Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Ely-Crigler House - Marianna, Florida

In my last post I discussed the history of the "1840 House" at the intersection of Lafayette and Russ Streets in Marianna. This beautiful old structure was originally a wing of the elegant home shown here.
This is the Ely-Crigler House, which faces Lafayette Street (U.S. 90) in Marianna and is one of the city's most stunning landmarks. An architectural treasure, it is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the national listing of architectural landmarks.
Built in around 1840, the home is unique in that its brick walls run all the way to the ground and are of massive thickness. Likely this is because the house was constructed during the Second Seminole War and was designed to serve as a fortress in the event of an attack. With its original east and west wings, it was one of the largest homes on the entire Gulf Coast. The east wing has since been demolished and the west wing has been disconnected and moved to face Russ Street, where it is now the "1840 House."
Note that I call the home a "house" and not a "mansion," despite the fact that it was definitely of mansion size. This is because I remember well that the last descendents of the Crigler family to occupy the home became quite irate when it was called a "mansion." They considered it a "house."
A portion of the Battle of Marianna was fought in the street in front of the house and a Native American mound once stood on the grounds.


Anonymous said...

I was taught in Mr. Billy Grant's history class (1966)at Marianna High School, that the east wing was damaged by fire, which is why it was removed. Not sure where he got his information.

Dale said...

I had not heard that, but it is certainly a good possibility. Fire was a major cause of damage to a lot of homes of that era. It is what destroyed Governor Milton's Sylvania home after his death. I have a high regard for Mr. Grant's research and if he taught it, you can pretty well bet it was true.


Anonymous said...

My name is Jill and I am with Paranormal Crossroads Investigations. Our group is going to investigate the Hinson House. It is our understanding that part of the Battle of Marianna took place where this house now stands. Do you happen to know if there was a structure on the land where the Hinson House now stands that had a make-shift hospital for the wounded and dying from this battle? Also, the tax records for this house says it was built in 1900, yet everything else says 1920.
Any help would be very appreciated!
Thank you!

Dale Cox said...

Hi Jill and thank you for the note. There was not a structure on the site of the Hinson House at the time of the Battle of Marianna (part of which did take place on the site). The current site of the Hinson House was then part of the front lawn of the Ely mansion. The wounded from the battle were taken to the old school house which was near downtown and to private residences. I will need to look at the tax records for you. There could have been an earlier structure built in 1900 that was replaced by the existing one in 1920, but I would need to do a little research to answer your question. Feel free to email me at dalecox@twoeggfla.com and I'll be glad to share anything I can that might be of help to you.