World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Dicksonia Plantation

Article Id: WHEBN0032194606
Reproduction Date:

Title: Dicksonia Plantation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lowndesboro Historic District, Meadowlawn Plantation, National Register of Historic Places architectural style categories, List of plantations in Alabama
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Dicksonia Plantation

Dicksonia in 1934.
Location Lowndes County, Alabama
Built 1830–56, 1940
Built for David White, Wiley Turner, Robert Dickson
Architectural style(s) Greek Revival with Italianate influences
Governing body Private
Dicksonia Plantation is located in Alabama
Dicksonia Plantation
Location of Dicksonia in Alabama

Dicksonia, also known as the Turner–Dickson House, was a historic plantation house just south of Lowndesboro, Alabama, United States. Dating back to 1830, it was destroyed by fire twice.[1] The house was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1934 and the ruins were later featured in the 1993 book Silent in the Land.[2] For the May 1999 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Annie Leibovitz did a photo shoot of Natalie Portman at the ruins on February 7, 1999.[3]

Construction and history

Dicksonia was a originally a two-story house with a small one-story portico in front, built in 1830 by David White. But, in 1856, the house was purchased by Wiley Turner, who hired an architect to remodel the house into a Greek Revival mansion, very similar in appearance to nearby Meadowlawn. The front porch was removed and a monumental two-story portico extending around two sides of the house was added, supported by twelve fluted Doric columns. Elaborate cornice brackets, reflecting an Italianate influence, met at the roof line. The architecture of the house was also noted to show a Mississippi influence.[4] Banisters of intricate design framed the porticoes. The front door had sidelights and an overhead transom. The door upstairs, also with sidelights, opened onto a wrought iron balcony directly over the front door. A side balcony of wooden banisters adorned the upstairs on the west side of the house. A central hall ran the length of the house, with a staircase leading to the second floor.[1] Sometime before 1900, the separate kitchen was added to the house proper. Water was supplied by a windmill at this time.[5]

Shem Arthur Tyson and his wife Mary (Toler) Tyson bought the house and land, known as the "Turner Home Track," from the Wiley Turner family. On November 29, 1901, the house and 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land was sold to Robert Stiles Dickson, who named the mansion, Dicksonia. [5]


The first Dicksonia, built of wood, burned in 1939. It was replaced by a cast-concrete and steel replica in 1940. The rebuilt house had the same floor-plan as the first, with one difference. This time the monumental portico was rebuilt only across the front, instead of two sides of the house, due to the high cost of producing monumental Doric columns in concrete at the time. Although intended to be fireproof, the second incarnation of Dicksonia burned in 1964.[1][2] This time the family could not rebuild it, due to extreme heat damage to the foundation. The empty shell and columns were left as a picturesque ivy-covered ruin, on private property without public access.[2]

Historic American Buildings Survey photos taken in 1934
HABS Front and side view. 
Rear View. 


  1. ^ a b c Gamble, Robert (1987). The Alabama Catalog: A Guide to the Early Architecture of the State. University, AL: University of Alabama Press. p. 264.  
  2. ^ a b c Cooper, Chip; Knopke, Harry; Gamble, Robert (1993). Silent in the Land. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: CKM Press. p. 180.  
  3. ^ "Natalie Portman photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, May 1999". Pin My Wings. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ ""Turner-Dickson House "". "Historic American Buildings Survey". 
  5. ^ a b ”Lowndesboro's Picturesque Legacies”, compiled by the Lowndesboro Heritage Society, (1994)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.