In 1850, planter James A. Ware purchased half of a block on South Hull Street as the residential town moved southward. Five years later, he sold the property for a considerably higher sum than he paid indicating that he had improved the property with the construction of a dwelling. Banker James A. Farley was the next owner-occupant and his family continued to live there until 1905 when the house became Starke’s School for Girls. In 1908 the school closed, and the next year Horace Hood, newspaperman, one-time state legislator, and sheriff of Montgomery County became the owner. Two Hood daughters lived in the house until 1956 when it was purchased by an insurance company that occupied the building until the late 1980s.
As the Italianate style drifted southward as the Ware-Farley-Hood House was being built, cupolas, fretwork and other adornments added great variety and interest to the streetscape. By the time Hood purchased the house the Neoclassical Revival style had bought columns back to fashion, and a number of Montgomerians were remodeling their homes. Mrs. Susan Hood was stylish and also wanted to relocate the house on the lot and within two months with mules and many hands, the deed was accomplished.
After the move she renovated the dwelling, removing the porch and adding stylish columns and a dormer. Her daughters inherited the property in 1936 and the two ladies lived there for many years. In 1956, an insurance company occupied the building until its late 1980s acquisition by Retirement Systems of Alabama.
A large two story structure presents multiple challenges and negotiations to maneuver a possible route noting tree limbs, power lines, and traffic patterns. Lowering the city’s 911 emergency line proved to be the most complicated. Early on a chilly October Saturday in 1989, the sturdy old structure left its foundation, the second time it had experienced this wrenching ordeal in its 139 years.
A member of the Farley family provided a photograph from a catalog of the Stark’s School for Girls which acted as a resource for the architects and builders that planned the restoration of the house. It once again looks as it did with fretwork adorned porches and a stunning replicated cupola.
The interior, designed with a central hall, has a handsome staircase, and double parlors lead into a dining room which extends across the rear. The Ware-Farley-Hood House is available for special events.