Burritt on the Mountain is one of the most popular of the Roadside Museums in the State of Alabama, for several different reasons.
This unique and interesting museum is loaded with regional history, and is located at the mountaintop former home of Dr. William Henry Burritt.
There are numerous attractions at this historic mountaintop, including the remarkable 14-room mansion built in the unique shape of an X.
But that is not the only thing that makes it so unique; it was built in the 1930’s and is insulted by something commonly used during those times, bales of wheat straw—a whopping 2,000 bales of it.
The Historic Park located here highlights restored farm buildings that feature the 19th century rural life-style in early Alabama.
However, perhaps the most famous attraction at Burritt on the Mountain is the view, with fantastic views of the city of Huntsville as well as the Tennessee Valley.
But that is not the only view.
On a clear day you and your family can see not only the beautiful Tennessee River, but the towering NASA rocket tests stands located near Huntsville.
The history of Burritt on the Mountain all starts with the man it is named after, William Henry Burritt.
This generous man willed his estate and mansion, known then as “Round Top Mountain”, to the city of Huntsville.
Mr. Burritt received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University, and then practiced medicine in Cincinnati as well as New York.
He then returned home to take care of his ailing mother, and from there he opened a homeopathic medical practice. He also served a short time as the Health Officer of Madison County.
Mr. Burritt was married three times, and his second wife was a very wealthy heiress, Josephine Drummond, of Missouri’s Drummond Tobacco Company.
After Mr. Burritt married her, he retired form his practice to become her personal physician.
After this, he shifted his attention and time to rubber products, where he invented and registered numerous wheel and tire patents from 1903-1927.
5 years later in 1933, Josephine died, and Dr. Burritt used his inheritance to buy Round Top Mountain.
After his death in 1955, the property passed to the city of Huntsville, for the purpose of serving as a museum and park for the public.
Burritt on the Mountain grew under the leadership of the city of Huntsville, and is now the home to several attractions.
There are a number of original homes in the area that were brought to the Mountain, and were restored by volunteers and community activists.
Each of these homes belongs to the different architectural styles, that were part of the early life in the “Cumberland Plateau’s past.
These styles include numerous “folk” styles such as the “dogtrot” and the “saddleback” style homes.
There are also six cabins, a barn, and a church brought in from Madison, located in Madison County.
One of these historic cabins, the Joel Eddins house, dates back to 1810, and is considered to be the oldest intact log cabin in the state.
The education department at the Burritt on the Mountain offers the public camps, field trips, as well as numerous festivals.
These festivals include seasonal farm activities, that range from sheep shearing in the spring, and apple pressing in the fall.
Burritt of the Mountain only receives about half of its total budget from the City of Huntsville, and as a result, relies on donations.
These donations come in the form of grants, numerous donations, memberships, as well as sponsorships.
It also has more than 30,000 visitors per year, which also helps to fund it.
There are numerous attractions for you and your family to see at Burritt at the Mountain, but there are 5 that really stand out.
They include the following:
First of the list of the attractions at Burritt on the Mountain is the one of the main reasons most people go there: the view.
Built on a 3,000 square foot overlook, the “View” is breathtaking.
You and your family can enjoy dinner there and is perhaps the main attraction of this 167-acre site.
Next on the list of attractions is the Burritt Mansion, which features a two-story octagonal main section, with 4 one-story wings forming an X.
The two-story main entry portico is supported by two fluted columns, and the front door is in a Federal Style, with sidelights and topped with a fanlight.
The second story of portico features a small balcony, and on the face of the pediment, a panel reads “1935”, the construction date of the original house.
A terrace runs the length of the front of the house, and small porches with entries similar to the main entry, are between the wings on the south and north and south sides of the house.
Many of the rooms have been converted into gallery space, which hosts rotating exhibits, and most of them are historical and cultural.
The house was listed on the National Register of historic homes in 1992.
The Historic Park and Barnyard
Next of the list of attractions to see at Burritt on the Mountain is the Historic Park and Barnyard.
This Park helps the public to interpret the past, by showcasing numerous aspects of farm life from the Cumberland Plateau time period.
It features live history interpreters that are dressed in the period clothing and help to recreate the diversity of what farm life looked like in those times.
It also helps you and your family get involved through conversations, demonstrations, as well as hands-on activities.
The Dorothy Davidson Rosenwald Schoolhouse
Next on the list is the Dorothy Davidson Rosenwald Schoolhouse, which began in the year 1912.
The Rosenwald schools were built with the partnership of Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., as well a black educator Booker T. Washington.
Between the years 1913 and 1932, nearly 5,00-new schools were built in 15 states, and because if this, thousands of students received an education they otherwise would not have received.
During the school year, this historic building will be part of the 4th grade experience, with local children spending a day at this famous schoolhouse.
When the school is not used for students, it will be open to the public to view a Rosenwald exhibit, and for hands on classes and workshops.
The Hiking Trails
The final of the attractions at Burritt on the Mountain is the hiking trails, where you and your family can spend time hiking.
You will hike through beautiful wildflowers that blanket the forest floor, and in the fall, you can enjoy the colorful landscape.
The Rock Bluff Trail circles the entire site, and there are several smaller trails as well.
These include the Big Cove Turnpike Trail and the Trough Springs Trail.
Burritt on the Mountain - Huntsville Museum, Education, History
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