THIS OLD HOUSE

HOUSES Dr. Ludolph Parmly House in Mobile, Ala.
Randolph, Jehiel, Stephen, Stephen, John, John

 

These undated black-and-white photos of Dr. Ludolph Parmly's home, at 303, 305, 307 N. Conception St., are from a collection in the Library of Congress. The house looks as if it were abandoned. The present day photos were taken by Sharon Mosely in 2005.

Ludolph (1811-1854) was a dentist who was born in Vermont but moved to Mobile about 1830. In the 1850 census, there is one slave, a 44-year-old black woman, with the family. He and Maria L. (Sanford) Parmly had 10 children; at least six of whom did not survive into adulthood.

Below the old photos are excerpts of an email from Sharon, who did some research into the home. Thank you, so much!


June 3, 2005

Jim,

Well, my sister and I finally went to Mobile to search for Ludolph's house today and not only did we find the house but we were able to talk to Gary Lee who is the owner of Nos. 305 and 307 Conception, which is now about 12 different apartments. Mr. Brabner owns No. 303 which has not been divided into apartments but we were not able to talk to him so the only information we have on that part of the house was what we found at the Mobile Historical Preservation Board. ...

The house was restored and divided into apartments in 1963, but then, on Dec. 31, 1973, the part of the house that is 305 Conception had a fire that burned everything but the outer wall. About 10 years ago Mr. Lee bought Nos. 305 and 307 and said that they were in such bad shape that they were about to be torn down. We were able to get pictures of what were the slave quarters and Ludolph's wine cellar and the nice courtyard. ...

The historical markers on the houses the Parmly name plus the name of the person who applied to have the house listed with the Historical Preservation Board: Mr. Lee.

From the Digest of Abstract, 303-305-307 N. Conception St. by Nancy N. Holmes, Sept. 1963:

303 and 305 N. Conception St. were built about 1835*, as a double house. Close examination shows the common chimney, the identical dormers, the "right hand-let hand" entrance & hall arrangement. Originally No. 305 probably had a small balcony as does No. 303 now. This has been described as the finest iron balcony now existing in Mobile (Caldwell Delany). The lavish cast-iron work on No. 305 is undoubtedly a later addition.

Dr. Ludolph Parmly, a dentist with offices on the corner of Dauphin and Royal streets, acquired the property in 183? and for many years made his home in No. 303; the other house was probably rented out. At the time he acquired this property and the lot next door (No. 307), the fine three-story mansion did not exist. It was built by Dr. Parmly after 1840 for his growing family for four girls and two boys.

At the time of his death in 1854, Dr. Parmly owned about one-quarter of the block, the Congress and Conception street corner. His estate was divided among his daughters, Marie (Mrs. Thomas) Savage, Olivia (Mrs. John W.) Chester and Julia (Mrs. Caleb) Toxey. His 3- and 4-year-old sons died in the same year as he did -- 1854 ... His brother [Jehiel?], also a dentist, took over his practice.

No. 307 remained in the Parmly family 46 years. The wooden porch shown in some earlier views of this house is probably not original. The house has a fine Egyptian door ... [and] had a wine cellar, and a most unusual skylight which helped to light the four-story stairwell.

After we went to the library to get the information that my sister was researching, we checked for the info on where Ludolph was buried and we went to the Magnolia Cemetery to see if we could get some pictures. We had given up and we were heading back to the car when I turned around and there was the grave of Ludolph so we were able to get the pictures. ...

Sharon

* I don't think 1835 is correct since most of the papers show that Nos. 303 and 305 were built in 1842 and that No. 307 was built in 1852