Tour the Swift Coles Historic Home for a Journey Back in Time

Step Back in Time at Swift-Coles Historic Home presents an opportunity for enthusiasts of history and architecture to delve into the captivating narrative of a Gulf Coast landmark.

Originally established as a modest dog trot cabin in 1882, the residence underwent substantial expansion and restoration, culminating in its current representation of early 20th-century Gulf Coast vernacular and Creole Cottage architecture.

Meticulously restored to its 1910 appearance, the property, open to the public since 2009, offers a unique glimpse into a bygone era. With original outbuildings and a diverse array of seasonal activities, supported by the Friends of Swift-Coles Historic Home organization, this site has earned its place on state and national historic registers.

Its intriguing historical significance and architectural allure make it a compelling destination for those seeking a profound immersion in the past.

Key Takeaways

  • Swift-Coles Historic Home was originally built in 1882 as a small four-room dog trot cabin but was later expanded and renovated to its current state.
  • The home showcases a blend of Gulf Coast vernacular and Creole Cottage architecture, with a shift from minimalist dogtrot styling to a Queen Anne-influenced exterior.
  • Nicholas Coles purchased the home in 1976 and restored it to its original 1910 appearance, including exterior repairs and filling the interior with his collection of antiques.
  • Swift-Coles Historic Home is open to the public for tours and event rentals since 2009, and it has been recognized on both the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and the National Register of Historic Places.

History and Architecture of Swift-Coles Historic Home

The Swift-Coles Historic Home, originally built in 1882 as a small four-room dog trot cabin, has undergone significant architectural transformations, reflecting the evolution of Gulf Coast vernacular and Creole Cottage styles in the region.

The architectural influences of Swift-Coles' transformation are evident in its shift from minimalist dogtrot styling to a Queen Anne-influenced exterior. Refined spindles and columns were added, along with doors and larger porches. Creole Cottage and Gulf Coast elements, such as pitched roof sweeps and a full-length front gallery, were incorporated.

Windows were enlarged, ceilings raised, and the home was elevated off the ground to protect from flooding. The restoration process, led by Nicholas Coles in 1976, aimed to restore the home to its original 1910 appearance.

This involved extensive exterior repairs, interior repainting, and furnishing the home with a collection of antiques.

Ownership and Restoration of Swift-Coles Historic Home

Purchased in 1976, Nicholas Coles undertook the restoration of the Swift-Coles Historic Home to its original 1910 appearance. The restoration process involved meticulous attention to detail, aiming to preserve the historical significance of the property.

This included extensive exterior repairs such as replacing brick piers and rotting wood, as well as repainting the entire exterior. The interior was also carefully repainted and filled with Coles' collection of antiques, further enhancing the home's period charm.

This careful restoration not only preserved the historical significance of the property but also provided visitors with an authentic glimpse into the past.

Facilities and Recognition of Swift-Coles Historic Home

When and by whom was Swift-Coles Historic Home added to the National Register of Historic Places?

Swift-Coles Historic Home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, recognizing its historical significance and contribution to the region's architectural heritage.

The home, open to the public for tours and event rentals since 2009, offers visitors a chance to step back in time and explore its rich history. The facilities include the original outbuildings: a corn crib, chicken house, barn, and outhouse, providing an authentic experience of life in the early 20th century.

Tours are available on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with an admission fee of $10 per person. Private tours for groups of 20 or more are available by appointment, ensuring accessibility for all interested in experiencing this historical gem.

Activities and Support for Swift-Coles Historic Home

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, Swift-Coles Historic Home offers a variety of activities and is supported financially by various means. The home provides seasonal activities, including a haunted story tour in October and a Christmas Open House in December. It is also financially supported by the Friends of Swift-Coles Historic Home organization, private donations, and rental fees.

Additionally, there are fundraising initiatives and volunteer opportunities available to support the preservation and maintenance of this historic site.

  • Fundraising initiatives
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Seasonal activities

Swift-Coles Historic Home relies on the generous support of the community through various means to ensure its continued preservation and the offering of enriching experiences for visitors.

Seasonal Events at Swift-Coles Historic Home

The Swift-Coles Historic Home hosts a variety of seasonal events throughout the year, providing visitors with engaging and immersive experiences. Two notable events are the "Haunted Story Tours" in October and the "Christmas Open House" in December. The Haunted Story Tours offer a spine-chilling exploration of the home's history, with guides sharing eerie tales and legends that have been passed down through generations. Visitors can experience the home in a completely different light as they learn about its mysterious past. On the other hand, the Christmas Open House warmly welcomes guests with festive decorations, seasonal music, and a glimpse into the holiday traditions of the past. It's a delightful way to celebrate the season and learn about the history of the home amidst a joyful atmosphere.

Seasonal Event Month Description
Haunted Story Tours October Spine-chilling exploration of the home's history, guided by eerie tales and legends
Christmas Open House December Festive decorations, seasonal music, and a glimpse into holiday traditions of the past

Visiting Swift-Coles Historic Home

Hosting seasonal events that provide engaging and immersive experiences, the Swift-Coles Historic Home now invites visitors to explore its rich history and architectural significance through guided tours and special activities.

As a tourist attraction, the home offers the following experiences:

  • Guided Tours: Led by knowledgeable docents, visitors can delve into the historical preservation of the home, learning about its evolution from a small dog trot cabin to an expansive 16-room residence.
  • Special Activities: In addition to tours, the site hosts various special activities, such as seasonal events like the haunted story tour in October and the Christmas Open House in December, providing visitors with unique and enriching experiences.
  • Historical Significance: Visitors can witness firsthand the architectural transformation of the home, showcasing the shift from minimalist dogtrot styling to Queen Anne-influenced exteriors, representing a pivotal period in the Gulf Coast's architectural history.

Visiting Swift-Coles Historic Home promises an educational and immersive experience, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and architectural aficionados.

Location and Directions

Nestled in the picturesque Bon Secour, Alabama, the Swift-Coles Historic Home offers a glimpse into the rich history and architectural evolution of the Gulf Coast region.

Visitors can reach the site conveniently by car, as ample parking is available on the premises. For those utilizing public transportation, there is easy access to the home from the surrounding areas.

The historic home is situated in close proximity to major transportation routes, ensuring accessibility for visitors. Whether arriving via public transit or personal vehicle, visitors are greeted by the charm of the Gulf Coast region as they approach the Swift-Coles Historic Home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Most Popular Items in Nicholas Coles' Collection of Antiques at Swift-Coles Historic Home?

The most popular items in Nicholas Coles' collection of antiques at Swift-Coles Historic Home are the antique furniture and historical artifacts. These items have been meticulously curated and restored, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the past.

How Did the Swift Family Use the Sawmill They Constructed on the East Side of the Residence?

The Swift family utilized the sawmill they constructed on the east side of the residence to process timber for construction and furniture. This sawmill operation was crucial for their expansion and the architectural significance of the Gulf coast vernacular and Creole cottage design.

What Is the Significance of the Gulf Coast Vernacular and Creole Cottage Architecture in the Design of Swift-Coles Historic Home?

The design of Swift-Coles Historic Home is significant due to its incorporation of Gulf Coast vernacular and Creole Cottage architecture, reflecting the regional heritage. This design seamlessly blends historical elements, creating a captivating and authentic representation of the era.

Are There Any Legends or Ghost Stories Associated With Swift-Coles Historic Home?

Legends and ghost stories are part of the folklore surrounding Swift-Coles Historic Home, adding an air of mystery to its rich history. Visitors can explore the supernatural beliefs and hauntings associated with this historic landmark.

What Kind of Events Are Allowed to Be Hosted at Swift-Coles Historic Home?

Events at Swift-Coles Historic Home are subject to guidelines to ensure historical preservation. Venue rental includes seasonal activities, tours, and private events by appointment. Restrictions apply, and rental fees support the home's preservation.


Despite its age, Swift-Coles Historic Home offers a fresh perspective on the past. It invites visitors to step back in time and experience the rich history and architecture of the Gulf Coast. With its original 1910 appearance and seasonal activities, the property stands as a testament to its bygone era.

So, if you're looking for a new way to experience history, take a step back in time at Swift-Coles Historic Home. See the past come to life in the present.

Our Reader’s Queries

What is the history of the Swift Coles historic home?

Built in 1882, the Swift-Coles Historic House started as a humble four-room cabin on the banks of Schoolhouse Creek and the Bon Secour River. Originally constructed by Thomas Gavin, it was later acquired by Charles and Susan Swift in 1898. The couple, who were successful lumber business owners, made the house their home, adding to its historical significance.

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