Old mansion in Alabama

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama
Date added: June 28, 2023 Categories: Alabama House Mansion
Front facade (1979)

The Brame House is one of the city's earlier examples of late 19th century Classical Revival and is associated with W. W. Brame, a prominent cotton broker. Brame's turn-of-the-century prosperity reflects the commercial basis of Montgomery's wealth. The structure is one of the few large, frame structures of its period still standing. The surrounding streets and avenues were once one of the city's finest residential neighborhoods, but proximity to the center of town has resulted in commercial encroachment. The structure occupies a strategic location on the corner of Scott and South Hull and the decision of the owners to restore it for commercial use, rather than raze it, generated similar plans for adjacent buildings.

Mrs. Margery Brame, wife of James Yancey Brame, purchased property on the corner of South Hull and South Alabama (now Scott) Street in 1862 from Charles G. Gunter. Mr. Brame, who had been sheriff of Montgomery County from 1855-1861, was a relative of the famed southern orator William L. Yancey. At Mrs. Brame's death in 1866, her property was sold at public outcry in order to settle the estate, and her son, W. W. Brame, a cotton broker purchased the house which he promptly put in trust for the other heirs. In 1874, the heirs gave quit claim deeds to Mary Jane Brame, the wife of W. W., for the lot and a house which at that time faced Scott Street. In 1896, further quit claim deeds were given to Mrs. Brame. Both tax records and city directories indicate that the present house was built in about 1897. Assessments on Mrs. Brame's property jumped from $1800 in 1896 to $3,000 in 1897. The city directory does not show a house at the address in 1895, but the next available volume (1899) lists W. W. Brame at 402 South Hull.

Mary Jane Brame had, before marrying Brame, been married to a Hunter, and at her death, her children, Larry W. Hunter and Camilla Brame Cody inherited her property. In 1916, Hunter sold his interest in the Hull Street House to his half-sister, Mrs. John D. (Camilla) Cody. In 1943, the widowed Camilla sold the property to H. W. Jackson who in turn sold, in 1944, to Mrs. J. C. Brock whose daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Neal, owned and occupied the house in 1979.

Building Description

Facing East on the corner of Scott and South Hull Streets, the Brame House is located four blocks from the downtown business district. A large structure, it almost completely covers the lot on which it stands.

The irregularly massed house, covered by narrow lapped siding, embodies Neo-classical details. Four fluted Corinthian columns support a full entablature with a dentiled and modillioned cornice above which rises a segmented hipped roof. A central balcony with a dentil course and a fretwork balustrade spans the space between the two central columns. The main body of the house is flanked by one-story sunporches. The southern porch which has been entirely enclosed from the inside (leaving the multi-paned windows visible from the exterior) is finished with a cornice similar to that of the main block, and is extended to form the roof of a porte-cochere which is supported by Corinthian colonnettes on brick piers. The northern porch windows have been replaced with glass louvers. The building rests on a full basement which contains three modern apartments.

The double front door has beveled glass lights and wood surrounds and is topped by a rectangular transom divided into small lights. The door is framed with Corinthian columns supporting a full entablature with a heavy dentil course. The central entrance is flanked by French doors, two on the north and one on the south. These doors have simple enframements and transoms similar to the front door. A single transomed door leads onto the balcony. Windows are irregularly spaced and have 12/12 and 1/1 lights. One small stained glass window is located on the north side of the house, corresponding to an inside bathroom.

The interior has been altered to accommodate its use as apartments. The ground floor has kept much of its original plan although an interior staircase has been enclosed. Exposed beams and a high plate rail adorn the large living and dining rooms in which there are tile fireplaces set off by Corinthian columns. There are three sets of French doors with sidelights and transoms on the interior. Other elements are narrow-planked hardwood floors, reeded windows and door surrounds with corniced architraves and reeded one-foot high baseboards, Some of the light fixtures are original. The door hardware is original, and the door knobs are crystal. The house contains eleven bedrooms and eight bathrooms.

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Front facade (1979)
Front facade (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Close-up of facade (1979)
Close-up of facade (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama View facing north on Hull (1979)
View facing north on Hull (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Detail of portico (1979)
Detail of portico (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Side porte-cochere (1979)
Side porte-cochere (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Detail of front door (1979)
Detail of front door (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Mantel (1979)
Mantel (1979)

Brame House, Montgomery Alabama Beamed ceiling and lighting fixture (1979)
Beamed ceiling and lighting fixture (1979)