Historic home in Clanton is being torn down

Published 4:24 pm Friday, August 23, 2013

A historic home in Clanton built more than 100 years ago is being torn down. The home is located at 930 Lake Mitchell Road next to Shoney's restaurant.

A historic home in Clanton built more than 100 years ago is being torn down. The home is located at 930 Lake Mitchell Road next to Shoney’s restaurant.

A historic home in Clanton built more than 100 years ago is being torn down.

Although family heirs to the “Mims House” have dealt with efforts for roughly 20 years to salvage the historic home at 930 Lake Mitchell Road next to Shoney’s restaurant, lack of interest in the home has resulted in the family deciding to develop the property after the house is torn down.

“We have done everything we could to try to save the house,” Ron Mims of Birmingham said. “We have contacted historians, we have fiddled with the house as far as seeing if different businesses wanted to develop it. We at one time wanted to make a bed and breakfast out of it and no one has ever committed to it.”

Mims said his grandfather, Elijah H. Mims, built the home around 1890-1910 after migrating to Chilton County from North Carolina with the Easterling and Baker families.

Mims said he has heard the government gave the land to Elijah due to Elijah committing to farm the land.

“I have heard that my grandfather said he would develop the land so he acquired a large piece of plot,” Mims said. “When Interstate 65 was built, that took a large chunk out of his land.”

During the time the 10,000-square-feet home was being built, Mims said Elijah lived in another home across the street that was a “two-room shack with a front porch and kitchen.”

Mims said one of the unique elements about the home is the wood that is now being salvaged by a contracted supervisor, Jimmie McCall of Selma, who is tearing down the home.

“The wood is heart pine which is a very valuable piece of wood,” Mims said. “All of the wood was cut off of the land due to all of the farm land my grandfather cleared to build the home.”

Although Mims never knew his grandfather, the stories of Elijah from people who did remember him in Chilton County have allowed Mims to learn the depth of his family history.

“My grandfather was a neat guy,” Mims said. “He engineered the first indoor plumbing after building a water tank at a nearby filling station and attached a pipe to the house so he could get water. The house would have been one of the first in Clanton to have indoor plumbing.”

Mims said Elijah also ran a little business for people in Chilton County who wanted to go swimming in the lake across the street from his home.

After walking through the vacant home, Mims found business cards Elijah made to charge people 25 cents to swim in the lake.

“If they paid him, he gave them a membership card type of thing and he made money by charging them to swim,” Mims said. “He was a self-sufficient man, he had indoor plumbing, had chickens, hogs and cattle and sold cheese, milk and eggs to people who would come by his home and purchase whatever they needed.”

Mims’ father, LeeRoy Mims, moved into the home after Elijah passed away and was the last family member to live in the home.

Although Mims said tearing down the house was not the first choice among the eight relatives who are living heirs to the home, no relative wanted to live in the home after LeeRoy passed away and the house had become overgrown.

“We have tried the best we could to salvage the house but we have been very unsuccessful,” Mims said. “After talking, all of the relatives agreed tearing it down was the best option.”

McCall and a team of workers have been hired to salvage most of the wood from the home and tear down the remaining portion by the end of December.

McCall said on Friday that anyone interested in acquiring a piece of the home including original doors, windows or pieces of structure can contact him at (334) 328-1075.

McCall stressed that the property is still listed as “private” and “no trespassing” signs are posted throughout the home so anyone interested in acquiring a piece of the property must call McCall.

“We have had some vandalism to the property recently and we just want people to be respectful,” McCall said. “If you want a piece of history then go about it the right way and call instead of just trespassing and stealing it.”