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George Franklin Barber Homes in Union Springs, Alabama

Friday, January 23, 2009

I got an email last week from Chris (hi Chris!) who enjoys the architecture of George Franklin Barber - he graduated college from Tennessee but lives up north now - and was wondering if I was going to be in Union Springs any time soon.  I wrote him back that I was going to be in Union Springs later that day just by coincidence, and he called me with the addresses of two homes there that were built with GFB plans (I told him I was doing this in spite of the fact he was a Vol!)!


I didn't know the *first* thing about George Franklin Barber before Chris told me about him - it turns out that GFB was an architect who wrote Victorian house plans (I guess just like today, how you can go into a bookstore and buy a magazine full of layouts) from the late 1800s to the very early 1900s.  

He's also credited with developing Queen Anne style of architecture and one way to help pick out his homes is the use of towers with "candle-snuffers" atop them, and turrets.  Those are visible on the two GFB homes in Union Springs:

This is the other GFB house that Chris gave me directions to.  When we pulled up outside, I noticed that there was someone on the side porch, so I got up and told them that I really loved the design of their house:

It turns out that this nice person didn't own the house, but rather it functions today as a group home.  I was graciously invited inside, and met several of the residents.

This home was incredible!  All the fantastic mouldings and woodwork - the mantles, the pocket doors - there were these gorgeous built-in china cabinets in the dining room too...

Everything about this home was just exquisite, and although there was some disrepair it was beautiful.  It reminded me a little of the Robert Polidori: Havana book that we have, where the homes in Cuba that were just decadent years and years ago today still have this very worn elegance...  

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