Burritt on the Mountain

Huntsville, United States

Burritt on the Mountain


Burritt on the Mountain is an open-air museum in Huntsville, Alabama. The museum grounds on Round Top Mountain, a plateau connected to Monte Sano Mountain, were the estate of local physician William Burritt, who willed his house and land to the city for use as a museum upon his death in 1955. A number of 19th-century rural structures have been added to Burritt's mansion, both in the interest of historical preservation and life re-enactment.

William Henry Burritt was born in Huntsville in 1869. A great-great-grandson of Rev. Blackleach Burritt, he followed in his father, grandfather's and great-grandfather's footsteps, becoming a physician and set up practice in 1891. In 1900 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, with his second wife. There he became involved in managing farming, logging, and mining operations, and in rubber production, where he received 22 patents for his tire inventions. Burritt returned to Huntsville after his wife's death in 1934 and designed an eccentric mansion surrounded by 167 acres (68 ha) where he would farm and raise goats in his retirement. In addition to eclectic decorative design, the house featured straw insulation, inspired by a visit on a hot day to a Missouri farm. On June 6, 1936, the day Burritt moved into the mansion, it burned to the ground due to an electrical fire, exacerbated by the straw insulation and its protective metal panels. The mansion was rebuilt, and Burritt lived there until his death in 1955.

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