This mansion is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival neo-classic architecture in the Southeast. Built in 1852-1856 as a townhouse for Col. Edward Watts, the 10-room, 6,000-square-foot mansion cost $69,900 to construct. Artisans from Italy were brought in to do the plaster and marble work throughout the home. The marble was imported from Italy.
The City of Selma purchased Sturdivant Hall in 1957 and it now serves as a historic house museum. The house contains period antique furnishings, porcelain and doll collections, as well as an impressive collection of art. A tour of this site includes the house, detached kitchen, gift shop and formal garden.
Sturdivant Hall also has a ghost story associated with it. The house is featured in a short story by Kathryn Tucker Windham, in her “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery”. The story, “The Return of the Ruined Banker”, involves John Parkman, one of the owners of Sturdivant Hall, and the purported return of his ghost to the house after his death.
Sturdivant Hall was documented in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1934 and added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on January 18, 1973. It is also a contributing property to Selma’s “Old Town Historic District” that’s listed on the NRHP. Sturdivant Hall is located at 713 Mabry Street in Selma’s historic Old Town District (GPS coordinates 32.413111,-87.028611).
Included are pictures of Sturdivant Hall and a short video that provides details about its resident ghost, John Parkman.
Sources: 1) NRHP “Sturdivant Hall (Watts-Parkman-Gillman Home)” Nomination Form; 2) Wikipedia.
B&W photographs courtesy the U. S. Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: W. N. Manning, date: February 3, 1934.