Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
1 minute
Read so far

Landmarks Society visits historic seed house

November 12, 2021 - 00:00
Posted in:
  • Article Image Alt Text
    CONTRIBUTED Board members, from left, Nancy Greene, Anne Horstman and Terry Tatum welcome members to the Halloween meeting of the Morgan County Landmarks Society.
  • Article Image Alt Text
    CONTRIBUTED Christine McCauley Watts, executive director of the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, explains the former shed roof that covered the cotton seed scale to Landmarks members Sharon and Bill Ross.

Morgan County Landmarks Society (MCLS) celebrated Halloween by touring the newly rehabilitated Seed House, home to the Madison-Morgan Conservancy (MMC), at 137 S. First Street.

Because of its financial contribution to the Conservancy’s revolving fund, Landmarks was the first organization invited to view the structure, according to Christine McCauley Watts, MMC executive director. Watts welcomed MCLS members and provided an overview of the history and renovation methods used on the building.

Capital from the Conservancy’s revolving fund was used to purchase and restore the Seed House, a c.1899 historic structure in the heart of downtown Madison. When the cotton industry was booming in the South, this building was located near the cotton gins along the railroad.

Presumably, in the Seed House, the cottonseed was sold to planters for their next crop or to cottonseed oil mills for pressing. The structure featured a wagon scale for the cottonseed to be weighed, Watts explained.

Known most recently as Helen’s Beauty Shop, the building has been vacant for about 10 years, according to Watts. Previous uses included serving as a private residence in the 1940s and as a childcare center from 1976 to 1987.

Staying true to its conservation ethos, the Conservancy replaced blight with an energy-efficient and soon-to-be Earthcraft certified office space. The renovation included implementing solar panels, using pervious pavers, installing collection rain barrels and adding other energy-saving devices, Watts said.

Current plans are for the revolving fund to own and lease the property to the MMC for five years then sell it to recoup its investment and replenish the fund, she added.

The Landmarks Society has a special interest in the Seed House because of its connection to the Richter family, past owners of Richter Cottage, a house museum maintained by the Society and owned by the City of Madison.

Martin Luther Richter, son of Charles and Ann Richter, originally owned and probably built the Seed House. During the renovation, his name was discovered on one of the rafters in the building. The Conservancy saved the board with Richter’s name, and it will soon be displayed in the office.

The Morgan County Landmarks Society is dedicated to promoting through education the preservation of historic landmarks, landscapes, and culture of Morgan County.