Monday, May 29, 2006

A. S. Leader House (1904)

A. S. Leader, a contractor and developer, built this fanciful, frame cottage in 1904. The late-American Queen Anne Victorian home boasts a corner tower with date of construction flanked by patterned shingles.

The Leader House is located at 5117 Main Street in Brighton and is owned by Michael Turner. The property has been featured on HGTV's "If Walls Could Talk."

Here's some background on Brighton, adapted from The Birmingham District: An Industrial History and Guide.
The town of Brighton grew up along the streetcar line connecting Birmingham and Bessemer. By 1901, at least 100 families were living in Brighton. According to a special edition Bessemer Weekly published that year, this "populous and comparatively new suburb" started in 1892, when G.B. Edwards divided a tract of land and sold lots at a good price and on easy terms. When desired, Edwards constructed dwellings for prospective owners, selling them on monthly installments.
By 1910 the incorporated town had a population of 500, 17 commercial establishments, and dozens of handsome frame houses constructed of sturdy, native Alabama pine. Home construction spread along the North Bessemer car line and the old Huntsville Road. The first Hill Grocery Store built outside of Birmingham was constructed at Madison Station. A. S. Leader induced Hill to locate the store here as part of his residential subdivision of the area.
The graves of many early settlers of Scottish, English, and German descent who came to work for Woodward Iron Company remain in the old Brighton Cemetery on Woodward Road.

The Honeycutt House (c. 1907)

This Tudor-inspired bungalow at 213 19th Street South was one of the earliest brick-constructed residences in South Highlands.
A recessed porch spans the 40-foot facade and and shelters the transom- and- sidelight entry. Half- timbering and stucco in the gable face are currently obscured by gray paint. Large 1-over-1 sash windows and awning basement lights are set in segmental-arches. The rear enclosed porch has 4-over-4 sash windows and double teardrop siding.
The home's back porch and original hipped-roof can been seen in a 1909 panoramic photo of the neighborhood.
Bessemer artist, Jason Burnett, began renovating the property in 2004.

Henry W. Sweet House (c. 1906)

Designed by architect William E. Benns, the Sweet House is one of Bessemer's most substantial residential properties. Located at 1830 Arlington Avenue, this Queen Ann Neoclassical structure features two colossal porticoes and an octagonal corner turret. Situated on a corner lot, the building is two stories with two street facades (one facing Arlington, the other facing 19th Street). Matching entries on both faces feature stained glass transoms and sidelights.
Details of the structure include double-teardrop weatherboard siding on a brick wall foundation; a lofty hipped roof with cross-gabled two-storey porticoes with galleries; and pedimented stuccoed gables with plain entablatures, supported by massive Corinthian columns. The lower porch roof wraps both street facades and is supported by smaller columns of similar Corinthian style. The corner turret is shingled on a third storey that rises above the eave-line, and is crowned by a finial.

In recent years the property has been threatened by neglect. After remaning in the Sweet family for 100 years the home was sold to local preservationist, David Nichols. Mr. Nichols and his family have begun an extensive restoration.

See the Sweet House coverage in the Birmingham News at

Sunday, May 28, 2006

2009 BHHA Meetings and Events

Assocation meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM. Please join us! See the schedule below.

Meeting Dates, Host(s) and Locations:
January - Jason Burnett
February - John and Rita Neely
March 17 - Bill & Phyllis Lazenby
April 21 - Jason Kirby & Ben Faucher
May 19 - Jonathan Edmondson and Kyle Pugh
June 16 - Adam and Erica Young
July 21 - Birmingham Public Library
August 18 - Clay and Ally Leonard
September 15 - Wilma and Henry Mayweather
October 20 - David Smith & Michelle Stallworth Smith
November 17 - Russ & Martha Brown
December - OPEN

Friday, May 26, 2006

BHHA Information and Membership

BHHA was organized in 1995 by residents in the Jonesboro area of Bessemer. Since then, the association has grown to include members from nearly every historic neighborhood in the city and several from surrounding areas.
Please visit an upcoming meeting and consider joining the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association.

2009 BHHA Officers
President: Jason Burnett
Vice President: Jason Kirby
Secretary: Wilma Mayweather
Treasurer: John Neely
Board Member at Large: Scott Scoggins
Board Member at Large: Sunny Lippert

Annual dues are $20 per household and can be mailed to:
P. O. Box 1761
Bessemer, AL 35020
The Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Source Material for

Home descriptions and photos on the BHHA site come from a variety of sources.
We especially appreciate the following:

The Birmingham District: An Industrial History and Guide, Marjorie Longenecker White. The Birmingham Historical Society, 1981.

South Bessemer Inventory. An unpublished research project in progress.

2004 Bessemer Tour of Historical Homes, Jonesboro/Owen Avenue. Brochure published by the BHHA.

2005 Bessemer Tour of Historical Homes, South Highlands, Christmas in Bessemer. Brochure published by the BHHA.

A Field Guide to American Houses
, Virginia and Lee McAlester. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

The Bessemer Weekly, Special Illustrated Edition. 1901. Reprinted by the Bessemer Hall of History.

The Bessemer Hall of History, 1905 Alabama Avenue, Bessemer, AL 35020

And of course, the first-hand descriptions, photos, and research done by the homeowners!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Contact BHHA

Bessemer Historical Homeowners' Association

P. O. Box 1761
Bessemer, AL 35021