F. M. Douglass House (Camellia House)

Camellia House The Camellia House, formerly the F. M. Douglass House, in Luverne, Crenshaw County, is a historic home that was built by local businessman Frazier M. Douglass in 1904. It was reportedly the first home in Alabama to employ whole-house heating using a coal-burning furnace. The home remained in the Douglass family through the 1990s. In 1995, the Alabama Historical Commission placed the home on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. It went through several owners before it was subsequently restored and converted into a bed and breakfast.

In 1904, industrialist Frazier M. Douglass moved the Douglass Oil Mill that processed cottonseed oil from Alexander City, Tallapoosa County, to Luverne. Not long after, he completed construction on a nearby two-story home for himself and his family that became known as the F. M. Douglass House. The new home was built in the Queen Anne Victorian style and was almost an exact replicate of his home in Alexander City, except that it was only two stories instead of three. The first floor of the Douglass house included an entrance hall, library, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms with individual baths, a parlor, a living room, and a windowed sunroom with a gazebo top on the front porch. The second floor included five bedrooms, one bathroom, and a tower room. The home was most noted for being the first in the state to have whole-house heating through the use of a large coal-burning furnace underneath the home.

The Douglass Oil Mill closed in the early 1930s and Douglass died unexpectedly in 1937 from injuries sustained while attempting to move the boiler from the mill. His widow, Georgia Emma Douglass, continued to live in the home and was soon joined by her daughter Lila Douglass Fundaburk and her new husband, Albert D. Fundaburk. After Georgia Emma Douglass died in the 1940s, members of the Douglass family continued to live in the home until the 1990s. In June 1995, the F. M. Douglass home was entered into the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage by the Alabama Historical Commission. In 1998, Douglass granddaughter, Emma Lila Fundaburk, sold the home to Alys Hayden, who had hoped to restore it and convert it into a bed and breakfast. Hayden was transferred by her to job to northern Alabama in 2002, however, and the following year, she sold the home to Kathy and Timothy Dowdy. The Dowdys remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms and added a complete bath upstairs and a powder room downstairs. The home then officially became a bed and breakfast and was renamed the "Camellia House."

The Camellia House has four guest rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, and a large wrap-around porch. In 2016, the Dowdys added a carriage house that contains two bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, and a living room with an efficiency kitchen. The carriage house also has a large porch and an access ramp designed for use by long-term guests as well as overnight guests, based upon availability. The Camellia House also has meeting rooms available for parties and small group seminars. It is located at 350 Forest Avenue, also known as State Highway 331.

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