c. 1850 – Greenville, AL – $15,000

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Added to OHD on 1/16/20   -   Last OHD Update: 7/31/20   -   54 Comments
For Sale

201 Herbert St, Greenville, AL 36037

Map: Street

  • $15,000
  • 3 Bed
  • 1 Bath
  • 1854 Sq Ft
  • 0.44 Ac.
This historic older home definitely deserves the attention it will take to renovate. Formerly the home of mother of a previous governor of Alabama. The home offers a unique style for this area known as raised cottage . Property is known as the Old Abrams Place as well as the Old Knight Place . The original plan had five rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs. A great project for someone who understands the value of a historic property such as this.
Contact Information
Connie Coleman, Re/Max Camellia Realty
(334) 382-3371 / 334-437-2453
Links, Photos & Additional Info
Listing details may change after the posted date and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Independent verification is recommended.

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54 Comments on c. 1850 – Greenville, AL – $15,000

OHD does not represent this home. Comments are not monitored by the agent. Status, price and other details may not be current, verify using the listing links up top. Contact the agent if you are interested in this home.
  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I feel so sorry for this poor house. The pictures don’t tell us anything other than it looks like it’s been abandoned for a really long time. Is anyone local that wants to take a peek for us?

    56
    • I live near Greenville and lived there about 50 years ago. The house was built below ground level on the front and left side facing it. Down the left side there are concrete steps all the way to the back. If l remember correctly there were five or six steps. The stairs for the upper level in the front yard are on the left side of the upper porch. It is a big house.

      6
  2. BethanyBethany says: 3510 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1983 White elephant
    Escondido, CA

    It looks like it’s sinking into the ground, like you wouldn’t even be able to get the front door open. I hope that’s a trick of the photography angle. It’s very intriguing!

    34
    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      The side street view shows it a little better, there’s an opening between the home and the lawn so it’s not right up at the door.

      18
    • Nancy Bedwell says: 13 comments

      Yes, I thought it looks like it is sinking down…odd…

      7
    • The house was built a little below ground level. There are concrete steps the length of the house on one side. I loved living there when I was younger and purposely drive by it sometimes just for memories sake. My family lived downstairs and another family lived upstairs.

      16
  3. JimHJimH says: 5149 comments
    OHD Supporter

    The “Old Abrams Place” is of the Raised Cottage type, sometimes called Creole for the supposed French origin of the form.
    Listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage, the house is thought to have been built in 1859 by Rev. Jonathan E. Bell and sold to the Abrams family in 1863. Kate Abrams Persons grew up here, the mother of Governor Seth Gordon Persons.

    State report:
    https://ahc.alabama.gov/Alabama%20Register%20Properties/Butler%20County/AL.ButlerCounty.OldAbramsPlaceOCR.pdf

    29
    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      “…1974 when it was purchased by Alford Kitching and R.M. Watts for the sole purpose of saving and restoring this unique old Greenville landmark.” That is so sad to read, seeing it as it is now. Looks like Alford passed in 1996 at 75. I’m not sure about R.M.

      20
      • JimHJimH says: 5149 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Sad but they may have done enough to save the house – it’s still there and available for a song! If the brick on the lower level is sound, this could be a interesting restoration. The interior might be wonderful, a total wreck, or both!

        22
        • LadyTexasLadyTexas says: 196 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1979 Traditional
          Plano, TX

          The missing stairs to the upper level sense to me and accounts for why the lower level looks like it’s sinking into the ground. The living space is on the upper level and the utilitarian space below. Would be an interesting renovation to be sure.

          6
      • John says: 32 comments

        Hi Kelly, I did not know where to ask this question so I apologize if this is not the best place…Wondering what happened to the European listings? I thought they were great-was i the only one?
        John

        8
  4. Mary Halako Dunton says: 27 comments

    That was my first thought, a Creole Cottage…. I love it!! I would get it if I could up and leave!!

    12
  5. Eric says: 397 comments

    Too bad there aren’t interior photos. This raised cottage looks like the standard center hall floor plan with two rooms on either side upstairs and downstairs. With the ground floor made of brick the main floor is probably built of cypress that lasts termite free forever. If the roof is ok then this home could be easily saved. Would make a cheap fixer upper project. I’d tackle it if I lived closer.

    14
  6. Rick says: 70 comments

    Street view you can zoom in on that still gorgeous slate roof and imagine per the state report the original stairs coming down from the middle of the porch, drool.

    7
  7. Sonia says: 1 comments

    It looks like the Forrest Gump house, with the full balcony and the picture of the tree across the way. Definitely in need of repair to get it back to its glory but I bet whoever takes this on and stays true to the architecture and time period, will end up with a beautiful home!

    4
  8. Katie says: 36 comments

    The Google Street View also shows how beautiful that magnolia is. And one of the largest crepe myrtles I’ve ever seen!

    6
  9. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5452 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1889 Eastlake Cottage
    Fort Worth, TX

    As sad as the house itself is the surrounding neighborhood. There’s what appears to be another Antebellum home across the street, in better repair. About a block away is this faded but obviously once nice Queen Anne Victorian: https://goo.gl/maps/3yuS8cNhiov Judging by the numerous vacant lots with steps going up to nowhere, this must have been a fairly dense neighborhood a century ago. I think the next owner would have to appreciate solitude although the remaining neighbors are probably friendly as most folks down South often are. The low price doesn’t necessarily reflect a tumble down house inside; I think its due more to a sluggish local real estate market, especially for old houses needing work. Wikipedia stats show an estimated 7,600 residents in Greenville with about 25% living below the poverty line. Assuming the house’s interior is fairly intact, as others have suggested, this could be a worthwhile project. I think a number of interior photos would greatly help to determine the overall value of restoring this Antebellum house.

    19
  10. Elizabeth R Taylor says: 1 comments

    I live just outside Greenville (I found my Forest Home AL house on this site) and stopped by this house last time I was in town. Unfortunately it may be beyond repair. Most of the doors and windows are open to the elements and the lower level was just sad – floor almost gone. We didn’t look into the main level as my husband thought the front porch stairs were not safe to climb. It is a nice corner lot only two blocks from Commerce St (the main street in historic Greenville).

    This is a nice small southern town with loads of old historic homes. Some are in great shape, others just a brisk wind from falling down, and many in between. There are lots of opportunities for fixer uppers here. About an hour south of Montgomery but right on the interstate.

    11
    • Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 1013 comments
      OHD Supporter

      No house is “beyond repair”. Some simply require more work, knowledge and skills (and expense) than others, but none are impossible. Thankfully, there are today numerous examples of restored houses and buildings which were at one time deemed “beyond repair”.

      30
  11. Amy says: 1 comments

    Going to try to look at this home this week sometime.

    15
  12. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Finally got around to updating with the interior photos, moved to front page, comments above may be older.

    5
  13. Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 1013 comments
    OHD Supporter

    The new interior photos show that the place retains lots of highly desirable original material, even windows! The exterior would benefit greatly by the re-creation of the original steps which led from the brick walk to the front door at the center of the porch. It would be fun to remove the plank wall from beneath the wide arched opening (last photo) and see how those rooms were intended to connect with each other. There is a lot here to work with ; I would hope that the price will inspire someone to give it the attention it deserves.

    17
    • LadyTexasLadyTexas says: 196 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1979 Traditional
      Plano, TX

      I love that arched opening, especially in juxtaposition of no flooring beneath. Makes sense that the living space would be upstairs in the era of no a/c where cooling breezes would be a prime consideration. I don’t know much about Alabama. Are the summers humid?

      4
  14. Kimberly62Kimberly62 says: 1830 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1936 Cabin

    I am glad to see this house again. I can imagine filling it with furniture and living with in its walls, enjoying the air from outside coming throuh those beautiful windows, and enjoying the sun making its way across the sky, and how it lights these rooms.

    5
  15. Leah SLeah S says: 164 comments
    OHD Supporter

    TX

    Agree, this home has much potential. So much of the original fabric remains. I hope the price will encourage a restoration-minded buyer who is willing and able to save it. At this price, it is do-able. I bought a cheap old wreck that had been labeled beyond repair, had it moved, and gradually worked on bringing it back. It took years, money, lots of sweat … but so worth it. It’s not for everyone. Hoping this home finds someone willing to take the plunge.

    13
    • RayRay says: 202 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1958 prarie, or mid century
      Escondido, CA

      I did that w. condemned property in CA. But the city made me pay double for permits to fix up caused of the previous owners violations. No big tho. Put in 60 grand in materials, and called in every favor there ever was. I has to be a hobby, unless you get lucky.

      13
  16. JonJon says: 98 comments
    TN

    A setting for a Faulkner novel or Tennessee Williams play if ever there was one.

    22
  17. RayRay says: 202 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1958 prarie, or mid century
    Escondido, CA

    I like it, I don’t know why. That’s about a weeks pay for Richey Rich.

    5
  18. AJ DavisAJ Davis says: 386 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1850 Italianate, classical
    New Haven, CT

    Interesting that the 1974 report described the roof as “Mansard” when that style had barely been introduced into the northeast. Since the design of this house as a Creole cottage was clearly a long-standing vernacular one without any modern pretensions (relatively plain pine mantels, etc), I feel quite sure the roof is misidentified. Nice flushboarding on the facade, though. I too hope it can be salvaged, and it’s rear porch, currently completely gone (though the doorway from the central hallway remains), can also be reconstructed around the location of the now-attached kitchen. I suspect the filled in-arch in the ground or basement level may at one time have been a part of the dining room since many Creole cottages had the dining room located there.

    8
  19. AJ DavisAJ Davis says: 386 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1850 Italianate, classical
    New Haven, CT

    Interesting that the 1974 report described the roof as “Mansard” when that style had barely been introduced into the northeast. Since the design of this house as a Creole cottage was clearly a long-standing vernacular one without modern pretensions (relatively plain pine mantels, etc), I feel quite sure the roof is misidentified. Nice flush-boarding on the facade, though. I too hope it can be salvaged. Along with its rear porch, now completely gone (though the doorway from the central hallway remains, as does an apparent “ghost” stairway showing it going upwards against the external wall under the porch as commonly occurred in Creole cottages), up to the newer location of the now-attached kitchen. I suspect the filled in-arch in the ground or basement level may at one time have been a part of the dining room since many Creole cottages had the dining room located there.

    4
  20. AJ DavisAJ Davis says: 386 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1850 Italianate, classical
    New Haven, CT

    The google perspectives do suggest a vaguely Mansard-like roof, but as I see no windows and the attic does not seem to have been high enough to stand up in, I seriously doubt it qualifies as a true Mansard. I do wonder if this is the original roof or not, but think it is more of a hipped roof. Also noticed that the fireplaces have been taken down to the ground floor if not removed entirely from both floors. But where they had existed on the main floor, some one did fill them in with external siding matching the original, from what I can see, and presumably some time ago. And where they were removed from both floors, they were nicely filled in with original-appearing materials on both levels.

    6
  21. says: 124 comments

    This town is interesting to me because a group of my ancestors was some of the first people to settle here, coming from Greenville SC in the 1850s.
    As a matter of fact, the street that is adjacent to this one is my maiden name: Dunklin.

    6
  22. says: 124 comments

    Oops, I was wrong. It was more like 1821 and first, they had to bury the remains of the white side that lost a run in with the Native Americans that were originally there.

    1
  23. CharlestonJohnCharlestonJohn says: 1122 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Charleston, SC

    The interior is in better condition than I had expected prior to the recent post update. The raised basement form is pretty common throughout the Southeast US in areas where a high water table and a threat of flooding is present. The call the form “Lowcountry” around here, but the idea is the same: Build on grade and make the basement the first level and the living quarters above. The posted house has the six over six windows, the wide frieze boards, and interior trim you’d expect from a Greek Revival influenced design on the 1850s. You’d need a structural engineer to know for sure, but in many cases, sinking house can be lifted and stabilized. I hope someone will save this one.

    7
    • BradGBradG says: 45 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1847 Georgian
      Melbourne, Australia,

      Hi John,

      I’m curious why the First Level is built below natural ground level, if you’re in an area prone to flooding wouldn’t it be wiser to elevate the house rather than lower it even if the first level is used as a non-living area?

      Would part of the basement area have been used as a kitchen in this type of building?

      The seepage from runoff would explain the condition of the floors in the below ground level.

      3
      • CharlestonJohnCharlestonJohn says: 1122 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Charleston, SC

        The high water table prevents digging a traditional basement, so you see houses with an English (half) basement or, more commonly, with a “basement” level being entirely above grade. The idea of elevating the main living area over a less important utilitarian space is common in many areas dealing with potential ground water issues, with the most famous being the piano nobile palazzi in Venice.

        4
    • It’s not a sinking house. I lived in it. We lived in the lower level which you can see from the front and left side as you are looking at is below the ground level. If I remember correctly, the rear and right side were at ground level. There are three bedrooms a living room, kitchen and bathroom downstairs and when we lived there it had and enclosed staircase coming into the long middle hall. Our upstairs neighbor use to let our cat into our downstairs by letting him come down the steps to the door. The left side of the house has concrete steps all the way down the length of the main part of the house. It was five or six steps. We played on them a lot. The upstairs is pretty much the same as the downstairs. When I drive by I think it’s too far gone but I really don’t know. My family and I have happy memories of living there!

      9
  24. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Reduced to a ridiculously fab price, moved to the front page.

    13
  25. MichaelMichael says: 2646 comments
    1979 That 70's show
    Otis Orchards, WA

    Seriously? For the price of a cheap used car you could get this house. My first thought was like the other earlier comments but after looking at the house closer and reading Jim’s comments about the type of house it is, I can see that the house is pretty much as it was built, with the exception of a possible sag on the porch. The lower doors we see in the street view and first picture are the lower/basement level. The main floor is up a level, accessed from a staircase we see in the street view around the corner. Although it needs a bit of work, it certainly deserves to find someone who will see the potential and love this place!

    6
    • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5452 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1889 Eastlake Cottage
      Fort Worth, TX

      I think perhaps there’s too much focus on the house’s low price. Candidly, I think even if this house were offered for free, I’m not sure it would be quickly snapped up. The house has its restoration challenges but the real challenge here is the location/community. Greenville is not the proverbial wide spot in the road with its population of just over 8,100, but if you read the comments above, you’ll note that the local economy is cited as weak and jobs are apparently scarce. Summers in the region can be brutally hot and steamy humid. Finding that elusive preservation minded buyer willing to invest the money to bring this house back in this location isn’t going to be easy. The restorable condition can’t change the fact that the location isn’t ideal. I agree that this house is 100% restorable and if it were in another historic location like New Orleans or Savannah, it might be immaculately restored to period as well as unlikely to be on the market. Across the South are similar faded communities, rich in history but poor on economic resources. Port Gibson, Mississippi, a community with a fabled past, has a number of homes gradually being lost to neglect and decay. I’m not sure how anyone can fix that situation regardless of housing prices. Just as sad a situation in Greenville now as it was several years ago.

      13
  26. This reminds me of the Cheney-Newcomer House. At $7,500 is a great price for this home. It needs a new roof STAT.

    2
  27. peeweebcpeeweebc says: 1078 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1885 Italianate.
    MI

    Such a crime to see a state landmark home in this terrible disrepair. Disrespectful for sure. Give er some love.

    1
  28. BradGBradG says: 45 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1847 Georgian
    Melbourne, Australia,

    Absolutely love this house, so much original fabric to work with.

    But I still can’t get my head around why the front and one side is built below ground level, especially with a potential high water table as Charleston John mentioned in a previous comment.

    There will always be runoff into the lower level, as indicated by the condition of the lower floors, and it will always be a damp house…am I missing something obvious here!!

    2
  29. We just bought this house. Definitely a crazy and impulsive decision. We honestly just hated to see it continue to deteriorate. We definitely have bit off more then we can chew. No regrets though.
    I read several comments of people that know more about this property. We would love to know more about it and or maybe some pictures. We finally closed on it 2/5/2020. Also, if you’re local, please recommend some local contractors, roofers , electrical, etc…

    6
    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
      Admin

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      Congrats! Keep us updated, we’d love to see what you do. 🙂

      1
    • Leah SLeah S says: 164 comments
      OHD Supporter

      TX

      Congrats, Lafiandtyler!

      I am not local but I can give you some encouragement. For those of us who make these “crazy and impulsive” decisions, the rewards can be great! I hope that some locals can give you some advise on old house-friendly contractors. In my experience, having a contractor who truly understands and appreciates old homes was key.

      I’m so happy that this home is being saved. Much luck to you on your old house journey. 🙂

      3
  30. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5452 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1889 Eastlake Cottage
    Fort Worth, TX

    Congratulations. A number of people I’ve known in the past have had the courage to tackle badly faded but historic or architecturally important homes. In my estimation, that qualifies them as Preservation Heroes. You deserve to join their ranks and if there were a hall of fame for preservationists, I’d certainly nominate you for inclusion.

    Trying to decide where to start on a badly neglected home like this one can be overwhelming. I’d recommend beginning by making a list of all needed repairs or reconstruction tasks based on priority. First is usually making sure you have a sound roof to keep the structure in the dry. Almost as important would be to tackle structural problems and foundation issues. Then plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Last would be all the cosmetic work that can be very enjoyable as you see the rehabbed house emerge. I’d strongly recommend not taking a wholesale gutting approach towards the interior unless you have the kind of crew the National Park Service uses for important historic buildings with extensive experience in traditional building trades like plastering, stone or early brick masonry, post & beam framing. Besides, the approach for important historic structures is always repair original materials first and replace last. When replacement is unavoidable, best to try to use materials which match the originals as closely as possible.

    That said, its unlikely that you’ll find many local contractors with that kind of specialized experience so you’ll have to fill in for the role as general contractor where your trades people follow your instructions to get the results you want. Best to avoid the low-skilled remodeling types who want to gut the interior and reconstruct with all new materials. You want your historic home to look historic, right?

    A great resource for rehab information is the Alabama Historical Commission: https://ahc.alabama.gov/ Some additional help can come from tax credits. Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program states: The 2017 Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit is a 25% refundable tax credit available for private homeowners and owners of commercial properties who substantially rehabilitate historic properties that are listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and are 60 years old or older.
    In summary, you’re not alone-there are a multitude of resources available to help you rehab this property respectfully so you can be proud of your accomplishments for the rest of your life. Your timing is good as Spring is just around the corner and with its milder temps you can get a head start on this project before the summer heat and humidity kick in. Here’s wishing you the best!

    5
  31. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Back on the market…

    1

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