Historic Structures

Building Description Cherokee Plantation, Fort Payne Alabama

Cherokee Plantation today is a two-story Greek revival home. The foundation consists of two types: the older portion (the portion containing the log cabin within the walls) consists of stacked stones laid flat on the ground with oak seal beams measuring 12' x 16' by the full length of the cabin and are hand hewed with square corners. The cross beams are pine logs with the bark still in place. Under the rest of the house the foundation consists of stacked stones laid flat on the ground with a 10" x 12" seal beam of hand-hewed oak and 3" x 10" floor joist. The house is built close to the ground with a crawl space averaging 12" x 24" with the exception of one small root cellar measuring 10' x 12' with a 6' ceiling.

In the older portion of the house the log cabin remains standing with exterior weather stripping nailed directly onto the logs and interior beaded pine paneling also nailed directly to the logs. The remainder of the house consists of 2 x 4 heart pine studs running one floor high with a double seal plate at each floor level. The wall studs are set on approximately 2' centers.

The exterior wall is wood weather board. There is a 1" x 10" board with a drip rail on top of it which covers each of the exterior seal beams. A similar 1" x 10" board is just below the cornice of the roof. The cornice is sealed and has decorative molding where it joins the roof and also where it joins the wall.

There are four porches attached to the house, the largest being the front porch which is of poured concrete, the support for the porch being closed-in brick. It is covered by a large gabled roof supported by four unfluted columns 2' wide at the base and 18' tall, each sitting on a 2' x 2 1 x 2' brick base. The front porch is located on the east wall center of the house. A second porch is located on the north wall of the house and leads from the center of the living room by way of two glass panel French doors. It has a small hip roof attached to the house with no column support. The floor is poured concrete with laid brick supports from the ground. A back porch is located on the west side of the house. It has a shed-type roof supported by 3 rectangular wooden columns. It's floored by tongue and groove 1" x 5" heart pine lumber and the porch support is laid brick. A fourth porch which is enclosed is found on the south side of the house. It has wooden floor which has been covered by linoleum tile and the enclosure is of wood weather board. It has a hip roof.

The first floor contains 19 windows and 7 doors (two being a set of French doors, and two being a set of sliding glass doors). The second floor contains 18 windows and 2 exterior doors.

The roof is of a hip roof with one gable end and is covered with asphalt shingles. Below the asphalt shingles are found wooden shingles of sawed pine.

There are four chimneys, all interior. Three of the chimneys were originally built as interior chimneys, the fourth being an exterior which has; been enclosed In a recent addition. All are made of red brick. Two chimneys contain a fireplace on the first floor and second floor each; one chimney contains two first-floor fireplaces., and one chimney contains one first-floor fireplace. Three of the chimneys have no coverings over the top but merely open directly to the sky with three layers of stepout brick work culminating in the top layer. One chimney which was added in 1890 has a brick arch over the top of the chimney to prevent rainfall from entering with each open side enclosed with screen mesh.

The main entrance has a single door with 15 cut-glass panes and side lights of 10 cutglass panes each. The main entrance is located in the front center of the house with a small second-floor balcony over it.

A small 36" wide entrance is above the main entrance on the second floor level which has two French doors of 10 panes each. To the northeast wall of the living room is a second set of French doors on the first floor level with 15 panes each of plain glass. As a small roof over the entrance measuring 3' x 5'. A fourth exterior entrance is located to the southwest corner of the house and consists of an enclosed porch with a late model wrought-iron door with plexaglass full length and an exterior house door opening onto the enclosed porch from the kitchen consisting of a wooden door with two vertical glass panels with round tops extending in the upper half of the door. To the north of the house are two other doors both of new construction, one being 8' wide wooden sliding glass door and a second of 15 panes exterior wooden door with solid glass transom and side light.

All windows in older part of the house are double hung with two vertical panes in each sash. The tram around all windows on the exterior is 1" x 6" mill work. The new portion of the house, which is located on the second floor of the rear,contains new manufactured double-hung insulated windows, each sash with one large single pane. All older style windows are the same in the first and second.

There are 7 fireplaces in the home: The living room contains a wooden mantle painted white with two small columns to the right and left of the fire box. The den contains a cut-stone fireplace, the right side being a mirror image of the left with a cut keystone and the large stone mantle. The dining room contains a wooden mantle painted white of a simple design with vertical trim to the right and left of the box matching the door and window trim. The study contains a wooden mantle painted white with a simple design of vertical trim to the right and left of the box matching the door and window trim. The north bedroom contains a wooden mantle painted with a simple design of vertical trim to the right and left of the box matching the door and window trim. The south bedroom contains a wooden mantle painted white with simple design of vertical trim to the right and left of the box matching the door and window trim. The kitchen contains a large 6' 6" brick fireplace with a mantle consisting of an 8" x 8" hewed pine log 15' long set on brick of the firebox.

All interior door and window trim is of the same design which consists of a bevelled and lathe cut millwork with corner roses and base blocks for the doors. All doors and windows match upstairs and downstairs.

There is one stairway in the house which is located in the front center section foyer which the main entrance opens into. The stairway is in a square U-shape curving to the left on three levels with small landing platforms at each upper corner. A small stairway curves to the right from the first landing and gives you access to the back part of the house. The stairs are of closed string-type and the banisters are turned and painted white. The only decorative feature consists of large 5" square posts with balls on top at each of the corners of the stairs and a small decorative turnknob hanging from the underside of the stairs at the corner.

The entrance foyer and dining room are of similar design with wainscoting cutting painted white and wallpaper above the chair rail. In the foyer, sheetrock has been added above the chair rail and painted. The living room consists of pine boards running horizontally with canvas and wallpaper over them. The den consists of 10' exterior siding stained walnut. The study consists of pine boards running horizontally with canvas and wallpaper over them. The bar consists of oak wainscoting stained walnut with sheetrock over beaded pine above the chair rail. The kitchen consists of hand hewed oak and heart pine logs laid in a log cabin fashion with clay from Manitou Cave used as dinking. Three of the bedrooms on the second floor consist of the same type of construction as the living room. Two more bedrooms on the second floor level are of new construction and are of sheetrock, one with a single chair rail, the other plain with wallpaper. The upstairs hall is sheetrock over beaded pine and painted. The ceilings are of two designs, one being hand plastered over sheetrock and the other being canvas and ceiling paper over beaded pine.

One bedroom upstairs has 2" wide tongue and groove pine floor; the kitchen has 4" and 5" tongue groove hard pine flooring; the new section of the house on the second floor level has 4" wide old maple flooring tongue and groove and the remainder of the house has 2" wide tongue and groove oak.

There are no original lighting fixtures in the house; all have been replaced with period fixtures of modern manufacture. The first-floor doorknobs are solid brass 2" round knobs with mortise locks which are of brass construction. Each doorknob has a plain brass rose and key emblem in the oval configuration. Two new doors to the rear of the house have modern style doorknobs with key lock. The second-floor doorknobs are the same configuration of the downstairs; however, instead of the round brass knobs they are crystal knobs with a flat front surface and brass trim similar to the downstairs. All hinges are 2" brass construction with no ornamentation.

The original house was a two-story log cabin measuring 18' x 24'. By 1834 a second log cabin had been added to the northeast end of the original cabin with a 10' wide two-story dog trot in between and a third cabin had been-constructed to the back (north side) of the house and connected directly to the original log cabin. By 1890 the original log cabin remained; however, the two additions had been removed and new construction using sawmill cut 2 x 4's replaced the removed log cabins and the entire house was covered in lap board siding giving you a plain two-story house 58' across the front and 18' deep with a single-story addition coming off the back of one-story design which was 15' wide and 40' deep. At this point the house was in a L shape. In 1890 the Godfreys added a small section at the rear of the front right wing of the house which was to add the present den on the first floor and bedroom on the second level. A small back porch was also added along the northeast side of the one-story wing. In the 1930s the Kershaw family totally renovated the house leveling the floors, adding the bay window off of the dining room and replacing all windows. In 1979 the Brewer family made the house square adding a single room to the downstairs closing the L into a box and adding a second floor level over the previous one-floor addition, making the house 58' x 58', two-story. The new addition comprises approximately 1600 square feet and the roof design is similar to the original.

The house sits on 16 acres of land and is in the approximate center of the land on the crest of a small hill. There is a large black Spanish oak in the immediate front of the house and to the front left of the house is the Alabama State Champion sugar maple tree. The entire property having been in pasture land for almost 200 years, it contains many extremely large hickory, black walnut, and oak trees. There is a small lake and spring at the foot of the hill at the northeast side of the property. The original landscaping consisted of nothing, but in the 1920s boxwoods were added to the front of the house. A boxwood garden opening off the French doors of the living room has been planted. A New Orleans-style courtyard has been constructed of brick around a large box elder tree in the immediate rear of the house and landscaped with azaleas. The driveway to the house is on the old Ross' Landing Road which continues across the front of the property and was used originally as the Trail of Tears from the Fort Payne Stockade in 1838.