Monday, September 29, 2014

Mapleton,…. Florence, AL,….

I have lived here for 50 plus years,…. yes I’m old, and had never seen this house that sits at 420 S. Pine Street in Florence. I had heard about Mapleton, but had never seen it. The location is kind of hidden with vegetation and magnolia trees throughout the property and also by a brick wall on the Pine Street side and the Limestone St front.
The house is near 185 years old and of course has much history to it. One site I went to for some info said the house was built near 1850. I believe this info to be incorrect as Harry Wallace said it was closer to the 1820’s or 30’s. Since the man is a walking encyclopedia, I’ll trust his knowledge. If you haven’t been on one of his tours at the Forks of Cypress, do so. I could listen to him talk and tell the stories all day long. He tells things in such a way that if you have to walk away, you’d want to press pause and not miss a word.
Mr. Wallace has been at the house doing the landscaping that the new owner is doing. Trying to stay true to the time period while doing so. Looking at the picture above, the two porches on the side of the main porch are gone. As is the building in the left side of the picture. A kitchen was added to the left side of the house and you can see the line in the brick mortar where the original part of the house was. The main porch in the middle now has one column on each side. I haven’t actually measured the column at the base, but it looks to be 30 inches wide or so and gets a little smaller in width as they go up. The boards making up the columns are 2 inches thick. So basically they are a 2x30 board. That came from a big big tree.
The house was built originally by a doctor (The original builder had a second cousin by the name of Mary Todd. Who later became Abraham Lincoln’s wife. ) and at that time one could see the river from the house. Of course the river was much different then as one could walk across it in places before the dam system was implemented. Actually, the house wasn’t even in the city limits at the time. The city limits stopped at the courthouse.As per Dr. Angelo Mancuso, the current owner, the house was once won in a card game and the winners daughter was about to get married so he gave the house to her. Doc believed the families last name was Irvine, but he wasn’t sure on this. Anyway, the family lived a few blocks north of Mapleton and the daughter got homesick from being so far away that she moved back home.
Later and during the Civil War, the McFarland’s owned the house and Union troops would stay there when passing through Florence. It is rumored that they even hide their horses in the basement. General McFarland was off to war at the time so the Union army took advantage of that. The house sits in McFarland Heights, named for the general as is the park near the river. I think this is the most fun I have ever had while working on a house outside. Well minus the mosquitos of course.
This is a cased opening that joins two rooms downstairs.

Planks floors that sound great when walking on them.

Front view of Mapleton,… you can see the porches gone from the original picture and the wide columns.

The fireplace now has gas logs. There is a fireplace in every room since that is how they heated in those days.


  1. Replies
    1. It really is and has so much potential. The owner was to turn it into an event center,.. weddings, reunions, etc.....
      The last owner just didn't do well with colors.

  2. I want that house! (of course, I want it fully restored and affordable!) What an interesting story. I had Harry Wallace for Alabama History in HS....GREAT teacher. He should be writing books. Maybe he already has? I think I'd buy one.

    Great post, OB!

    1. It comes complete with a ghost or two also. One is the ghost of Mrs. McFarland,... Yes he should be writing books, not sure if he has. Wish I had had him in school. I might have made a good grade in history!!

  3. Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters! (I ain't afraid of no ghost.)