home porches.

The house is a very detailed design with an enormous amount of Neoclassical Revival elements. Two years after the renovation Eli died. His wife lived in the home until 1927 when she passed it to her daughter who in-turn passed it to her daughter. In 1965 the heritage association in Eufaula bought the home at auction with the hope to restore it. They paid 33,000 for the home.

Since then they have fully restored the home and it’s currently used as the city of Eufaulas history center.