Harmony House holds special place in local history

Published 5:06 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

A Victorian-era house on Second Avenue holds a unique distinction in Chilton County history.

According to homeowner Lynn West, the home was the first in the county to have indoor plumbing.  An on-site water tower stored water from a nearby well on the property.

The house at 1014 Second Avenue was built in 1906 by Ben Teel for John C. Dennis and his wife Glennie. John died shortly thereafter.

“I’m wondering if because he got sick, they didn’t put the second level on, because it looks to me like as much space as there is in the attic (it was designed to be a second floor),” West said.

She had thought about finishing it, possibly as an art studio, but never has.

Glennie remarried and lived in the home until the 1940s. It was then rented out until the 1960s when it was purchased by new owners.

Restoration work was done in the 1980s when the T.M Cleckler family (’82-’84) and the C.K. Mundy family (purchased house in ’84) owned the house.

West purchased the house in 2007 and named it Harmony House.

“When I walk through that back gate I feel a presence, a peace, a calmness, so I named it harmony because of that because I had worked really hard to create that,” West said.

The back gate leads to her garden in which herbs, including pineapple sage, and wisteria are focal points.

Many of the original features of the house are still intact, including the Eastlake-style front door, crown molding and some of the fireplace mantels.

“Eastlake was a popular style back then,” West said.

Although the chimneys have been removed and the fireplaces can no longer be used, the mantels are still a focal point for each room. West said she thought one of the ornament mantels is made of oak, based her experience with antiques.

“The windows also are original,” West said. “The ceiling is 13.9, so almost 14-foot, so all these (bedroom) windows I think are 10 foot.”

Smaller windows are found in the kitchen and sunroom, thought to be added after the original construction.

“This room (the sunroom) is probably my favorite room in the house,” West said. “It’s little. Its cozy. Lots of light.”

The porch is thought to be original to the house, although West said the railings may have been added.

Just inside the front door is a long hallway that goes the length of the house. Other interior doors have the classic window above the door.

To the left, the original pocket door design remains intact closing off the living room. Each bedroom has a closet that looks original to the house. West commented that this would not have been common at the time, making it another unique feature.

The majority of the wooden floor is also original to the house.

“This one is lined in cedar,” West said of one of the closets.

A bead board free standing cabinet in the bathroom is also original to the house.

A small storm shelter on the property is also thought to be thought of the original design.

In the side yard, remnants of an original sidewalk that encircled the house can be seen.

Portions of a brick wall and a French drain from the original construction are still intact.

A pecan tree on the property is thought to be at least 60 years old. West planted some fruit trees in the back and added a white picket fence to the front.

The house has been modernized in some ways with the addition of central heat and air and updated electrical and water/plumbing connected to the city system.

West has kept her furniture and decor in the Victorian style to match the house.

West is planning to move and hopes to find someone who will enjoy the historic house as much as she has.