Shirley Place, 512 MainAvenue, Northport



Shirley Place, 512 MainAvenue, Northport


Houses and homes
Historic house museums


James Shirley (1809-1866), an early Northport pioneer settler from South Carolina, built the house of brick about 1840. Shirley also built the first brick commercial buildings in Northport in 1850, after a fire burned the entire district. One of the buildings is still standing and presently, in 2013, houses Kelley's 5- and 10-cent Store at 412 Main Avenue.

At the death of Shirley and his wife, the house became the property of William Lewis Christian, brother of James Shirley's wife. William L. Christian (1824-1899) operated a Northport hat factory which was burned by General John Croxton in April 1865. William L. Christian served in the Confederate Army and after the Civil War became a merchant. His descendants have continued serving Northport and Tuscaloosa County as leading merchants and outstanding citizens.

James Christian (1796-1852), father of William L. Christian, was a veteran of the War of 1812.

Many of the original doors, locks and fireplaces of the house are still in use. The bricks, which have never been painted, are slave-made and are unusually large in size. The house is a raised Creole cottage in the Greek Revival style with curving steps leading from the ground to the second floor. White Ionic columns support the roof and beams in the downstairs are are exposed, showing wood peg construction. In 1978, the home was owned and occupied by the George W. Christian family.

("Past Horizons," Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, 1978)

Marvin Harper owned the house after the Christian family, and upon his death, the house became the property of the city of Northport and is maintained as a local attraction open for tours.


Tuscaloosa News Archive


May 1, 2009


Betty Slowe (Description)


The Tuscaloosa News






Northport (AL)

Original Format


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