Southern University was founded in Greensboro by the Methodists in 1856. This school prospered during the 1800s. In 1918, it merged with Birmingham Southern College and was moved to Birmingham. The only thing that remains of Southern University at Greensboro is the President’s home. It was built in 1860, the year after the college opened, to serve as the home for the school’s President. The contractor for the house was a man named Watt, and the cost of this home was $8,986.17. The building is two-story brick. Perhaps its most interesting architectural feature is the facade, which is asymmetrical. On the right end are columns which take up more than half the house’s breadth, but on the left is a wall interrupted only by a bay with windows. The facade of the rear of the house was similar, but the portico on the back was enclosed around 1950 and a one-story cinderblock rear wing was added. Beginning in 1918, after the college was closed and moved to Birmingham, this house was used as Greensboro’s first hospital. Today it is part of the nursing home facility that is located next to it and is owned by Greensboro Health Care Center, Inc.
This house was photographed and documented in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1936. It is located at 514 College Street in Greensboro, AL (GPS coordinates 32.700701, -87.585863).
Sources: 1) Historic Hale County, published by The Presentation Committee of the Alabama Reunion 1989; 2) Southern University historical marker located at the corner of Armory Street and Highway 14 (GPS coordinates 32.698788, -87.584980).
B&W photograph courtesy U. S. Library of Congress, Photographer: Alex Bush, Date: March 30, 1936.
Note: This house is featured site #67, President’s House, on the Greensboro Historic Walking Tour. Tour brochures are available at a tourism kiosk that located on the southeast corner of Main and Beacon Streets at downtown Greensboro.