The great-grandmother of all nonprofit preservationist organizations is the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union. The MVLA created the concept in historical preservation that would last for generations. Mount Vernon was Washington’s home, not a museum of American history, not a monument to a revolution, not a showplace to be exploited for profit, but a shrine to the Father of our Country.
The concept of preserving homes to honor great Americans became the pattern for other nineteenth-century organizations: most notably, The Ladies Hermitage Association, chartered February 19,1889 to preserve Andrew Jackson’s home in Tennessee; The Confederate Memorial Literary Society, chartered May 31, 1890 to preserve the second White House in Richmond, and the White House Association of Alabama, founded in 1900 in Montgomery to preserve the First White House
It was then that twenty-seven ladies gathered at the home of Mrs. Clifford Lanier to elect officers. It was the following summer, 1901 when the members decorated the house with bunting and invited the legislators in order to get the funding they needed.
Help came at last in the form of a sympathetic governor, Thomas E. Kilby who signed a bill passed by the Alabama legislature on September 26, 1919 to provide a $ 25,000 appropriation to move and restore the house. The corner lot next door to the Archives, across from the South side of the Capitol was purchased.
The house was divided into three sections and dismantled, moved to its new location and carefully reassembled.
From all newspaper accounts the dedication of the First White House of the Confederacy on Jefferson Davis’s birthday on June 3, 1921 was one of the most relished and enjoyed events in Alabama history.