Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bentley House (1928)

The historic Bentley House was built in 1928 and sits at 2084 Cherry Avenue in Hueytown on a corner lot, and is owned by Jason Kirby and Benjamin Faucher. Its construction began on July 20, 1928 and finished by September 20, 1928. The home is listed on the Jefferson County Historical Commission register as the Bentley House, plaque #1216. It was originally the home of Mr. Bela Earnest Bentley and Mrs. Ida Belle Bentley. Both were educators in Jefferson County, and key people in the Hueytown Community. Mr. Bentley served as teacher and principal at numerous local schools, an avid gardener, and was a deacon at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Hueytown. One of the stained glass windows at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church near front alter is in memory of Bela Bentley and was put up by Mrs. Bentley after his death in 1948. Mrs. Ida Bentley taught elementary school from (1909-1963) nearly 48 years at the following locations: Alliance, Crumley Chapel, Republic, Trafford, Shannon, Hueytown, Muscoda and Concord. She died one month before her 104th birthday. Mrs. Bentley lived over 50 years in the house on Cherry Avenue before selling it. Both are buried at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Hueytown. The current house sits on 1 acre of land, but at first the Bentley family had a farm with 10 lots of land. As Mr. & Mrs. Bentley got older, they sold lots of land down to what you see today. Seven of the ten lots were re-named the Ida Belle Bentley sub-division in December 1959. The original land goes back to the Huey family which was one of the founding families of Hueytown.

The Bentley house is a historic cottage style brick veneer, one story house with three bedrooms and one bath. The key architectural element that we have found in the house is the arch. The outside fireplace has a square carved nook on the top, and a carved arched nook on the bottom. The entrance of the house has a bricked-in sun porch with bead board ceiling, distinguished crown molding, arched windows, and two sets of arched screen doors. The house initially had open brick arched windows, and later the home owners installed encasement windows, with hand cracks. This sun porch leads to a side bricked patio, which leads to the kitchen from the outside. All of the floors throughout the house are the original hardwood, and all of the doors have the original glass doorknobs. All of the walls are the old plaster from 1928. The living room has an oversized, wood burning fireplace with decorative tile surround with arch opening, and two flanking candlestick sconces on each side. On top of nearly each window, are the original wood cornice boxes with scallop carvings: seven total. There are arched doorways all through the house. The kitchen has an early farmhouse cast iron country sink with two flanking drain boards built in, and an old horseshoe nailed above the backdoor as a sign of good luck. The bathroom has the original cast iron tub and pedestal sink, with a vintage basket weave tile floor, and vintage wooden medicine cabinet. There is a built in secretary in the hallway. Throughout the house are the original oversized floor vents, and a old furnace switch still intact. In one of the bedrooms, there is a charming built-in ironing board, made of wood, with the sheet cover, sleeve press and ironing pillow intact. Most of the doors, trim and windows throughout the house have never been painted, and are the original dark wood. Jason and Ben are currently restoring the Bentley House, and doing lots of yard work.

2 Comments:

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Rosetta said...

Jason,

My name is Mark and I'm from Connecticut. I'm a stonemason so I'm always on the 'net' looking for new ideas. I came across your home and I think it's 'beautiful". I'm an engineer as well and one of my hobbies is creating old style homes out of balsa wood. I'd love to make one of the "Bentley House", I think it would be a cool project, and once I'm done I'd send you guys detailed views and pictures. Only thing I would need is a full layout of the house, a floor plan with dimensions and roof schematics (pictures would help as well). I hope I'm not asking for too much, I just love the house. By my measurements I think the house is 38x44 but I'm not sure. Think about it and let me know what you come up with.

Thanks,

Mark (CT)

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger jolaine said...

Ida Belle Bentley was a relative. Her husband died long before I was born, but when I was a child in the early 60s, Dad kept her house and yard in tiptop shape. We often visited her on Sunday afternoons and I remember once I stayed with her for two days when my parents had to go to a funeral out of town.
As a small child, this house was magical to me. One would think that a child would be bored in such a house - too many things not to be touched - but there was a sense of peace that I loved.
As the house is described in the article, I remember every detail and more. I'm glad to see that someone owns it who is keeping its original charm.
My family has many Ida Belle stories. I've written some as short stories. This house and that independent lady will always be part of me.

 

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