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The First White House of the Confederacy

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The First White House of the Confederacy
644 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-3012
Voice: 334-242-1861

In the Winter of 1860-61, shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln as the 16th President of the United States, seven Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. On February 8, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress met in Montgomery, Alabama for the purpose of choosing their first president. Their unanimous selection was Jefferson Davis, a man who was highly regarded by the North and South alike as a distinguished war hero, statesman, and patriot. Later that month, the Congress authorized the leasing of an executive mansion. An offer came from Colonel Edmund S. Harrison of nearby Prattville, Alabama who had recently purchased a newly renovated house in Montgomery. He offered to rent the house fully furnished and staffed for the lofty sum of $5,000 per year.

The house, built in the 1830's by a well known contractor and owned by a series of prominent Montgomerians, served as the first White House of the Confederacy from February, 1861 until late May, 1861 when the Confederate Capital was permanently moved to Richmond, Virginia. During that time, the White House was the setting for many lavish parties and receptions hosted by Mrs. Davis.

Following the Civil War, the house passed through the hands of several owners before April of 1897, when the newly organized United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed that the State of Alabama should preserve the house. On July 1, 1900, 27 ladies dedicated to the cause formed the White House Association of Alabama and took over the project. During the next 20 years, the White House Association worked to raise the funds necessary to purchase the house. Finally in 1919, Governor Thomas E. Kilby appropriated $25,000 for the purchase and relocation of the house. On June 3, 1921, the restored First White House of the Confederacy was reopened in a lavish ceremony in which the White House Association gave the house to the people of the State of Alabama. Today, the First White House of the Confederacy is maintained jointly by the White House Association and the State of Alabama and is open year-round for public view.



Pictures and information were provided by the White House of the Confederacy

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