Westwood at Uniontown, AL (1836-1840)

Antebellum | Uniontown in Perry County  

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Westwood is a historic plantation at Uniontown, AL. The main house was built between 1836 and 1840 by James Lewis Price. It has the Greek Revival style with some Italianate influence. Westwood has several unique outbuildings, including a smokehouse with architectural detailing identical to the main house, an adjacent carriage house, a hip-roof dairy, and a two-room cook’s quarters. The Westwood Plantation was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district on November 21, 1974.

James Lewis Price attended the University of Virginia and obtained a law degree.  In 1835 at the age of 25, he came to Uniontown, in Perry County, AL, from his native Richmond, VA.  He later became a founder of and the president of the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company, bringing rail service to the Black Belt area which had a huge impact on its economic and political development. He also was active in creating the first Episcopal parish in the area, known as Union Parish, and served as its Senior Warden.

The Westwood House was built entirely by slave labor, and took four years to construct, from 1836 to 1840. The painstaking care taken by the master carpenters, brick masons and plasterers is evident in the features of the house.  It is believed that a French architect designed the home.

The formal areas of Westwood form a central square, comprised of the entrance hall with curved staircase, the library, the parlor and the dining room. Features of the house include wide heart pine flooring, Egyptian styled doorways, graceful arches in the parlor bay window and the library, elaborate plaster crown moldings in the parlor and dining room, and decorative medallions on the ceilings. A butler’s pantry and two spacious bedrooms complete the lower floor. The original kitchen was a separate building in approximately the same location of the current kitchen addition.

Five additional bedrooms are located on the second floor. Several bedrooms have his-and-hers dressing rooms, now converted to closets or bathrooms, and others have built-in cupboards for clothes and linen storage. A narrow spiral staircase descends at the rear of the house.

There are six covered porches downstairs and two upstairs, along with five flat roofs accessible from the second story, all of which allow enjoyment of the beautiful outdoor views. Intricately designed iron grillwork columns highlight the front porches of the bedroom wings and matching grillwork balustrades upstairs on the east and west porches and in the windows protected children from falling.

Three brick chimneys contained ten fireplaces that provided the heat in winter.  The house contained floor-to-ceiling 18-pane windows which could be lowered from the top as well as raised from the bottom for summer ventilation. Oil lamps or candlesticks were used for lighting. Rainwater was caught in the four corner turrets and diverted by the roof’s internal gutters and downspouts to cisterns for household use. A well was located near the current circular driveway, and an underground cold storage cellar provided the refrigeration for perishables.

Westwood is located beside Highway 61 on the north side of Uniontown, AL (GPS coordinates N32.459556,W87.514528).  It still belongs to descendants of James Lewis Price.

This is a private residence – drive by only.

Source: “History of Westwood” by Adele Ellis Beasley Long

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