Renovation Diary: The House on Gates

Map of Huntsville, Alabama in 1871

Historian Eleanor Hutchins writes, “Now, as we all know, the founders of our Twickenham came here rich to make themselves richer. They bought large tracts of land, cleared them and planted cotton. Some of them were merchants or professional men as well. Their primary energies went into the building of their fortunes. But they had as their end the creation of a certain kind of life. They built their houses not mainly on their plantations but here close together, to make a town. And they named that town Twickenham.”

Today the cotton fields have metamorphosed into high-tech buildings for NASA, the Army, science, engineering, and technology. But the pursuits of many are still the same: to find prosperity as they embrace the culture and sophistication of all that downtown Huntsville has to offer, from its society, symphony, and theatre to its museums and landscape.

And so it was that one day after a friend of mine had looked at the house on Gates but decided she wasn’t interested, I thought, “Well, maybe I should just go take a look.” It surely couldn’t hurt, and as much as I had admired the exterior, I had never been inside.

Stay tuned for the next chapter — what I found so intriguing about the house on Gates and what almost put a stop to the entire project.