Sunday, September 19, 2010

Absolam Pratt House - 175 Years of Alabama History

As visitors turn off Alabama Highway 25 onto Furnace Parkway in Brierfield to visit Alabama's beautiful Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park, many notice the beautiful old antebellum home standing on the corner. It is the historic Absolam Pratt House.

Built in 1835 around a section of an even older home, the Pratt House has played a unique role in the history of the state. Absolam Pratt, the original owner of the house, operated an important ferry over the Cahaba River during the early years of settlement in the region west of Montevallo, and was active in the historic Shultz Creek Baptist Church.

His widow Mary was still living in the house and running the ferry when Wilson's Raiders stormed into the area during the closing days of the War Between the States. Legend holds that Mary Pratt was determined to do everything she could to help buy time for Confederates under General Nathan Bedford Forrest to organize a defense against the oncoming Federals, so she cut loose her own ferry. It was swept loose and destroyed by the river, preventing the Union soldiers from being able to use it to cross the Cahaba.

The house was moved about eight miles from its original location and restored in 1994. Although it is not open to the public daily, the grounds can be visited and visitors can enjoy historical markers and a closer look at the unique old home. To learn more, please visit