Fendall Hall

Completed in 1860, Fendall Hall is a house museum in Eufaula operated by the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC). It is recognized as one of Alabama's most outstanding examples of residential Italianate architecture, and the interior chronicles the story of its prominent residents, the Young family, and Eufaula's rise as an important river trading center. The first use of the name "Fendall Hall" for the property appears to have been in the 1940s by a granddaughter of the builders; before, it had been known simply as "the house on the hill."

Fendall Hall The home's builder, Edward Young, was a native of New York who moved to Eufaula from Georgia with his wife, Ann Fendall Beall Young, in 1837. Young quickly rose to become among the city's most prominent businessmen; his numerous enterprises included organizing the company that built Eufaula's first bridge across the Chattahoochee River (the construction of which was supervised by well-known enslaved bridge-builder Horace King). Young assembled the materials for the construction of Fendall Hall over a period of years and began construction on the home around 1856. He is believed to have engaged local architect George Whipple for its construction and relied on the labor of hired skilled slaves for much of the architectural detail work. He completed the home in 1860. During the Civil War, the home was used as a temporary hospital for men wounded in the fighting around Atlanta.

The house possesses notable hallmark features of the Italianate style, which was quite popular across the South at the time. The exterior features wide, overhanging eaves and a deep, spacious porch fronted by pairs of small columns, and the structure is topped with a cupola surrounded by an ornate balustrade. The entrance hall floor is black and white imported marble tiles, and sliding pocket doors containing etched glass separate the parlors. Fendall Hall's most striking interior features are the notable and elaborate wall and ceiling murals in the entrance hall, parlor, and dining room.

Fendall Hall Interior The home was on the cutting edge of domestic technology at the time of its completion. The second floor contains an ornamental medallion ceiling grille allowing airflow to the cupola via the attic, which facilitated cooling ventilation. In addition, the house was designed with an indoor plumbing system—among the first in Alabama—that later owners fed with an attic cistern filled with water from a windmill-operated well. The house's large landscaped yard occupies only a portion of the original ten-acre lot atop "College Hill," overlooking downtown Eufaula, on which it sits. A detached kitchen, storeroom, and other support structures no longer exist.

After Young's death in 1879, his daughter Anna and son-in-law Stouten Hubert Dent, who commanded a battery of artillery in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, took possession of Fendall Hall. The Dents conducted major renovations on the home during their occupancy. Members of the Young family continued to reside in Fendall Hall until 1973, when AHC purchased it in order to preserve it as a house museum. After a multiyear renovation effort, completed in 1999, the interior was restored it to its 1880-1916 occupation appearance. Throughout, Fendall Hall contains many original furnishings and family heirlooms.

Fendall Hall welcomes thousands of guests annually and is an important community and educational center for the city of Eufaula and a popular stop on the Eufaula Pilgrimage. Fendall Hall hosts tours, day camps, book signings, and lectures throughout the year.

Further Reading

  • Flewellen, Robert H. Along Broad Street: A History of Eufaula, Alabama, 1823-1984. Eufaula: City of Eufaula, 1991.

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