The statue of Samuel Noble at 10th Street and Quintard Avenue in Anniston has a personal meaning for Carolyn Orchid. She lives in the large, elegant dwelling that became the city founder’s home in the late 1800s.
"I hope we are doing well by you, sir, in caring for your home," Orchid often murmurs as she passes the statue.
Carolyn and her husband, Bob, say they are proud to be caretakers of the Georgian-style home, which was originally constructed on Woodstock Avenue around 1882.
Built by Noble’s younger brother, George A. Noble, it was later purchased by Samuel, who lived there until his death in 1888. The home was then acquired by Samuel Noble’s daughter and her family, the Keiths.
It has had several owners since then, including Dr. and Mrs. Gerald Woodruff — and later Dr. and Mrs. Gerald Woodruff Jr., who did extensive renovation. But in less than a year after that, the Anniston City School System took possession of the property for public use. The Woodruffs were given the option to move the house.
They determined to save the house and moved it to its present location a few miles southeast, even though it would have to be dismantled and rebuilt. This process was underway when a fire broke out, but despite the losses, important features were saved and reconstruction went ahead.
The Orchids purchased the home in 2014 and have completed many repairs within its walls, due to Bob’s special skills, Carolyn said. It is listed as the Noble-Woodruff House on the Alabama Register of Historic Homes.
The Orchids have named it Springwood Inn because of the spring that flows from the top of the mountain down the side of the property to the pond. Springwood is now open to guests as a bed-and-breakfast and an event venue.
Carolyn and Bob moved to Anniston from Daufuskie Island, off the coast of South Carolina, because living in Anniston puts them closer to their daughter and son. Daughter Lyssa lives in Dallas, Texas, and son Lance lives in Atlanta.
Their careers have equipped them to be hosts for a B&B. After a busy industrial career, Bob started Daufuskie Home Service as a retirement job. Carolyn hosted lots of events while serving on arts-related boards in Virginia Beach, as well as some catering and interior design.
"We felt it would be fun to start a bed-and-breakfast, and especially to share a home with a story like this one," Carolyn said.
Additions have been made to the inn, and remodeling was necessary. But the large entrance hall, where Samuel Noble greeted his guests, was as we see it now. The two front rooms are also original, as well as some fireplaces and chandeliers.
The columns in the front interior were saved from Anniston’s Carnegie Library, and the heart pine floors upstairs came from the old Bethlehem Baptist Church in Friendship.
The entire home is undergirded with wood from the former theater built during World War II at Fort McClellan. In the playroom is a stained glass window from the old Noble Opera House.
Carolyn loves living in a house where the past is present. Admittedly, other homes were built in the same time period by members of the Noble family. But she believes this house is the most important, historically.
"Samuel Noble was the man with the concept of building a Model City," she said. "It is a privilege to live in his domain."
The inn’s website is www.springwoodinn.com.
Auditions for ‘Addams Family’ musical
CAST community theater starts its next season with "The Addams Family," a musical comedy based on characters from the classic TV show.
Auditions are July 10 at 5 p.m. and July 11 at 6 p.m. at CAST headquarters, 131 W. 11th St. in Anniston. Come prepared to sing a song of your choice, read from the script and dance with direction. Ten principal roles available.
Directed by Mike Stedham, the production will be at Oxford Performing Arts Center on Sept. 16-17.
Contact Hervey Folsom at firstname.lastname@example.org.