Recent renovations allow Moulton historic home to open for public use

A recent project that improved HVAC upstairs at the Jackson House was completed last week. The historic home in Moulton is now ready to open as a public venue and has its first event July 31. 

A Moulton historic home will be the second historical home in Lawrence County to open for public use after seeing a series of renovations completed since 2011. 

The Jackson House will host its first renters, the Lawrence County High School Class of 1991, for a 30-year class reunion on July 31st, according to the Jackson House Foundation’s Tammy Roberts. 

The historic house became ready to open as a venue after its latest project, a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, was completed last Wednesday, Roberts said. The project was made possible after JHF received a grant from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area for the renovations. 

The Jackson House was built in the late 1800s by a former Lawrence County probate judge, William Kumpe. Following his death, the house was bought by another probate judge, William Jackson, and his wife Arrie Young Jackson. 

The house has also served as a restaurant—and even a senior citizens center after it was taken up by the Lawrence Commission on Aging in the early 1980s—but it has also served a venue space for community events and weddings in its recent history. 

“The Chicken & Egg Festival used to be held here,” Moulton resident and JHF member Cindy Praytor recalled. Sometime prior to 2011, the house began to fall into disrepair, prompting the formation of a new 501-3c to help protect and preserve the historic home.

Since 2011, maintenance and renovations at the house have been handled by the Jackson House Foundation, of which Roberts serves as the director.

When Roberts took on the project over ten years ago, she said the roof was in dire shape and the kitchen ceiling and subfloors were a huge priority thanks to severe water damage caused by a leak. 

“The last wedding to be held at the Jackson House was at least 20 years ago,” she said. “It sat empty for several years after the senior center relocated to old city hall.”

Now that the house is ready to be opened as rental space—or at least the downstairs portion of the home for now—Roberts said hosting rentals means bringing in more money to complete some final projects at the house. 

Projects left include general cleaning and some plumbing still needs to be completed upstairs, Roberts said. She also hopes to refurbish the enclosed porch on the front of the Jackson House to make the space look less commercial and more era-appropriate for its history. She said booking rentals and a recent grant award of $7,000 should allow JHF to begin the project in 2022. 

Roberts said the Jackson House is also in the midst of completing a shade garden on the Jackson House grounds to make the space more elegant for outdoor weddings, receptions and events. 

Thanks to an $8,000 grant from the Alabama Rivers, Mountains and Lakes RC&D Council, the Jackson House has installed fencing around the shade garden, created flower beds around the space, and installed an arbor. The grant will also be used to paint the fence, install a unique decorative bench, and hopefully provide chairs and tables appropriate for weddings and events, Roberts said. 

Once final projects are complete, Roberts said the Jackson House will be perfect for large events as the furnished house and completed grounds will require little to no decorating thanks to community support.

“Even though it’s been almost 11 years since we started undertaking these projects, we couldn’t have done all this without the help of organizations like the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and from help by the community,” said Roberts. 

“We received an anonymous donation of $17,000—that’s why we were able to put new roof on. That was the biggest project besides the kitchen ceiling and flooring from the leak—that had to be prioritized early on,” she added. 

Roberts said the anonymous donation and a grant from the Lawrence County Community Development Commission made installing a new roof at the historic home possible. From 2011 to present, she said JHF has received at least seven grants from the MSHNA for other projects including an HVAC system for downstairs, renovations in the kitchen, refurbishing original hardwood floors for the upstairs, and ongoing projects upstairs. 

Roberts said the Jackson House has seen at least ten businesses or individuals donate funds or contribute items and furnishings valued over $250, and 34 individuals or businesses have donated items worth at least $100. 

She estimated a cabinet, built and donated by Moulton resident Tim McWhorter, to be worth $600 to $700. She said the cabinet was recently installed in an upstairs bathroom at the Jackson House, and a countertop for the piece was donated by L&L Supply in Decatur.

“We couldn’t have come this far without the help from these donors and community support. We’ve basically furnished the entire house with donations from the community. We can’t thank them enough,” Roberts said. 

Although the house has been furnished by donations from local residents and businesses, Roberts said the house has at least one original piece belonging to its early owners. A member of the Jackson family had donated a rocker that was once kept in one of Arrie Jackson’s rooms, she said. The Jackson House Foundations have also received other family heirlooms from members of the Jackson family, though all those antique pieces weren’t original to the historic home itself. 

“This house means much to our residents,” Moulton resident Loretta Gillespie said. “Many have attended weddings here, or come to enjoy community meals, attended fundraisers and civic meetings. Several members of both the Jacksons and the Youngs are still living in the area…All are impressed that the interior of the house has been so well preserved.”

Roberts said the Jackson House Foundation and the JHF Board of Directors plan to offer rental options including day rentals for up to four hours and weekend rentals for large events like weddings. 

“Day rentals would be great for showers, luncheons, organizational meetings or wedding teas,” Praytor said. She and Roberts said JHF will also offer a photography package to allow the home and grounds to be used for photos sessions. Praytor said the option would be great for senior photos and engagement or wedding pictures.

Though the Jackson House will not be open for regular weekly hours, Roberts said the foundation may offer private tours by appointment. By the end of July, the Jackson House will be the second historic home in Lawrence County to officially open for public use. Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler home in Courtland, is open for tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 

For more information concerning rentals or tours, fundraising events or volunteer opportunities at the Jackson House, visit the Jackson House Foundation Facebook page, or contact Director Tammy Roberts at 256-566-6427.  

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