Pleasant Ridge is one of Alabama's most distinctive homes.
This tall-columned “big house” is not only the last extant brick plantation house in Wilcox County, but also one of less than a dozen brick plantation houses to survive in the Black Belt. Though the masons and carpenters behind the construction of the two-story brick residence are no longer known, the life of the builder, Tristram Bethea, still has a presence in the area. The South Carolina-born planter was among the earliest settlers in Wilcox County. He played a prominent role in transition of a rural and fertile wilderness into one of largest producing cotton counties in the State of Alabama. Bethea situated his grand house upon a gracious rise that cascades into a valley. The use of brick alone is telling of the home’s significance then and now. Even the wealthiest of planters, lawyers, doctors, and cotton factors constructed their houses of wood. The majority of the populace contended with log or small frame dwellings. A two-story brick home was the utmost badge of affluence.
Pleasant Ridge's two-columned, monumental ionic portico fronts the symmetrical facade. The vista from it is of the almost two-hundred-year-old cedars ringing the u-shaped drive. Formal gardens are to either side. The two-story gallery and its balcony front double doors with arched fanlights accessing first-story and second-story halls. Upon entering the main floor, one can venture to the left into a formal dining room or to the right into a parlor. The rooms are grandly scaled with twelve-foot ceilings. These rooms, as well as the upper-story chambers, feature exquisite faux grained and marbled treatments on paneling, doors and mantels. The hall ends in a porch which engages rear service wings. This porch functions as an outdoor living room during most seasons of the year. The main hall’s staircase accesses two large bedrooms with the same dimensions as the parlor and dining room below.
Pleasant Ridge features exquisite faux-grained and marbled treatments on paneling, doors, and mantels throughout.
“Good morning! I am originally from Camden and had the pleasure of bringing two out-of-state friends for the tour on Saturday.I love to show off my sweet, hidden hometown. It is so rich with history and hospitality. My heart just beamed to see two people so passionate about saving this beautiful home and sharing it with others. It is people like you who keep our little community going and I am so grateful you found your dream here. Can’t wait to visit again and in the meantime, I’ll keep up with all the fun and progress on Facebook.”
“As one that toured many area homes, our experience was made most special when everyone at Pleasant Ridge was in period dress. You were the only stop along the tour to have that special touch. The knowledge of not only the home, but of the history that was happening in the area and the country was also awesome! Hopefully, we will see you all soon at an event!”