Sturdivant Hall is considered one of the finest Greek Revival neoclassical antebellum mansions in the Southeast; designed by General Robert E. Lee’s cousin, Sturdivant Hall showcases many period furnishings, including antebellum utensils, dolls and toys and a formal garden. The home has a history of hauntings, especially by a Civil War era man, John Parkman and his two daughters. Centrally located in Selma, the home is one of many historic buildings that can be visited in the area.
Sturdivant Hall stands upon a spacious corner lot, bordered by Mabry and Union Streets and McLeod Avenue. The property was purchased by Colonel Edward T. Watts for $1,830 on April 19, 1852 at a public sale. Colonel Watts wished to have a house "in town" for entertaining guests.
The 6,000 square foot mansion was completed in 1853 under the direction of Thomas Helm Lee of Selma at a cost of $69,000. Col. Watts, his wife Louisa, and his family lived here until February 12, 1864, when the property was sold for $65,000.
The new owner, John McGee Parkman, was born in Selma, January 12, 1838, and died at Cahaba on May 23, 1867, at the age of 29. An industrious and ambitious young man, Parkman progressed from dry goods to clerk, to bookkeeper, to bank teller, to bank cashier.
In 1866, he was made President of the First National Bank of Selma, a newly organized bank with capital of $100,000. The bank became engaged in cotton speculation, a common error of the times which brought ruin to many of the best established commercial houses. Losses sustained from speculation caused Gen. Wager Swayne, Commander of the Federal troops in Selma District, to take possession of the bank and arrest its President. There were large deposits in the bank belonging to the United States government.
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