Barker’s Slave Quarters at Old Cahawba Park in Dallas County, AL (built 1860, columns added after main house burned in 1935)

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This is a 2-story brick slave quarters that was built by Stephen Barker in 1860 behind his large brick mansion. The building originally had no columns.

After the Civil War, Confederate veteran, Samuel McGurdy Kirkpatrick and his wife, Sarah, purchased the Barker mansion and outlying structures. As other resident started abandoning Cahawba, the Kirkpatricks purchased the vacated lots. They transformed the dying town into a large farm. For nearly 70 years, three generations of Kirkpatricks managed a model farm called “Kirk View.”

The mansion burned in 1935. After the fire, a grandson created a house for his new bride by adding columns and a back wing to Barker’s old slave quarters.

Barker’s slave quarters is just one of many interesting features that you will find at the Old Cahawba Park. The park is located about midway between Selma and Orrville on the Alabama River at the forks of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers. Start your visit at the Park’s Welcome Center (GPS coordinates 32.319860, -87.104523). Exhibits are displayed that feature archaeological finds and photographs of the homes and businesses that once were located in Old Cahawba. You will be provided with instructions for the routes to take to get the most of your visit.

Sources: 1) “Behind the Big House” Interpretative Marker (located in front of the house; 2) Explorer’s Guide to Old Cahawba published by preserveALA, Alabama Historical Commission

For additional details about the park including operating hours and contact information, go to preserveALA.org/OldCahawba.aspx.

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