Homewood, AL, July 17, 2018 --(PR.com
)-- National Register of Historic Places grants The Bridges’ Pink House And Secret Garden eligibility. This eligibility elevates the Homewood, AL, 97-year-old estate to national importance.
The powers that be in Montgomery, AL, have determined that Eleanor and George Bridges’ house and gardens are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion B for their association with Georges and Eleanor Bridges and Criterion C for the structural and landscape architecture.
Collier Neeley, National Register coordinator, and the Alabama Historical Commission’s Determination of Eligibility Committee met in emergency session because the house and gardens, built in 1921, are in danger of being ransacked and torn down by a developer. The city of Homewood has no preservation ordinances and no provisions whatsoever for design review.
In June, the developer received the green light from the city of Homewood to build five homes that are at least two and a half times the size of the neighborhood’s historic homes and that tower over them. Homewood, AL, Historical Preservation Society board member Virginia Fisher said, "Taken together, there will be significant negative environmental impact for the surrounding area if the house and gardens come under the wrecking ball."
This 1.4 acres on the corner of East Edgewood Boulevard and Roseland Drive was purchased in 1920 by Eleanor Massey Bridges, a daughter of prominent Birmingham entrepreneur Richard W. Massey and wife of artist Georges Bridges. Together, the Bridges designed the house, a stable (later becoming a secondary residence and then a Lancelot “Capability” Brown type folly or whimsy) and the extraordinary gardens that occupy most of the property. Together, “the house and gardens constitute their masterpiece,” according to Homewood, AL, Historical Preservation Society President Martha Wurtele Jones.
The pink stucco, Craftsman-Mediterranean house features an arcaded front porch with the two self-designed coat of arms of Eleanor and Georges Bridges above. The house was designed with the creative life in mind as the two-story, 30 x 21 salon (lit by one bank of windows) either served as a studio for Eleanor to paint large canvases or to host her literary-themed Sunday evening salons. Georges’s studio is adjacent.
It is clear that the Bridges spent as much time outside creating their “giardino secreto” as in their studios painting or sculpting: they were original creative cross-trainers. Enclosed by old-growth canopy trees, secondary trees, evergreens and leatherleaf mahonia, the gardens are a formal wonderland of lawns, terraces, walls with doors and gates, box border, balustrades, urns with topiary and shrubs and flowers, which, according to George were arranged and planted by resident fairies. Walkways with benches for conversation or contemplation and pieces of Georges’ Art Deco statuary combine to create an air of magic for generations of children who have peeked in the gardens, snuck into them or who still to this day, knock on the blue gate. The Bridges taught art, ballet and drama classes in the gardens and viewed their gardens as a way to bring health to children and adults.
New (under construction) society website:
Homewood, AL, Historic Preservation Society:
Gallery of original photography taken by Virginia Fisher may be found here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/marthawurtelejones/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1422763721158630
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to:
Homewood, AL, Historic Preservation Society
904 South Forrest Drive
Homewood, AL 35209
For more information, please call: Virginia Fisher, 205-478-2019, email@example.com