This 5,000 square feet Greek Revival building was originally constructed circa 1850 as a boys’ academy. The contractor was Willis H. Green. In 1880, the building was converted into a home by Benjamin F. Ellis who was a Confederate veteran and prominent Orrville merchant. He left the home to his heirs who owned it until the 1970s.
This Greek Revival building features Ionic columns that grace the big front porch. One interesting feature of the Ellis home is its interior staircase which has a low banister, perhaps to fit the height of young boys who were schooled there. During the 1900s, the interior of the house has been renovated to include modern conveniences being careful to ensure that features of the Ellis home were altered as little as possible. Today, this home is furnished with period antiques, many of which belonged to the Ellis family.
This building was photographed and recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1934.
The Ben Ellis-Dunaway House is located at the intersection of Academy Street and Broad Street South in Orrville (32°18’15.7″N 87°14’41.4″W – Google Maps).
This is a private residence – drive by only.
Sources: 1) The Alabama Catalog: A Guide to the Early Architecture of the State, by Robert Gamble; 2) selmapilgrimage.org.
B&W photographs courtesy of the US Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: W. N. Manning, Date: March, 1934.