This home has a very rich history in Chambers County. Known as the McCurdy Plantation, it once was central to a thriving cotton farm of 4000 acres, 150 slaves, and a large lot of stock all owned by Joseph McCurdy. From this plantation is also a breed of horse that the McCurdys bred to be useful on the farm. The grounds still include a now enclosed cattle barn, and large and small working barns. The site where the blacksmith’s shop used to be (just to the North of the small working barn) is evident by the constantly emerging samples of iron.
During the Civil War in 1864, Federal Cavalry stopped by to water their horses. The troops were led from Selma by Col. Oscar LaGrange, regimental commander, and were headed to West Point, where another battle ensued over the railroad yards. There is a natural pure water spring just behind the current property line that has historically served as a fresh water supply for travelers and visitors with the thriving railway and agricultural industry in the area.
The home was built in 1845 by Mr. Edmund S. Harris as a wedding present to his daughter and her husband, Joseph McCurdy. The construction took 3 years, and was all completed by hand, by the slaves on the plantation. The house is made entirely of heart pine (from the center of the tree trunk) in the Greek Revival style and has slightly tapering fluted columns, and a cantilevered porch on the front. The house was positioned on a slight knoll and took advantage of the breeze through the open “dog trot” hallway in the center of the house. Several elder guests have talked about staying in this house as a child with the McCurdy children, sleeping on a large pallet on the floor in front of one of the fireplaces.
The back portion of the house was added in the late 1980s by the Pattons- adding a modern kitchen and 3 and a half more bathrooms. Logan Patton did the work using parts from the former Parsonage to the United Methodist Church in Opelika that was torn down to make a parking lot.
The front dining room used to be the master’s bedroom. It has a stairwell so that the parents could keep close at hand to their 8 sleeping children upstairs in the two rooms joined by a door. The next room used to be the dining room, with the kitchen through a door (now a window) in a separate building outside (for fire safety.) There are only three small closets in the house – one over and two under the staircases. These, of course, were taxed as rooms, so are scarce. The stairs on the back side of the house used to go directly upstairs from the outside, for field hands doing business in the office of Mr. McCurdy.