McDowell House near Camden, AL (built early 1850s; recorded in HABS; listed on the NRHP)

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The McDowell House, also known as Liberty Hall, was built during the early 1850s for John Robert McDowell by W. W. Robinson. This two-story Greek Revival-style house is one of the least altered antebellum plantation homes in the Alabama Black Belt. The house has a hipped roof, a full-height portico supported by four huge columns and a long balcony at the upper level. One unusual feature of this antebellum mansion is the columns on the portico – two are round and two are square. Four round columns were ordered for the home. However, two of the columns were lost during a violent storm when being transported up the Alabama River to Camden. Robinson improvised by using two square columns. Interior features of the home include elaborate plasterwork in the formal rooms and hall on the lower level that was designed by Harriet McDowell, wife of John Robert McDowell. This house was photographed and recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1936-1937. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on January 05, 1984. The house is also featured in Jennifer Hale’s Historic Plantations of Alabama’s Black Belt. Liberty Hall is still owned by McDowell descendants and today it is operated as a bed and breakfast (libertyhallbandb.com).

“Liberty Hall” is located approximately four miles southwest of Camden on the west side of Hwy 221 approximately 1.1 mile south of the junction with Hwy 10 (GPS Coordinates 31.972806,-87.335167).

This is a private residence – drive by only.

Sources: 1) NRHP “Liberty Hall” Registration Form; 2) The Alabama Catalog: A Guide to the Early Architecture of the State, by Robert Gamble; 3) Historic Plantations of Alabama’s Black Belt, by Jennifer Hale.

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