Friends of Gaineswood celebrates 20th anniversary

Published 9:41 pm Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bryan Whitfield and Maxine Compton dance to The Grand Band.

Bryan Whitfield Compton and Maxine Compton dance to The Grand Band.

Friends of Gaineswood celebrated their 20th anniversary with a gala Saturday night.

The Grand Band out of Mobile played for the celebration, which was held on Gaineswood grounds.

“What a cherished, historic home we have here in Demopolis, but it’s something we all can sort of take for granted,” said John Northcutt, Friends of Gaineswood president. “It’s one of the most recognizable homes in the state, and something our community can be very proud of.”

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Northcutt recognized Friends of Gaineswood board members, past and present, as well as staff members.

Current Friends of Gaineswood board members include Northcutt; Tarlee Brown, vice president; Whit Bird, treasurer; William Gantt, secretary; Carolyn Bell; Mafus R. Bird; Annye Braxton; Bryan W. Compton; Laura Foster; Willard McCall; John McKinley; Peggy Ragland; Kelley F. Mullins; J. George Whitfield; and Becky Willis.

Friends of Gaineswood celebrate their 20th anniversary with a gala on the grounds Saturday.

Friends of Gaineswood celebrate their 20th anniversary with a gala on the grounds Saturday.

Staff members include site director Eleanor Cunningham; Bruce Lipscombe, director of collections and interpretation; and Rick Rand, who is over grounds and maintenance.

Despite their success during the past two decades, Northcutt said there are challenges ahead for Gaineswood. The state continues to cut funding for the Alabama Historical Commission, which maintains and operates several historic homes across the state.

“We have been real successful over the past 20 years, but we have some challenges ahead of us,” he said.

There will be a meeting in Montgomery later this month to discuss funding and how Gaineswood and similar homes operate in the future.

“There will be some hard decisions made, but I’m confident we will come to a solution,” Northcutt said. “But be aware, we can’t take our treasures for granted.”

Northcutt thanked Gaineswood’s business and personal sponsors and asked for their continued support.

Their business sponsors include Vowell’s Fresh Market, RockTenn, CEMEX, Clover Fork Coal, Robertson Banking Company, Best Western, attorney Bill Coplin, Dan and Vickie Wilson from Colony Office Supply, State Farm agent Kris Mullins, M&W Productions and Parr’s, Inc.

Individual sponsors include David T. Compton, Archie and Lee Griffin, Buddy and Martha Griffith, Mr. and Mrs. Willard McCall Jr., John and Nancy Northcutt, Amme Whitfield and Mr. and Mrs. John Osgood.

Gaineswood is one of American’s finest Greek Rival homes. Nathan Bryan Whitfield started construction of the home in 1843, in what would have been the “countryside” of Demopolis, and it was completed on the eve of the Civil War.

The home is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

For more information about Gaineswood or Friends of Gaineswood, call (334) 289-4846.