The Merritt House
Galley and Garden traces its origins to a particular historic structure amid an equally historic time and setting. A classic "New South" city, Birmingham came out of the ground in the early 1870s. Its spectacular growth as a new industrial center, garnered international attention and became known as the " Magic City". By the early 1880s, less than a mile to the south of the city center, Birmingham's first "streetcar suburb," Highlands, was emerging as a posh neighbourhood for the growing numbers of entrepreneurs and professionals. Highland Avenue rapidly evolved from a dusty main street to an elegant Victorian boulevard lined with massive Queen Anne-styled homes replete with turrets and gingerbread fret work. Among these, constructed in 1908, was the home of the Merritt family.
Despite their elegance many of the original Highland Avenue homes were constructed from " mail-order plans"-nationwide, the vogue o the day. The Merritt's home likely was not. Though the name of its architect remains uncertain, architectural historians underscore unique features of the place rarely seen in even the most ornate "mail-order" homes of the times: the Merritt's home clearly was built as an enhanced version of the American Four-Square style with expansive porches, dormers and stained and leaded glass.
With numerous members of the Merritt family residing there until the 1970's, the home saw few changes. Afterwards, the house was occupied by a law firm for roughly a decade, with its numerous rooms becoming offices for the many partners. Galley and Garden committed to significant renovations as we opened in 2014 in order to modernise the interior and restore the exterior to its historical condition. In short, some 100 elegant Victorian homes adorned Highland Avenue. Today, with Birmingham's stunning transformation as a post-industrial city, only nine survive. One of these is the Merritt House, home of Galley and Garden.