There’s a warning sign on the side of the steep, winding driveway that leads to the Golden Springs home of Ann and Clayton Angell:

Old dogs

Young dogs

Several stupid dogs live here

The Angells’ live up high on a mountain overlooking the Choccolocco Valley, with a stunning view of Mount Cheaha from the front yard.

The house was built in 1948 by Ann’s grandfather, Pitts Douglas. He was in the construction business, and the walls and ceilings of the house are poured concrete.

Today, the 200-acre farm is home to dogs, cats, chickens, horses and an albino donkey named Casper — who is a replacement for Reva the donkey, who was an engagement gift from Clayton to Ann almost 30 years ago.

There was also a rooster named Fred, but he passed away earlier this year. The Angells’ teenaged son and his friends held a funeral for Fred, complete with bagpipes.

In the front yard, a swimming pool underlines the view of Mount Cheaha. It is supposed to be the oldest pool in Calhoun County. Ann remembers visiting her grandparents when the pool was just a concrete pond.

A badminton net is set up on one side of the lawn. A wooden swing hangs from a magnolia tree.

This yard has hosted many a birthday party, wedding shower and graduation party.

The Angells have two daughters, Ashby, 27, an attorney in Louisville, Ky., and Cowan, 22, a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a son, Pitts, 19, a freshman at Auburn University.

Behind the house, the woods go on “for days and days,” all the way up to McClellan, Ann said. When their son was in high school, he and his friends would spend hours camping, building bonfires and riding the trails on a Gator. They once managed to fit 10 people on that Gator. Ann took to calling the place “Camp Angell.”

“Every teenager known to man” has been through at some time or another, she said.

Ann is the manager of the Oxford YMCA. Clayton is the owner of Remodeler’s Outlet. A native of Georgia, he grew up working on his family’s farm. “I’m one of five brothers,” Clayton said. “That’s what we did in the summer. We worked on the farm.”

The Angells’ house is surrounded by gardens. The vegetable garden is Clayton’s; he has kept it for 25 years. The flowerbeds are Ann’s, planted mainly in perennials, including salvia, daylilies, gardenias and four o’clocks — some of which were planted by Ann’s grandmother.

The house, above all else, is comfortable. There’s usually a dog in front of the fireplace, and a bike in the living room.

The Angells updated the kitchen about 10 years ago with new cabinets and an island. “I hated to do it, because it was my grandmother’s kitchen,” Ann said.

More recently, they updated the master bathroom using marble from the demolished Wells Fargo Bank building in Anniston. But in its bones, the house is much like it was in decades past. In the living room hangs a portrait of Ann’s mother, Margaret Ann Douglas Porteous. “We put our Christmas tree here, so that she is in our Christmas pictures,” Ann said.

On the other side of the room is a portrait of Ann’s grandfather. “This is his house,” she said. “We just live in it.”

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.