Murphy House - Montgomery, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member xptwo
N 32° 22.799 W 086° 18.572
16S E 564948 N 3582764
Originally built in 1851 by John H. Murphy as a private residence, this former Elks Lodge now serves as offices for the Montgomery Water Works and Sewer Board.
Waymark Code: WMFAXH
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 09/22/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 3

The Murphy House has had an interesting history during its existence. It was originally built as a private home and survived the Civil War only to be used by occupying Union troops. During the 20th century (1902-1967) it became a lodge for the Elks. Finally, in 1970, it became office space for the Montgomery Water Works and Sewer Board. The house is located on Bibb Street at the intersection with Coosa Street. I did find a photo at the Library of Congress site showing the house 1934. The source of that photo is (visit link)

The history of the Murphy House can be found on the web page of the Montgomery Water Works (visit link)

"John H. Murphy, a Virginia cotton merchant who moved his family south, built this house in the classic Greek Revival style, as evidenced by the spectacular Corinthian columns flanking the portico in front. Murphy lived in the house until his death in 1859, and his family stayed in residence throughout the duration of the Civil War. Many historical figures from this era are known to have visited the Murphy House including Jefferson Davis and William L. Yancey. As was the case with many well to do Southern families, as the war drew to a close, financial hardship fell upon the Murphy family and they were forced to rent rooms in the house. In April of 1865, Union troops took up residence in the Murphy House and it soon became the headquarters of the Union Provost Marshal.

The history of the Murphy House becomes a bit sketchy after the departure of the Union troops in the late 19th century. In 1902, it was purchased by the Elks and served as a lodge for over thirty years. It was also around this time that U.S. Department of the Interior declared the house to be of "exceptional historic and architectural interest" and was "worthy of most careful preservation for the benefit of future generations."

In 1970, the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board bought the property. The Board needed room to expand its operations and the Murphy House was chosen from among several alternative properties for two equally important reasons. First, it would provide enough space for all of the Board operations to reside under one roof and, second, the Board could be instrumentally involved in preserving a historically-significant Montgomery landmark. Upon the completion of the purchase, the Board renovated the property."

The text of the historic marker placed in front of the building reads:

Murphy House

Greek Revival Home built, 1851 by John H. Murphy, cotton broker and an incorporator and director of the Montgomery Water Works Company, chartered 1854.
Union Army Provost Marshal's Headquarters 1865.
Elks Club 1902-1967.
Restored by Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board, 1970.

Alabama Historical Association
Year photo was taken: 1934

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strummin_along visited Murphy House - Montgomery, AL 11/23/2013 strummin_along visited it