300 Gates Avenue SE

Weeden House. In 1972, was empty, partly burned-out (fl. 2, SW room). Rooming house. Bought, saved and restored by the Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association, City of Huntsville & many donations. Restoration Arch. Jones & Herrin, HJ & R. Allen (most work donated). H.A.B.S. (HJAC - '97)
District: Twickenham (939)
Built: c. 1819
Style: Federal Period
Sign: Howard Weeden 1819
Location: Map ↗
300 Gates Avenue SE

Weeden House, 300 Gates -1819

The Weeden House is a superb example of Federal architecture. Notable exterior architectural features include the roof cornice, the frieze below the front roof eave, and the modillions, all based on the Corinthian order, the entry with its semicircular, leaded glass fanlight and slender reeded colonettes, and the Flemish bond-laid brick on the two street sides of the house. Inside, the architecturally perfect cantilevered circular staircase winds to the second floor and the interior woodwork is the most elaborate in Madison County. Delicate reeding and fluting are extensively used and impress the visitor with the careful detailing throughout the house. The house was built by Henry C. Bradford, part owner of a mercantile business on the South Side Square. It served as the home of many prominent Huntsvillians, including John McKinley, who went on to become an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. From 1845 to 1956, the Weeden family owned the home and its most notable resident was Maria Howard Weeden. Born there in 1847, Miss Weeden received very little formal art training. The Civil War reduced the family to poverty and she began painting cards and favors for parties in order to have some kind of income. She then began to paint watercolor portraits of the old ex-slaves, depicting their character in her paintings and their sense of humor and philosophy of life in accompanying poems written in their dialect. These touching works continue to evoke poignant understanding of a lost way of life. She became nationally known for these works and her books were published by Doubleday, McClure and Company. Her health failed, however, and she died in 1905. The house was acquired by the Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association in 1973 and sold to the Huntsville Housing Authority in 1976 in order to secure grants for its restoration. In 1981, it was leased by the Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association and opened as a house museum.

Item 32 of 33 (5926)

Source: Albert Lane
Date: Unknown
Rights: Reproduced from "Twickenham Tables" published by the Twickenham Historic Preservation District Association, Inc., 1988, with the permission of THPDA and Mildred Lane.