Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joel Abbot Roberts - Joel Ninde's grandfather

Dr. Willis Roberts’ second son, Joel Abbott Roberts, a banker and bookkeeper with the firm of Lewis and Porteous at 36 Dauphin Street in Mobile, was considered a gentleman builder. After a brief stint in Texas as postmaster for the town of White Rock in Dallas County, Roberts returned to Mobile, Alabama to complete his country house on the Shell Road in Summerville, now 1614 Old Shell Road in the suburb called Spring Hill. The one-and-a half story French Creole cottage, built in 1851-52, had a central hall with two large rooms on both sides. Broad sliding doors that could be closed in the winter and opened in the summer created long rooms on either side of the hallway. Floor length windows allowed passage directly onto the front gallery. Originally, such windows also opened onto a rear gallery but at some point these rear gallery windows were enclosed. The French, deported by the British from Acadia in 1755, brought rectangular style houses with steeply pitched roofs to the coast. Around the same time, compatriots from the French Caribbean islands brought a more open cottage style house surrounded by galleries that served as hallways, work areas, and social centers. Joel’s country house was a composite of both styles. [i]
[i] The Magazine Antiques. Straight Enterprises, Inc., vol. CXII, no. 3), New York. Sept 1977, p. 466

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