Tait-Starr Home, or White Columns, located near Camden, AL (built late 1850s; Recorded in HABS; listed on the ARLH)

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This is a nationally known Wilcox County, AL plantation home. Throughout the years, it has been featured in numerous national magazines and books concerning the architecture or history of the antebellum Alabama Black Belt. The house was photographed and recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1936. White Columns was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage (ARLH) in 1976.

This home has massive Doric Columns that support the hipped roofs of twin porticos, one of which faces west and one south. Four columns of massive proportions line each portico which stretches the fun length and width of the main body of the house. The columns were constructed of eight pine boards 12 inches wide and un-spliced from bottom to top. The architecture of White Columns blends Greek Revival and Italianate features.  Eighteen rooms with two central halls make up the floor plan. The halls are 24 by 55 feet and the large rooms are 24 feet square with 14 foot ceilings. On the north side, porches enclosed on three sides by the main body and rear wing are found on both levels.

White Columns was built by Major Felix Tait for his family home during the late 1850s. It is believed that Alexander Bragg was the architect-carpenter hired by Major Tait. Materials used in the construction came from the plantation. Major Tait served in the Mexican War and in the Confederate Army. Following the Civil War, Samuel Tepper, English born Camden resident who had inherited a fortune from his brother and their cousin, the English artist, J. M. W. Turner, obtained the home from Major Tait.  He presented it to his daughter, Molly and her husband, Dr. Lucius Ernest Starr as a wedding present. The Starr family moved into White Columns on January 1, 1880 and their descendants continue to live in White Columns.

This home is located at the Possum Bend community on Wilcox CR 23 approximately 1.8 miles south of the intersection of Wilcox CR 23 and State Hwy 10 (GPS coordinates 31.960806,-87.359833).

This is a private residence – drive by only.

Source:  The Heritage of Wilcox County, Alabama, published by Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc.

B&W photographs courtesy the U. S. Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: Alex Bush, date: August 29, 1936.

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