Tag Archives: Blossomwood

Backyard neighbors with Leroy Pope’s estate…

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Backyard neighbors with Leroy Pope’s estate…

Years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Leroy Pope Mansion in Huntsville, Alabama, for the purpose of marketing it for sale.  The home was in the same family for generations and was later  granted to University of Alabama in Huntsville for use as the University President’s home.  The experience was an incredible walk through history.

The then-owner told us of her family’s escapades on the property’s sprawling grounds, approximately 6 acres in the very core of the city.  Horseback riding on the back lawn, cool summer breezes on one of many porches, the groundskeeper’s “boxwood hospital” on the property were a few stories I remember vividly.  The “boxwood hospital” was populated with boxwood shrubs as tall as any person I’ve ever met and as wide as an automobile… The plants would be transplanted to this area when they began to touch so that the leaves could fill back in wherever touching had caused the leaves to wither and die.  Full boxwoods would then be transplanted again throughout the property.  Fascinating.

My favorite experience of the entire period during which we marketed and sold this unparalleled property was all of the visits to the “widow’s walk”,  a dramatic name for a viewing area at the top of the home.  Up, up, up through the attic and into the absolute tippy top of the roofline one can see – literally- a 270 to 360 degree view of Huntsville, depending on the season.  True to form, Leroy Pope picked the highest point of his “city” and built his home where he could view every square inch of it.

Other properties were later built around the Pope Mansion, development occurred on the mountain east of it and small cities began nearby.  One of Pope’s former friends even built a house in front of it, stretching the ceiling heights to 16 feet in a spiteful attempt to block the city founder’s view.  Today, 200+ years later, that house is still well known as the “Spite House.”

So today, when I visit another unique downtown house built downhill of the north of the Pope Mansion’s front portico, I imagine a girl on a horse in a warm summer breeze, looking down the ivy covered hillside at a cozy Twickenham cottage being built on Eustis Street.  I wonder, did she still call the street “Maiden Lane” as it had been called in the past?  Did the ancestors of the red foxes of Twickenham roam the land then as they do today?  Oh, to be able to travel back in time to have a glimpse of times gone by…!

I look up the hillside in the backyard and see the home on the hill built by Huntsville’s first owner.  It’s a quiet view of history that is full of mystery, fun and nostalgia.  The backyard is visible from these photos for 418 Eustis, that quaint Twickenham cottage to Pope’s north.  It has been lovingly renovated only steps from the historic Courthouse Square.  Enjoy!

http://www.valleymls.com/homes-for-sale/418-Eustis-Avenue-Huntsville-AL-35801-136286105

 

 

 

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Summer in Huntsville

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Summertime brings with it so many wonderful events here in the Tennessee Valley.  Here are just a few summer offerings that make us happy in Huntsville…

1.  Enjoying time on the Tennessee River, the Flint River, Guntersville Lake, Wheeler Lake or Tim’s Ford.  This includes crawfish boils at Ditto Landing and attending church at Guntersville’s Church on the Lake…

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2. Summer Concerts in Big Spring International Park.  Every Monday night, the dock of the Huntsville Museum of Art hosts a different local band.  Picnics, folding chairs and dancing under the stars are enjoyed by young and old citizens alike.  Now thru mid-August.  http://www.artshuntsville.org/our-programs/concerts-in-the-park

Reunion photo concert in the park

3.  Graduations and dance recitals at the VBC.  Rarely a day goes by from late May through mid June that you won’t see little kids in tap shoes and sequins running to the Concert Hall along with graduates in caps and gowns taking pictures by Thrasher Fountain.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/iceman66/5535991778/

4.  Neighborhood pools-  Most areas offer a selection of neighborhood pools that become the summer hangouts and social areas through the summer months.  For a base membership fee plus an annual dues collection, these neighborhood pools organize swim meets, social events on holidays and swimming lessons for little ones.  Some even feature tennis courts as well.

5.  Green Street Market and other Farmer’s Markets around town: Thursday nights have become wonderful “farm to table” nights in downtown Huntsville with the creation of the “Green Street Market” nights.  Local vendors offer fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, culinary dishes, gluten free fare and more.  Artwork, herbs, bath products and farm fresh eggs are staples for GSM as well!  It has become so popular that South Huntsville has started their own Farmer’s Market and other neighborhoods are following suit.  http://www.greenestreetmarket.com/See all of the latest and greatest events coming up on http://www.ourvalleyevents.com

For all of the upcoming Summer events, be sure to check out www.ourvalleyevents.com.  You’ll see why we are Happy in Huntsville, especially in the summertime!

Fall colors and Maple Hill

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Sunday, October 15, 2012 was the annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll in historic Maple Hill Cemetery, located between the Twickenham and Blossomwood areas of Huntsville. Hundreds of people gathered at the cemetery to view the beautiful fall foliage and were greeted by local Huntsvillians dressed up as famous historical figures buried at Maple Hill. Mollie Teal, LeRoy Pope, Gov. Bibb and others could be found throughout the grounds, weaving their wonderful tales for the benefit of the Huntsville Pilgrimage Association. According to their website, the Huntsville Pilgrimage Association states that Maple Hill was “established in 1818 when the city of Huntsville purchased two acres of land from Leroy Pope. Maple Hill Cemetery now extends almost 100 acres and houses the graves of many historic and political figures. Located in the heart of downtown Huntsville, from Wells Avenue south to McClung Avenue, it includes more than 80,000 graves. More than 350 grave markers have been restored to date thanks to proceeds from the annual Pilgrimage Home Tour and the generous donations of community and school groups and individuals.” If the number of cars lining the downtown and Blossomwood neighborhood streets (even in the rain),was an indication of the success of the event, this year’s stroll may be the best one yet! Huntsville is full of so many areas like Maple Hill that are opened to the public that our citizens feel a kinship to the land, the trees and the history of Huntsville. I love to drive by this cemetery everday, as strange as that sounds, because it reminds me of my loved ones lost who are buried there beneath the spectacularly beautiful and majestic hundred year old trees in the valley of Monte Sano. Fall and Spring are the most beautiful seasons in Maple Hill. The pink and white dogwoods bloom in April and it really does make you realize that all that was seemingly dead will rise again, just like those wonderful trees.

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The fact that Huntsvillians have found a way to preserve the history found in this grand old place and that Huntsvillians care enough about their area that they will brave a rainy day to join others in this Cemetery Stroll is a big reason that I am happy in Huntsville. The foliage doesn’t hurt, either… 🙂