When the owner of the First White House died in LaGrange GA in 1918 her heirs took possession of the House but refused to sell the land. They did however promise the WH committee that whenever they decided to remove the house that they would give the WHA the “refusal of the building” for $ 800.00.
Later, the heirs were ready to sell the house but not the grounds. Where to move? Hope came at last in the form of a sympathetic governor, Thomas E. Kilby who signed a bill passed by the Alabama legislature in 1919 to provide $ 25,000.00
The plan was to buy the property next to the Archives. It was opposed by the director, Marie Bankhead Owens, but she was overruled by the Govenor. Moving the house was a complicated process. It was photographed from all sides and detailed plans were made of the interior. The house moved in three sections, dismantled, marked and reassembled. The structure was found to be in excellent condition.
The dedication of the First White House of the Confederacy on Jefferson Davis’s birthday, June 3, 1921 was one mof the most relished and enjoyed events in Alabama history. The long and frustrating struggle to save the First White House had ended. Thre it stood, sparkling even more elegantly than it did in the spring of 1861, speaking eloquently of the heroic sentiment of its most splendid time and looking forward to the future!