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What Is Burritt on the Mountain?

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  • Written By: L. Whitaker
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Burritt on the Mountain is the name of a historical complex in Huntsville, Alabama, that features an eclectic mansion donated to the city by Dr. William Henry Burritt upon his death in 1955. The mansion, which was insulated using 2,200 bales of straw, is constructed in a cross shape and showcases a variety of architectural styles from art deco to classical revival. Burritt on the Mountain also includes a park with several 19th century cabins and other structures. This site, which spans 167 acres (more than 675,825 square meters), features holiday offerings as well as frequent outdoor theater and music events.

The Burritt historic complex is located at the top of Round Top Mountain with a panoramic view of the city of Huntsville. Typically, the mansion, historic park, and other aspects of the site are year round. Burritt on the Mountain is closed for some holidays. Special annual holiday events include Candlelight Christmas and Holiday Magic, both in early December, plus an Easter egg hunt and parade on the day before Easter.

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This eclectic mansion estate was left to the city of Huntsville by Dr. Burritt in his will. This physician, collector, and amateur inventor requested that his home become a museum upon his death. The mansion that is currently available to tour is a 1938 replacement for the original structure, which burned down in 1931 immediately after its completion. Museum offerings at Burritt on the Mountain include personal items owned by Dr. Burritt in addition to rock and mineral collections, prehistoric artifacts, artwork by significant local artists, and antique furniture and silver.

A historical park is home to several reconstructed log homes dating to the 19th century, as well as smaller structures such as a corn crib. Costumed interpreters give daily demonstrations of period farming activities such as spinning, corn grinding, tending an herb garden, open hearth cooking, and blacksmithing. Many of the demonstrations allow hands-on participation for visitors.

Burritt on the Mountain also features four hiking trails that wind past an old coal mine, with one of the trails being accessible to people with mobility issues. Visitors can tour the gardens or interact with farm animals in the barnyard. Occasional educational programs are offered for adults on topics such as bird watching. The complex has a gift shop, picnic areas, and vending machines.

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