Downtown/Five Points Real Estate
Historic Homes in Downtown Huntsville
Huntsville has three historic districts and more historic homes than any other city in Alabama.
Old Town, Twickenham, and Five Points make up the historic districts of Huntsville. Georgian estates, stately Victorians, and craftsman style bungalows recall a time of days gone by.
Twickenham Historic District was the first historic district designated in Huntsville, Alabama. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1973. The name derives from an early name for the town of Huntsville, named after Twickenham, England by LeRoy Pope. It features homes in the Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles introduced to the city by Virginia-born architect George Steele about 1818, and contains the most dense concentration of antebellum homes in Alabama. The 1819 Weeden House Museum, home of female artist and poet Maria Howard Weeden, is open to the public, as are several others in the district.
Old Town Historic District was the second historic district in Huntsville, Alabama. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 18, 1978. Roughly bounded by Dement and Lincoln Sts., and Randolph and Walker Aves., It features homes in a variety of styles including Victorian, Federal, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, American Craftsman, and even Prairie School with homes dating from the late 1820s through the early 1900s.
The Old Town Historic District had its beginnings in 1973, when local architect Harvie Jones suggested to home owners Charles E. and Frances J. Rice that they create another district to include the 19th century homes that remained outside of the Twickenham Historic District. The Rices accordingly began obtaining the necessary petitions and documents to gain first local, then state and finally national recognition for the Old Town Historic District. They were supported in their efforts by then Huntsville mayor Joe W. Davis, Madison County Commissioner Tilman Hill, and Alabama U. S. Senator John Sparkman. The Rices were later honored by the Alabama Historical Commission for their contributions to historic preservation, and in 2009 a small park in Old Town was named after them
The Old Town Historic District of Huntsville, Alabama has been a residential area since the 1820’s. Leroy Pope, John Brahan and Samuel Adams were the original developers of the area. When Huntsville (original name Twickenham) was founded in 1805, Leroy Pope named the city after an English town, the hereditary home of his family.
Fueled by the war of 1812, anti-English sentiment prevailed and the city was renamed after the first settler, John Hunt. The first two residential areas were: Twickenham -1805 ca. and Old Town 1820 ca. Old Town consists of approx. 262 houses built between 1820’s and 1940’s, with the majority built in the last half of the 19thcentury. There are 125 Victorian Homes, 44 Colonial/Greek Revival, 72 Arts and Crafts as well as Federal, Art Deco and Spanish styles.
The first residents of Old Town were merchants, tradesmen and workers in the various businesses that were established around the town square. The early denizens of Old Town were part of the societal revolution which was changing America, from an agrigarian-based to an industrial/service society. The residents were full time citizens of the city, making their living in the town. The lots and houses in Old Town were smaller than that of the first residences, reflecting the fact that times were changing. They would walk to the town square and buy the essentials, instead of making or growing them.
Old Town is still a walking neighborhood. You will see residents walking to grocery stores, entertainment venues and restaurants .The abundant pecan trees scattered throughout the district is testament to the fact that Old Town was built in an old growth pecan orchard.
Historic Districts are good investments.
Home owners have seen their property values rise faster than anywhere in Alabama, except the Gulf Coast (that may have changed since the hurricanes). Average prices for Old Town homes are continuing to rise. The reason is two-fold:
- The Historical Committee that oversees all building permits must make sure that the character or “street scenes” of the neighborhood remain as they are. If 25, 50 or 100 years from now, someone is walking down one of the streets in Old Town-it will look as it is today. By enforcing these concepts-property owners can rest assure that the front porches, quaint sidewalks and landscaping remain constant.
- Supply and demand. Simple as that.
Five Points is Huntsville’s newest Historic Preservation District, established in 1999. Initially part of the 1892 East Huntsville Addition, it developed slowly over the course of a century. This neighborhood’s significance lies in its illustration of the evolution of middle-class housing in 20th century Huntsville, rather than a concentration of one period. The dwellings include a collection of modest one and two-story vernacular Victorian homes, a variety of Bungalows that experienced great popularity in the 1920’s and 30’s, modest Cape Cods, which were then succeeded by the Ranch style, which was so fashionable in the 50’s and 60’s.
Old Town, Twickenham, and Five Points are moments from the cultural centers of Huntsville including The Huntsville Museum of Art, The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, The Huntsville Ballet, Earlyworks Museum, and numerous local theater productions. The Medical District is walking distance to Big Spring Park, which is the venue for weekly concerts in the park, movies, and Panoply the local arts festival. The lively Downtown restaurant scene is also minutes away.
Commute times from The Historic Districts:
Huntsville International Airport – 20 minutes
Research Park – 15 minutes
Huntsville Hospital – less than 5 minutes
Redstone Arsenal – 15 minutes
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