On Monday the state workers and others will have a holiday including those who work at the First White House of the Confederacy because we take the same holidays as the State.
On Tuesday however when we reopen, the public is invited as always to enjoy a self-guided tour of the FWH. Few people know until they visit that the FWH now located at 644 Washington Avenue was one of Montgomery’s first great preservation projects. William Sayre, ancestor of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, had the house built in the 1830’s at the corner of Bibb and Lee streets.
Davis and his family lived in the house from February to May 1861. At the time the house was well located but what was considered a good location in the 1860’s did not seem so by the early 1900’s. Not only had the house fallen into disrepair but so had most of the houses surrounding it. Adjourning properties were being torn down and some feared the same fate awaited the historic house in which the Davis’s had lived.
With the help of Governor Kilby the Legislature approved $25,000 to help the White House Association to have the FWH taken apart, moved and reassembled at its current location. Thus began one of the first of the city’s preservation projects, and aren’t we glad! What a tragedy it would have been if this wonderful House Museum had not survived, as so many fine homes and businesses did not. Thanks to Landmarks Inc. and Jimmy Loeb and Mary Ann Neeley, many have been, especially in the late 20th century. Sad to say, my Grandparents’ home on Court Street was a victim of the “Interstate”.