South Huntsville Living

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South Huntsville History

South Huntsville has deep roots and many stories to tell. We hope that you will enjoy the articles that are to come. 
(You may visit previous articles through the drop down menu under the South Huntsville History tab in the left column of this page.)

While working on an upcoming article which will focus on the history and evolution of Whitesburg Drive, we realized we couldn’t move forward until sharing The Piedmont Stock Farm with you. Once again, the always gracious, Mrs. Sally Walker kindly agreed to act as host and tour guide. 

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 What Has More Wings Than a DragonFly?

The stone gates of Piedmont Farm mark the beginning of a journey down a 580 foot long, tree lined driveway, into a chapter of south Huntsville’s past. On a recent visit to the farm, Mrs. Sally Walker, daughter of Walton Fleming, shared childhood memories of growing up here. The more we learn about the history of our community, the more we fall in love with south Huntsville Living! 

The name, “Piedmont” comes from the French term for the lowlands which abut the Alps. The word literally means, “foothill,” or “the foot of the mountains.” This name is most appropriate for the sprawling, green land at the base of Garth Mountain’s western slope.

The property was owned by Winston Fearn Garth in the early 1900’s and was purchased by Walton Fleming in 1939. Walton and his wife, Martha, lived in the home and continually expanded it as their family grew. Each time a child was born, they added a new wing!

At the time of Fleming’s purchase, the structures standing after a previous fire were the silo, glass greenhouses at the edge of the fields, and a one room home. The greenhouses were sold to Roper’s Flowers, and the small home became the center of the Fleming's additions. The silo still stands. 

Today, the home is built around a courtyard with the older wings (toward the rear,) and the newest addition connected by generously proportioned, glass walled hallways. The courtyard marks the location of the original Garth home.



The newest addition to the estate, built in 1960, boasts Greek Revival style architecture which is in keeping with older wings of the home. This portion of the home includes a grand entry, and two formal living rooms on the lower level as well as bedrooms upstairs. 




Mrs. Walker fondly recalls her father working at the secretary desk, when he came home with farm receipts each evening.

Please enjoy a photographic summer’s afternoon stroll on Piedmont Farm with us, but don’t wander far from our side. We were fortunate not to have stumbled across the legendary, “Granny Grunt,” or her husband, “Gonna Grunt,” but they’re always at home in the woods behind the farm. For many decades, children have bravely set out to catch a glimpse of the ghastly couple, only to flee in fear at the sound of eerie and startling noises in the woods. Just in case you get lost though, one might escape the clutches of the Grunts with a soothingly sweet song or a Bible verse.

What better place to begin a stroll than on the front lawn? This is a lawn to behold! The expanse of cleanly mowed grass is surrounded by shade-giving trees and dotted with charming items which ignite the imagination of life on the farm many years ago. Millstones once used to grind grains, a wishing well that enchanted children and the stone entry to elaborate gardens, complete with ponds, are the first stops on our tour.


Just behind the main house are the old Carriage House and the children's playhouse. Take note of the beautiful tiles on the walls and ceilings of the Carriage House as well as the wooden sliding doors, all with their original hardware.

Further behind the home, lie the old silo and the barn. Wooden swings hanging from a high tree branch await the next visit from children eager to take flight or to just rest and chatter about their latest adventures.

The old Pecan grove is next to a large field where sheep grazed. Mr. Walton made a habit of bringing orphaned new born sheep home. His children happily adopted the little ones as pets and fed them with droppers filled with milk.

The well and two houses which were once tenant farmer homes are set at the edge of the woods. Just a word of caution . . . we should keep our voices down for a moment. The Grunts live just past that tree line!
On the southern side of the main house, we find the two tennis courts of Flembledon and two milk barns. Set atop a small hill children often crossed while leaving on a horse ride, the milk barns stand full of charm and offering a beautiful view of sunset in the western sky.
This visit to the Piedmont Farm brings to mind that south Huntsville began in much the same way that she remains. Our community has grown and prospered, but we've retained many of the values that were established by the first families who lived a simpler farm-life. We remain focused on children, family, faith, an honest day's work, and outdoor recreation. 

Most of all, we hope to always offer a big smile and gracious southern hospitality to newcomers as Mrs. Sally Fleming Walker has by sharing with us another piece of the history of our community. 
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