The Oldest House in Alabama Is More than 200 Years Old

The Joel Eddins House is the oldest documented building in Alabama.
© Morningmurk / CC BY-SA 4.0

Written by Mike Edmisten

Updated: August 23, 2023

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The Joel Eddins House is the Oldest House in Alabama
The Joel Eddins House is just one part of the Burrit on the Mountain living history experience!

Alabama was granted statehood on December 14, 1819, making it the 22nd state in the United States. However, the oldest building still in existence in Alabama was constructed more than a decade before the Alabama territory would become a state. This house has been moved from its original location, but it still stands strong today.

The Joel Eddins House was built between 1808 and 1810. There is a bit of discrepancy regarding the exact date, but it is universally accepted that the house was constructed in the two-year window of 1808-1810.

Joel Eddins was a settler from Abbeville County, South Carolina. He built the now-famous house near present-day Ardmore in Limestone County, Alabama. Limestone County is in the northernmost reaches of the state, located on the border of Alabama and Tennessee. Little is known about Eddins, other than his master craftsmanship. He built a cabin that has stood for well over 200 years.

flag of Alabama

Alabama joined the Union in 1819. By that point, the Joel Eddins House was already about ten years old!

©Mel Mansour/Shutterstock.com

The Joel Eddins House

This log home is built in a hall-and-parlor style, which was fairly common in the colonial-era homes of the eastern/southeastern United States. It was a traditional British style of home that was adopted by early American colonists and settlers. The main entry opens into the larger “hall” room. The room contains a fireplace as well as a door to the “parlor.” The parlor features another fireplace and a staircase which leads to the upper rooms. 

The exterior of the house is constructed of solid chinked logs. The saw markings in the house’s sashes and frames, along with the wrought hand-hammered rosewood nails, were popular construction technologies in the 19th century. The home sits on stone piers and features two stone-clad brick chimneys. 

An addition was built in the 1930s to the rear of the house, which wrapped around part of the east side. This addition contained a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. While the original 19th-century structure still exists, that 20th-century addition to the house does not.

Widely accepted as the oldest house in Alabama, the Joel Eddins House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The Joel Eddins House is the oldest documented building in Alabama.

The Joel Eddins House was built between 1808 and 1810 in Limestone County, Alabama.

©Morningmurk / CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

An Old House Makes a New Move

The house was moved from its original location in Ardmore to Burritt on the Mountain, where it stands today.

Burritt on the Mountain is a living history site and museum situated on Round Top Mountain overlooking the city of Huntsville. The site features the 1938 mansion of Dr. William Henry Burritt. The mansion is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Burritt was an eccentric and unique individual. A doctor of homeopathic medicine, he also managed farming, logging, and mining operations. His work in rubber production earned 22 patents for various tire inventions. After the death of his wife, he moved to Huntsville and built his mansion on the 167-acre complex that would become Burritt on the Mountain. Along with building his mansion, he also started a farm. He was particularly interested in raising goats.

Dr. Burritt had no heirs. Instead, he willed his mansion and all his property to the city of Huntsville for the creation of a museum. 

Make sure to add Burritt on the Mountain to your agenda when visiting beautiful Huntsville, Alabama.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Where is the Oldest House in Alabama Located on a Map?

The oldest house in Alabama can be seen at Burritt on the Mountain, an eclectic museum and park located in the city of Huntsville. Huntsville is in northeast Alabama, close to the Tennessee border.

Burritt on the Mountain

Along with the Burritt mansion, visitors to the museum can explore six 19th-century homes, including the Joel Eddins House. 

Guests can also visit a blacksmith shop, a church built in 1884, a barn from 1890, and assorted other outbuildings. Museum docents in authentic garb are on hand to answer questions, provide tours, and demonstrate what life was like on a farm in the 1800s.

Along with the mansion and the 19th-century buildings, guests can also hike various nature trails. These trails feature lovely wildflowers in the spring and vivid mountain foliage in the fall. 

The Joel Eddins House was added to the collection of 19th-century homes at Burritt on the Mountain in 2007. The home was painstakingly pulled apart piece by piece in preparation for its approximately 30-mile move southward on Alabama Route 53. Once at its new home on Round Top Mountain, the home was reassembled using every original piece possible. As noted above, the 1930s renovation was demolished and was not moved with the original structure to Burritt on the Mountain. 

Burritt on the Mountain, a living museum and historic park, Huntsville, Alabama

Visitors can tour Dr. Burritt’s mansion at the Burritt on the Mountain Museum and historic park.

©Carol M. Highsmith / Public domain – Original / License


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About the Author

Mike is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on geography, agriculture, and marine life. A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University and a resident of Cincinnati, OH, Mike is deeply passionate about the natural world. In his free time, he, his wife, and their two sons love the outdoors, especially camping and exploring US National Parks.

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