Sturdivant Hall

713 Mabry Street, parking lot off Union Street

c. 1853

Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Grand. Magnificent. Elegant. All describe Sturdivant Hall which has been called “The finest Greek revival neo-classic antebellum mansion in the Southeast”. It offers opulence, hospitality and haunting.

>This magnificent mansion with its six front Corinthian columns, imported Italian marble and quiet Southern grace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the epitome of the South’s golden age.  The grand house personifies elegance and is an immediate indicator of the affluence of its past owners.  High ceilings, elaborate moldings and stairways exemplify the classical architectural ideals.  Heart pine floors, delicately detailed marble fireplaces and servant call bells are a few of the home’s interesting features.

The South is rife with ghostly legends and Selma is no exception.  Built in 1852 and designed by architect Thomas Helm Lee, the Edward Watts family was its first owner.  Eleven years later, it was sold to Selma banker John Parkman. The bank engaged in cotton speculation and lost funds, and Parkman was placed under federal arrest. He was taken to Cahawba, confined to the Castle Morgan prison, then presumed drowned in the Alabama River after he tried to escape. Parkman vowed he would never leave his beloved home–many claim he has stayed true to his word.  Museum staff and visitors have witnessed strange happenings at Sturdivant Hall including howling winds, sightings of an ethereal male figure, objects moving on their own, footsteps creaking upstairs, doors opening and closing without explanation.  Parkman’s two little girls have been seen looking out an upstairs window.  The mischievous girls have made their presence known in their bedroom too.  Toys and clothes are sometimes strewn about as if children had been playing.

After Parkman’s death, the home was sold to Emile Gillman, a prominent merchant and landowner, and in 1957, it was purchased by the city of Selma. Robert Daniel Sturdivant left many valuable antiques to the mansion, provided it was established as a public museum.  Antiques at Sturdivant Hall include a rare clock made to commemorate the inauguration of George Washington and a collection of furnishings donated by the Sturdivant family, porcelain and doll collections, as well as an impressive collection of art by Selma native Clara Weaver Parrish.

Just outside the back door you will find formal gardens planted with native flowers and shrubs as well as the original outbuildings that housed the kitchen, servant quarters and carriages.  The Sturdivant Gift Shop is located in what was once a detached kitchen/cook’s quarters for the house. It offers a unique shopping environment, with a wide variety of items to choose from. You won’t want to miss stopping and shopping in this very special spot. The upstairs level of the kitchen/cook’s quarters are used as an apartment and are currently under renovation.

Guided tours start from the front foyer.