Burritt on the Mountain is a historic mansion and park overlooking Huntsville, Alabama. The mansion on site was the retirement home of William H Burritt. This eccentric home, built in 1934, does not adhere to any one architectural style, but is a mix of art deco, beaux arts, federal and classic revival design. The wood and stone home, built in 1934, was uniquely shaped to take advantage of the surrounding views. The mansion is complete with historical artifacts, including the restored DeSoto automobile belonging to Dr. Burritt.
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The museum hosts rotating exhibits, most of which educate guests on the history and culture of northern Alabama. An historical area of the park offers six authentic early 19th-century structures, including a church from 1884, originally located in downtown Madison, Alabama, a blacksmith shop, and an old schoolhouse building. A Tennessee barn from the 1890s is also part of the exhibit, as is the Joel Eddins House, an authentic log home from 1810. Costumed interpreters educate visitors on farm life in the early 1800s through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and conversations. Authentic artifacts and live animals such as goat, sheep, horses, and chickens bring the farm exhibit to life. Visitors learn about each animal’s purpose on the farm as well as Dr. Burritt’s penchant for goat’s milk later in life. Nature trails surrounding the park offer hiking on a variety of terrain. The Rock Bluff Trail circles Round Top Mountain, an outcrop of the Monte Sano plateau, and offers spectacular views. Discovery trails connect Rock Bluff with some of the Monte Sano State Park trails, such as the Trough Springs Trail or the Big Cove Turnpike Trail. Hikers may pass historical coalmines, limestone rock formations, wildflower fields, and wooded forests. The nature trails are popular with birders and are listed on the Huntsville and Madison County Birding Trail. A welcome center near the museum’s main parking lot provides restrooms, water, and snacks for hikers.
History: William Henry Burritt was a homeopathic physician born in Huntsville in 1869. When his wife Josie passed in 1933, he inherited the majority of her estate in Huntsville, where he built himself a retirement home on 167 acres known as Round Top Mountain. Dr. Burritt lived in the home, farming and raising goats, until his death in 1955. Having no heirs to pass the estate to, he instead donated the mansion and property to the City of Huntsville to become its first museum. The 19th-century historic park was added to the land by the city between 1964 and 2007, in the interest of preserving the structures and educating the public. Dr. Burritt’s mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The Joel Eddins House, a 19th-century hall and parlor log home in the historic park, is the only other structure in the park to be listed on the National Register, and received this designation in 1996.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Visitors can browse through the mansion, historic park, and trails on a self-guided tour or guided group tour. Historical demonstrations take place in the historic park each Saturday, including blacksmithing demonstrations, wool spinning, and more. For children, a variety of day camps, school group tours, and curriculum guides are available. For adults, Folklife Workshops teach traditional skills and crafts such as leather working and basket weaving. Distance learning programs bring video conference workshops to both kids and adults. Featured events include the Folklife Festival, which showcases artists and craftspeople working in traditional 19th and early 20th-century crafts and arts. The family-friendly festival offers demonstrations, traditional Appalachian dancing, and open hearth cooking. Spring Farm Days offer family-friendly activities such as old-fashioned games, quilting, and canning contests. Interactive demonstrations include sheep shearing, the use of antique farm equipment, butter churning, and mattress stuffing. Blues with a View is an outdoor summer musical performance. The sunset concert offers food, drink, and entertainment. Guests roast marshmallows, enjoy dancing, and the view. The winter holidays bring a variety of events to the museum, such as Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas, a visit from Santa at the mansion, and the Sander’s Family Christmas Play, an annual musical celebration. Holiday Magic Dinners are an annual fundraising event that offers chef-catered dinners in the mansion as well as at one of the cozy log cabins in the historic park.
3101 Burritt Drive SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, Phone: 256-536-2882