Noel-Ramsey Home

Noel-Ramsey Home The Noel-Ramsey Home, also known as the “Old French House,” in Greensboro, Hale County, is the oldest extant home in Greensboro and perhaps one of the last surviving structures tied to the settlers of the Vine and Olive Colony from nearby Demopolis. Completed in 1821 by French immigrant Thomas Noel, the home was one of the first structures in what was then known as “Greensborough.” The two-story house was noted for its four end exterior chimneys, in addition to its hall-parlor plan, double full width portico, and bullseye trim, which were considered unusual elements compared to the traditional architecture in the area. It is a contributing structure to the Greensboro Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1976. It is currently owned and operated by the Hale County Historic Preservation Society.

The Noel-Ramsey Home was constructed circa 1821 by Thomas Noel, a former merchant and French Bonapartist from Port-au-Prince, Saint Domingue (now Haiti). In 1792, Noel fled the island with his family, as did many other French families, after the outbreak of an uprising by enslaved Africans in the French colony. The family settled in Norfolk, Virginia, along with his wife’s brother, Pierre Hurtel, and lived there until 1820, when they joined French immigrants who had been members of Vine and Olive Colony in Marengo County. The settlers established the town of Demopolis, but soon were informed that the city was outside of the lands granted for the colony and moved to a new site inland. After discovering that the land was not suited to the cultivation of olives and grapes, Noel and his family moved from Demopolis to nearby Greensborough (present-day Greensboro) and constructed the house. It now sits in a modest lot a block south of Greensboro’s commercial district.

Greensboro Opera House Eventually, the Noels and Hurtels moved to Mobile, Mobile County, and another French family, the Dormans, moved into the Noel home, prompting it to become known as the Noel-Dorman home. Over the years, the home had been purchased by various owners and today it is known as the “Noel-Ramsey Home.” It is currently owned and operated by the Historic Hale County Preservation Society.

The house is located at 909 Market St. at the intersection of South Street and Market Street near downtown Greensboro. As part of the Greensboro Historic District, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which locates the house at 700 Market Street and refers to it as the “French House.” Nearby are Magnolia Grove, the Greensboro Opera House, and the Safe House Black History Museum.

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