Leigh Place: Courthouse to Residence to Offices
ASHS Column for 03 08 07
Margaret Collier

     Things have been going on in the James Houston Jones Historical Park. No, #100 hasn't arrived yet because all of the preparations have not been completed, but with all of the spring-like weather of late we hope that, by the time you read this column, the track-laying will be complete which will make possible the moving of the boxcar. By the time all of that is done we assume that the snow will be gone from #100 enabling her to be loaded up and trucked home to Century.
     Meanwhile, we have been busy painting the exterior of The Briggs Building.
Also, paint has been applied to the trophy cabinet and the new shelves that have been made for it. Again, by the time you read this we plan to have all of those trophies from Century High School proudly displayed in this fine showcase that was donated by the Century Chamber of Commerce.
     The pantry has been restocked and reorganized, the utility closet is now accessible without endangering one's life, and you just won't believe the improvements made in "The Mole Hole" (the office)!
     These transformations have not
 been accomplished by the
waving of a magic wand. Oh, no!
Only the willing hands of members
and friends of the Society have
wrought these changes.
     Regular workers, John Adams 
and Dorothy Newton,  have just
exceeded all expectations. John,
in addition to keeping the grounds
neat has proven himself as a master
paint brush wielder. Dorothy, in
addition to being a great hostess
and receptionist, has shown talent
in organizing supplies and keeping
the Leach House presentable after
many of us come rooting around
looking for various items and
making a mess. Our Jerry F. and
Jerry S. duo, plus Don and
Margaret, have also been working
at various chores. Also have to
mention Helen Mincy who has
volunteered to paint and who,
most recently, acted as a most
effective hostess with visitors
from Alabama when we were
     By all of this, you can tell that
your help is always appreciated.
Just call or come by to see what
needs to be done at any given
time. Curator Jerry S. is usually
available Mon., Wed., or Fri. He
can put you to work in the office
or outside - wherever your talents
lie - so if you have time on your
hands just speak up.
     While you are working or just
visiting, you may want to avail
yourself of a new honor system
refreshment center. Don Sales
has made cold drinks and
snacks available in the small
refrigerator in the meeting room.
He has a jar for your contributions
to keep this going. The proceeds
will be used to restock the supplies
as necessary.
     Enough of the mundane, already! Several of us went to the February meeting of our sister historical society in Brewton, the Escambia County Historical Society, and what a joy it was! Tom McMillan gave a power point presentation on The Leigh House. Later we toured and enjoyed refreshments in that handsome and historic building.
     We learned that in 1885 it became the first official courthouse in Brewton. Seventeen years later it was deemed inadequate, so was put up for sale in 1902. While awaiting a buyer it was used as an armory for the Brewton Rifles. It did remain idle for a number of years after the armory was moved, but in 1909, it was bought to serve as a tobacco warehouse.
     In 1910, the building was again sold. This time it was renovated for a colonial style home. In 1919, the house was sold to Mabel C. Leigh, hence its name. The Leigh Place as it stands today was remodeled in 1969 by Thomas E. McMillan and is now in use as an office building.
     I can tell you that this is not your average office building. The various wood and exposed brick walls, plus the tasteful furnishings just breath atmosphere and make one thankful that this structure was not abandoned or razed, but was used, adapted, loved and made into the treasure that it is today.
     I was going to wax into a long discussion of the importance of preserving or commemorating the old - whether buildings, sites, things, yea, even people, because of their historic significance, community contributions, or just their emotional appeal, but that column will have to come another time as our space is running out. Think about it though.
     Also, get out those pictures, anecdotes, and recipes and get them to us at P.O. Box 1002, Century, FL 32535. The sooner you get them in the sooner we can get that nostalgic cookbook ready. It is shaping up to be a best seller!
     P.S. Does anyone out there have a recipe for Green Tomato Pie? Aubrey Ross remembers his "Momma" making his favorite dish but does not have the recipe. Help! We need it for our keepsake cookbook. Let's hear from you.

The Leigh House on Belleville Avenue in Brewton
This handsome and historic building became the first official courthouse in Brewton in 1885. Seventeen years later it was deemed inadequate, so it was put up for sale in 1902.
The Leigh Place as it stands today was remodeled in 1969 by Thomas E. McMillan and is now in use as an office building.



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This page last modified on Saturday, March 31, 2007