Kenworthy Hall

Also known as: Carlisle Hall, Edward Kennedy Carlisle House
AL 14, W of Marion, Marion, Alabama


Kenworthy Hall

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress



Late in his life, Edward Kenworthy Carlisle sought to build a house which would reflect his stature as a plantation owner, cotton factor, and commissions merchant in the prosperous Black Belt community of Marion, Alabama. The cotton boom years of the 1840s and 1850s enabled Carlisle not only to build an Italianate villa which boasted of his financial success, but also designed by a well-known New York architect, Richard Upjohn. Correspondence which survives from Carlisle to the firm of R. Upjohn & Company shows Carlisle to have been influenced by the picturesque movement popularized by Andrew Jackson Downing. In addition to the designs set forth by Downing, Carlisle likewise adopted the ideologies of the movement, envisioning his home as a moral haven and example to the community, representing him as a religious, family man. Atypical of most Black Belt plantation houses, which mimicked the more classical architectural styles, Carlisle sought a design which would set him apart from his neighbors. The relatively unusual Italianate Villa design -- distinguished by its massive red brick facade, arched windows, and four-story tower -- combined with its antebellum roots and the numerous ghost stories, have cultivated Kenworthy Hall's prominence in the public imagination for nearly 100 years. "Desiring to build a house," Carlisle adopted the design by Upjohn that had been rejected by his brother-in-law, Leonidas N. Walthall, who built his Upjohn villa on a hill one mile away. Construction spanned from 1858 through 1860, completed on the eve of the Civil War. Kenworthy Hall is one of the last asymmetrical Italianate villas remaining in Alabama and one of the few houses that Upjohn designed in the South. Modeled on the Edward King House of Newport, Rhode Island, Kenworthy Hall has remained largely undocumented and unrecognized as a Richard Upjohn design. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS AL-765)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 23, 1990
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Italianate
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Single dwelling
Period of significance
Significant years
1858; 1861
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3
Contributing structures: 4

Update Log 

  • July 18, 2011: New photos from WillyT