What Is Bluff Hall?

Britt Archer

Bluff Hall is an antebellum mansion that was converted into a museum, and visitors can enter its halls and rooms to see how life was lived in the southern state of Alabama in approximately 1850. The mansion was constructed in 1832 overlooking the limestone White Bluff in the city of Demopolis. Allen Glover, one of the city’s founders and the son of a Revolutionary War commander from South Carolina, ordered the house built for one of his daughters and her husband. The house museum sits on land that was originally purchased by Allen Glover’s son-in-law, Francis Lyon, and contains examples of period clothing as well as furnishings from the Victorian and Empire eras.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The museum, which also showcases local history artifacts, was used by the family as its townhouse in the 1800s, when it sported solely Federal architectural details. Modifications ensued by the mid-1800s, with Greek Revival details such as a columned portico. The renovation also added a wing to the structure’s front and a rear gallery. In 1970, Bluff Hall, which sits high above the Tombigbee River, was honored with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mansion on North Commissioners Avenue sports half a dozen columns, each two stories high, and the building is made of brick and stucco. Two more columns sit inside, in the double parlor. This mansion inspired a native of Demopolis, writer Lillian Hellman, who used it as a setting for one of her plays. Visitors to Bluff Hall may enjoy its period herb garden as well as its kitchen, which includes period kitchen implements. The house museum also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs.

Bluff Hall is just one of many historic attractions in Demopolis. Nearby historic homes include Gaineswood, another Greek Revival National Historic Landmark that was built by a cotton planter in 1834. Lyon Hall is another Greek Revival structure, built by George Gaines Lyon, the nephew of Allen Glover’s son-in-law, Francis Lyon. Lyon Hall, on South Main Street, was completed in 1853 and sports half a dozen front columns, the same number as Bluff Hall. In another similarity to Bluff Hall, it is made of brick and finished in stucco. Both Lyon Hall and Bluff Hall have been included in the Historic American Buildings Survey.

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