Tag Archives: Lee County

Whitfield-Duke-Searcy House-Opelika, Alabama

Built in 1895 by John Whitfield, owner of ALAGA syrup company and Whitfield Pickles, the home was purchased by Lum Duke, a local judge. His daughter Inez Duke Searcy was the first ever female attorney.

The home is now the headquarters for the Opelika Chamber of Commerce.

Spring Villa-Opelika, Alabama

Side view of Spring Villa featuring white painting and details

On the outskirts of Opelika is a Carpenter Gothic home built by Horace King, master bridge builder, for Mary Ann Godwin Yonge and her husband, William Penn. Mary Ann was the daughter of John Godwin, the man who enslaved Horace King.

Carpenter Gothic is an offshoot of Gothic Revival. They share steep roofs and decorative woodwork that sometimes resembles lace. Carpenter Gothic is usually light in color, frequently white, and made of wood.

Spring Villa was built in two parts. First, in 1850, it was a one-and-a-half-story home for the Yonge family. Then in 1934, the city of Opelika added the rear ell with the help of the Civil Works Administration, a job program created as part of the New Deal. It now serves as a clubhouse and event space for Spring Villa Park.

The rear ell features four pitched windows.

The buildings were once connected by a breezeway, but it was torn down.

Window detail

1934 HABS photo showing the original house being restored
The staircase in a 1934 HABS photo

Gingerbread House-Opelika, Alabama

Inspired by the Horace King built Spring Villa on the edge of town, John Edwards most likely built the Gingerbread House in Opelika, Alabama. Completed in 1865, Edwards and his family moved into the home. Edwards was known as a skilled craftsman which is why the family believes he built it.

It is now home to the Old Timers and Chimers Clock Shop and Museum. They restored it after it fell into disrepair.

It is a contributing property to the Geneva Street Historic District.

This image is from the NRHP application before it was restored.

Smithville School-Smithville, Georgia

The Smithville School opened in 1928 and stayed open until May 1955. It was a four-teacher-type school. Afterward, the building was converted into apartments. It now sits empty.

Image is from the 1976 Smithville Historical Committee’s Smithville, Georgia…a glimpse into the past.