What’s Left Behind Of This Historic Alabama Plantation Home Is Truly Amazing
Located approximately five miles north of Florence, in Lauderdale County, are the Forks of Cypress ruins. The Forks of Cypress, which was built in 1822, was a Greek Revival plantation home that sat on a cotton plantation. Before this historic plantation home burned to the ground, it was once considered one of Alabama’s finest homes. And judging from photos of the exterior and interior, it’s easy to understand why.
An architect who went by the name of William Nichols designed the Forks of Cypress for James Jackson and his wife, Sally. What made this plantation home incredibly unique is that it was Alabama’s only Greek Revival home to have a two-story colonnade completely surround it, which consisted of 24 pillars.
James Jackson, owner of the Forks of Cypress, relocated from Nashville, Tennessee to Alabama in 1818. A few years later, in 1822, Jackson became active in politics. So much so that in 1830, he became president of the Alabama Senate.
One of James Jackson’s passions was horses. His goal was to improve the bloodstock of the American thoroughbred through the breeding of his own imported horses. Eventually, Jackson’s horses were recognized on a national level as bloodstock for Kentucky’s famous thoroughbreds, and he was soon known as “the most successful importer in the history of the American thoroughbred.”
Sadly, James Jackson passed away in 1840. He’s buried in the family cemetery, which is located near the plantation home. According to many witnesses, the Jackson family cemetery is haunted, as is the nearby slave cemetery. Several visitors have reported seeing apparitions and hearing strange noises at both of these cemeteries.
On June 6, 1966, the Forks of Cypress plantation home was struck by lightning and unfortunately burned to the ground. All that was left standing were the brick pillars that once outlined this historic plantation home. According to a local rumor, the mortar used to construct the brick pillars contained horse hair, which acted as a flame retardant. This could definitely be the reason why these historic brick pillars survived the fire. An original log house and several outbuildings on the plantation grounds also survived the fire.
Located in downtown Florence, on Seminary Street, is a close replica of the Forks of Cypress plantation home. It was built in 1983, and it’s currently serving as a Regions Bank branch.
Have you ever seen the Forks of Cypress ruins up close? If so, what are your thoughts?
The Forks of Cypress is open to the public, and walking tours are offered throughout the year.
From Cox Creek Parkway, in Florence, turn north onto Jackson Road. Once you reach the dead end, turn right.