Parker Reynolds House, Anniston Alabama
The Parker-Reynolds house is the finest of the mansions surviving from the late-19th century boom which thrust Anniston into prominence as one of Alabama's largest cities, second in its industrial importance only to Birmingham. The house is also a rare and early example in the state of the so-called "Chateauesque style" popularized, in the Northeast especially, by Richard Morris Hunt. The opulence of the dwelling suggests the wealth and power commanded by the entrepreneurs who were initially drawn to Anniston by the community's potential as a manufacturing and industrial center.
The house was commissioned by Duncan T. Parker, who came to Anniston from Mobile in the early 1880's as one of the select business partners of the Noble and Tyler families, the founders of the closed industrial community. Parker headed the Anniston Land and Improvement Company, and was also president of the First National Bank. In addition, he was a pivotal figure in the organization of the municipal gasworks, the water company, several local industries, and in 1887 the Anniston and Cincinnati Railroad Company. Tradition holds that the craftsmen employed in the construction of Parker's mansion were the same ones responsible for the extraordinarily fine workmanship still to be seen in a number of contemporary public structures, most notably the Church of St. Michael and All Angels.
Parker, however, was destined to occupy the house only a short time. In the spring of 1889 he lost both his wife and son to pneumonia. Some months later, Parker left Anniston for New York, where he too died in March of 1890. The following December, the Atlanta-based Southern Architect reported that Anniston's "D. T. Parker house," which the journal described as "by far the finest in the city," had been sold to "O.M. Reynolds." The son of a prominent Talladega County planter, Oliver Mallory Reynolds was a State legislator and sometime Postmaster of Anniston. His descendants occupied the house until the mid-20th century.