The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 3, 2009

Home added to historic list to thwart proposed quarry

An antebellum home in Limestone County has been added to a state historic register to prevent it from being damaged by a proposed rock quarry.

The Harris-Pryor House, also known as Flower Hill Farm, located off U.S. 31 in Tanner just north of Calhoun Community College, has been placed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage because of its architectural significance, said Lee Anne Wofford of the state historical commission.

Homeowner Betty Pryor, who has lived in the house since 1948 and whose husband was born there in 1920, said a proposal by Rogers Group to open a limestone quarry within two miles of the home prompted her to have the home registered with the state, although it has been listed as a historic Limestone County home for many years.

“They are trying to put a rock quarry about a mile or so away as the crow flies, and everyone wanted me to say something,” Pryor said.

Area residents have spoken against the proposed quarry in news stories and at a public hearing.

“I thought this would say more than simply saying I had an old home,” she said.

Pryor said the back part of the home was built in 1876 on a brick foundation that cannot be stabilized because it surrounds a basement. She said blasting for limestone rock at a quarry so near the home would cause the brick to disentegrate.

History of the home

Some of the home’s history appears on a historic marker near the road. It reads as follows:

“Harris-Pryor House or Flower Hill Farm was built about 1858 by Schuyler Harris on land once owned by Henry Augustine Washington, a distant relative of the first U.S. president. Through purchases, marriages and inheritance between the Washington, Harris and Pryor families, all from Virginia, a large plantation of more than 3,000 acres was established. Long after the demise of slavery, approximately 60 tenant families lived on the land.

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