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Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama SHPO
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Belle Mont
 

Magnificently sited on a commanding hilltop, Belle Mont is one of early Alabama's crowning architectural achievements. It is also one of the outstanding Palladian-style houses in the Deep South. Mystery shrouds the source of the design, but tantalizing clues suggest the direct influence of President and gentleman architect Thomas Jefferson. Rescued from ruin in the 1980s, it is now undergoing a phased-restoration.

Belle Mont is an outstanding example of Thomas Jefferson's influence upon the architecture of the early American republic. Characteristics of the Palladian or "Jeffersonian Style" are an accent upon high-quality brickwork with contrasting wood trim, a preference for hilltop building sites, and designs that show Mr. Jefferson' reverence for the neoclassical architectural ideas of the Italian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio. Belle Mont exhibits all these qualities and more.

A raised, two story central section with flanking one-story wings is typical of both Jefferson and of Palladian architecture in general. So is the U-shaped floor plan in which the side-wings project to the rear to embrace a courtyard. Belle Mont's floor plan mirrors these elements. A very similar plan is in fact preserved among Jefferson's drawings housed at Harvard University.

We are not aware of who designed Belle Mont. The current idea is that one member of the large circle of craftspeople and builders who fell under Jefferson's influence during the construction of his own home, Monticello, as well as the nearby Charlottesville campus of the University of Virginia.

A long-term, phased restoration by the Alabama Historical Commission is presently underway so that Belle Mont's history, beauty, and architecture may be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

Driving directions to Belle Mont:
West of US 43 South on Cook Lane,
3 miles south of intersection US 43 and US 72

Tuscumbia, Colbert County

Please call the Site Director, Kara Long at 256/637-8513 or email to psdirector@hiwaay.net for more information.  

Visitor Services
Admission
Adults : $6
Students, seniors, military : $5
Children 6-18 : $3

Group Rates Available

Open for tours Thursday - Saturday, 9am-4pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm or by appointment for groups. Appointments must be made at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Please call 256-637-8513 or email wheplan@hiwaay.net to schedule a guided tour for your group.

Closed all state holidays.

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Historic Preservation