Reverie is a historic Greek Revival mansion that was built circa 1858. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as a contributing property to the West Marion Historic District and was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). It is featured in Ralph Hammond’s Antebellum Mansions of Alabama, Gregory Hatcher’s Reverie Mansion and Gardens, and Jennifer Hale’s Historic Plantations of Alabama’s Black Belt.
The property on which Reverie sits was sold on February 9, 1858 for $4,000, a large sum in that day, to Joseph Thompson Whitsitt, a planter and railroad investor. Wartime financial reverses led Mr. Whitsitt to sell the mansion on November 28, 1862 for $10,000 to Edward Kenworthy Carlisle, a wealthy cotton broker who also owned one of the finest mansions in Alabama, Kenworthy Hall, located about two miles west of Reverie. In 1863, Kenworthy sold the house to David Scott, a merchant and cotton, grist, and saw mill operator and manufacturer. During the 1860’s while the house was owned by Scott. Union troops occupied the town of Marion and used the house as their headquarters. Some markings of these troops can be found in the attic. Another owner of the house was Dr. William T. Weissinger, who served as General Douglas MacArthur’s physician in the army.
Four white Doric columns of brick, covered with stucco, give this Greek Revival mansion it’s monumental appearance. The house features a massive frieze board with dentil moldings which surrounds the entire home. Board siding and double hung paned windows are all original. A cupola or belvedere with classical balustrade sits atop the low-hipped roof and there is also a balcony above the entrance. The mansion is a standard four-room over four-room house with a spacious central hall and grand, unsupported staircase, but also has two story cabinet rooms on the east and west sides. These flanking rooms were unusual at the time and, together with the portico, made the design quite distinctive. Two outbuildings survive: the original kitchen, now connected to the house, and a brick smokehouse. The interior of the Mansion includes elaborate plaster moldings and medallions, original to house, along with inlaid flooring of oak and mahogany which was added later. The ceiling height downstairs is 14′ and upstairs 13′ with original heart pine floors in most areas.
Reverie was recently completely restored and furnished with period antiques. Today, it serves as a residence and also historic house museum. If interested in touring this historic home, contact 334-683-6320.
Reverie is located at 110 West Lafayette Street in Marion, AL (GPS coordinates 32.631732, -87.320500).
B&W photographs courtesy U. S. Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: Alex Bush, date: April 25, 1935.