Jonathan W. Bass House

Also known as: Jonathan Bass House Museum
629 Montevallo Rd., Leeds, Alabama


Jonathan W. Bass House

Photo taken by WillyT




The Jonathan Bass House is an uncommon example of architecture with unusually decorative elements of wood graining in its front parlors and stenciling on the ceiling its the Great Hall. The painted ceiling design in the Men's Parlor, which depicts a billiard table, is a rare feature in American architecture, unique for its time and place.

The house sits on one of the earliest dwelling sites along a stagecoach road that existed as early as 1820.

The Leeds Historical Society purchased the Bass House (circa 1863) in 2003 from Bold Springs Presbyterian Church and restored the historic home on Alabama Hwy. 119. The Grand Opening of the Jonathan Bass House Museum was celebrated in November 2006.

Today, the old farmhouse showcases a museum of local history. Among Leeds' famous people are scholars, soldiers, athletes, beauties and more. Olympic-great and Leeds native Charles Barkley donated his Leeds High School team shirt as well as one he wore in an NBA Championship game. Miss America Runner-Up Paige Phillips Parnell donated her Miss Alabama crown. Exhibits also feature those who made their fame as a college president, as medal of honor recipients and more.

In 2008, the Bass House was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Jonathan Bass was born Jan. 30, 1837, in Jefferson County, Alabama. His father arrived in Jefferson County in 1816, and Jonathan was a life-long resident. Although the Bass House was under copnstruction as early as 1863, Jonathan left the farm to join the Confederate Army in 1860. He finished the front two rooms when he returned from the Civil War.

He married Ruteria Watson on Dec. 6, 1865. Jonathan and Ruth were the parents of nine children. In 1870 through 1880, additions and modifications were made to the house to accomodate the growing Bass family.

Thomas Bass Jr. was the last of the Bass family to occupy the house. In 1992, he left the house to Bold Springs Presbyterian Church.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 21, 2008
Reference number
NR name
Bass, Jonathan W., House
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Period of significance
Significant year
ca. 1865
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2
Non-contributing buildings: 1


19th Century (37,887)
Alabama (1,826)
Brick (42,462)
Built during 1860s (3,774)
House (27,684)
Jefferson County, Alabama (192)
Leeds, Alabama (3)
Private owner (54,398)

Update Log 

  • May 24, 2011: Updated by WillyT: Added Description