It gives me pleasure to visit places of the past. I have noticed, however, an afternoon of shopping at an antique mall is almost as satisfying as visiting a historic place in person. I suppose this is the case because the antique shop and the historic site both contain antiquated objects. I love to visually feast upon a mighty oak bed frame with its ornate carvings or the velvet cushions of a dining room suite. And, when I do go to see these beautiful objects set up in their corresponding surroundings, there is a magical sense of closeness to the people who lived there a hundred years before. When I walk up the steps of an old antebellum home, where, stepping through the door, I can imagine giving the butler my card, I feel as if I myself will be joining the lady of the house for tea at half past four!
Now, come and join me for a moment as we tour a real antebellum home. A guide will supply us with interesting tidbits of the living conditions of this well-to-do estate. She tells us that in the summer, the thick carpets covering the floor of the house were pulled up and stowed away along with the velvet curtains covering the windows. Simple light curtains would be put in their place, and the floors would be left bare wood except for a rug here and there. Cotton coverings would be put on the furniture to protect the upholstery from the intruding insects flying through the open windows and from our own perspiration when we are seated upon them. Remember, this is the time before air conditioning was invented!
Let’s continue to listen. She goes on to say that towns would spring up close to the river because water made it possible to ship goods from one city to another. Montgomery, Alabama was the capitol of cotton. This commodity was brought from plantations and farms all over Alabama, then weighed, sold, and shipped (by water) south to Mobile and even to New Orleans.
To give you a visual delight of the many sights I saw while touring the home mentioned above along with many other homes and buildings, keep scrolling. This is the first group of images I took while visiting “Old Alabama Town”, a collection of structures which have been picked up and gathered together in Montgomery, Alabama. The time period of these homes and other buildings will vary. Some of the following images will be from a tavern built in 1836 where the great Lafayette rested for the night while on his tour of America, while a few pictures are from a cotton gin constructed in 1900. There is a dogtrot home built in 1840, a local grocery from 1892, a simple log cabin from the 1820s, and many more.
Don’t forget to check for Part II coming soon!