Harris Home

"Liberty Hall"
Circa 1854
Located in Possum Bend, Alabama.

John Robert McDowell built his home of sturdy heart pine timbers cut from plantation lands and bricks baked in a kiln near the construction site. The year was 1845 when the McDowells moved into the mansion, which a daughter-in-law, Julia Tait McDowell, was to call "Liberty Hall".   Julia originated the name to signify the open house of hospitality of the McDowell family.

After 132 years of continual ownership by the McDowell family, a great-great granddaughter of John Robert, Lt. Colonel retired U. S. Air Force, Ms. Sara N. Harris, is the present owner.

With Its two round and two square columns, Liberty Hall is a strikingly individual example of antebellum architecture. The central columns are of the Ionic order, which is unusual in Wilcox Plantation homes. The floor plan consists of broad ball separating four large, equally proportioned rooms on both levels. The lower level formal rooms and hall have plaster cornices with a hollow frieze of adapted fleur-de-lis and fretwork. 

The pattern of the cornice is said to follow a pattern designed by the first mistress of the house, Harriet McDowell.  A plaster medallion in the center of the parlor ceiling was also designed by Mrs. McDowell. Full French windows open from the parlor onto the large veranda. The dining room, the largest room in the home, is separated from the main body of the house by an open gallery. 

Original furnishings, including a mahogany sideboard from which Lafayette, is said to have accepted wine during his farewell tour of America, family portraits and other heirlooms are found throughout the home.