619 Jackson Street SE

 Circa 1925

This stunning house is a complex architectural mixture that is the result of a massive exterior remodel between 1913 and 1927. Earlier maps show a two-story, wood-clad Queen Anne Victorian house on the lot. The basic footprint of the house has a very modest change, the front porch was altered and a side porch to the rear of the west elevation was enclosed. The exterior of the house is given a brick veneer on the ground floor, with stucco on the second floor and half-timbering with stucco on the attic level. Large fluted Doric columns were placed to support the front porch. The windows were changed out to the popular cottage-style windows, which have nine lights on the upper sashes and large single-glazed sashes on the lower sashes. The front door and office door located on the east end of the façade shows Craftsman detailing, appropriate for the era of the remodel.

Harry B. and Ellen Beard were responsible for this extensive transformation and lived in the house as early as 1913/1914. A dining room fire in 1924 led to the massive house remodel. Mr. Beard was manager of the American Oak Leather Company, and by 1917 he was vice president of the Decatur Ice and Coal Company. By the 1930s, he also served as the vice president of the Morgan County National Bank. The Beard family retained ownership of the property until 1959. American Oak Leather Company was one of the largest industries in Decatur in the early 20th century and was one of several recruited to the city by the developers of New Decatur (now called Albany). Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, they produced tannic acid from chestnut trees found along the Tennessee River. The acid was used in tanning leather. The chestnut tree blight and the introduction of artificial leather during the WWII era led to the company’s decline, which ceased operations around 1950. The company also had a secondary business, the Decatur Sand and Gravel Company. The Tweedy and the Droubay families respectively lived here until the Stone family purchased the property in 1973. Bill Stone, Jr. was the third generation to operate the local lumber company, which was in business between the 1930s and 2000. If your house was built or remodeled during this time period, chances are the materials came from Stone Lumber- built with the best Stone Lumber. Bill is responsible for designing and creating the beautiful paneled study just off the front entry hall. For the first time in almost 40 years, the Stone home will be open to the public as part of this year’s tour. We are delighted to have this magnificent house on this year’s Historic Decatur’s Christmas Tour.