Constructed around 1840 as the seat of a 2,000 acre plantation, Woodlands is one of the finest of the few remaining antebellum homes in Clarke County. This house is a Creole style cottage that’s enriched with Greek Revival detailing, including eight fluted Doric columns supporting the front porch. The front entrance door, centered in the five bay facade, is surrounded by sidelights and surmounted by a transom light, with these flanked by pilasters and crowned with a simple entablature. The most noted feature of the house is a small elliptical vault in the porch ceiling which allows space for an oval bullseye window above the entrance. This design is unique in Alabama. Woodlands was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on April 28, 1980.
This house was built for Frederick S. Blount (1806-1885) and his first wife, Emily James, daughter of a wealthy Clarke County landowner. Blount was a native of Newbern, North Carolina and was educated at the Newbern Academy and the state university. He was admitted to the bar in that state in 1829 and, like many of his contemporaries, migrated to the old southwest. In 1831, he established a law office in Mobile. He married Emily James in 1835 and four years later began acquiring large tracts of land in Clarke County where he moved, probably in late 1839 or early 1840. There he operated a large plantation and apparently served the county in some official capacity. Sir Charles Lyell, on his second visit to the United States (1846), visited briefly at Woodlands and noted it in his journal. In 1851, Blount sold the house to Sara Thomas and returned to Mobile where he is chiefly remembered for a daughter who married a French baron, Henri Arnous de Riviere . The house remained in the family of Sara Thomas until it was purchased by George E. Wilson in the early 1920s. It is still owned by descendants of this family.
This house is located 0.4 mile north of US 84 and approximately 4.2 miles west of the US 84 Alabama River bridge.
Woodlands is at the end of a private drive and it is not visible from Highway 84.
Sources: 1) NRHP “Woodlands (The Frederick Blount Plantation)” Nomination Form; 2) Wikipedia.
Photographs courtesy of RuralSWAlabama.