Alabama’s Historic Looney House severely damaged by fire—how you can help

Looney House
The Looney House, as it looked before the fire. (Visit St. Clair)

On Saturday, August 6, the historic Looney House near Ashville suffered severe damage from a fire that broke out that morning. While authorities are actively working to determine the cause of the fire, locals are mobilizing to save the beloved, historic structure.

Keep reading to learn how you can help save the Looney House.

UPDATE — Buy a T-Shirt, help restore the Looney House! Click here to help support the St. Clair County Historical Society.

About the Looney House

Built circa 1820, the John Looney Pioneer House Museum is thought to be one of the oldest standing two-story dogtrot houses in Alabama. The home was first built by Henry Looney and his father, John, after Henry returned from fighting under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.

According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, the home remained in the Looney family until 1892. In 1972 the owner donated the Looney House to the St. Clair County Historical Society, who restored the building and turned it into a museum.

The August 6th Fire

Looney House
Looney House on fire. (Office of the Sheriff – St. Clair County Alabama)

IMPORTANT: The President of the St. Clair County Historical Society is requesting that the public stay away from the property while fire investigators and law enforcement investigate the site.

On August 6, the Office of the Sheriff of St. Clair County posted the following on social media:

“The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Patrol Division and Ashville Police Department were dispatched this morning to a structure fire call at the John Looney House on Greensport Rd. in Ashville.

Ashville Fire Department, Steele Fire Department and Shoal Creek Fire Department all responded and worked feverishly to save this historical landmark.

The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division and State Fire Marshall were also on scene.

If anyone has any information about the fire please call Investigator Greg Watson at 205-884-3333 or State Fire Marshall Riley Foshee at 334-241-4166.”

Office of the Sheriff of St. Clair County

As seen in photos shared by James Spann on Facebook, the damage caused by the fire is extensive and severe. The interior and roof of the main building are heavily damaged, while it appears that the kitchen building has completely crumbled.

How you can help

Despite the severity of the damage, St. Clair County residents aren’t ready to give up on the beloved historic home.

“All I can say at this moment is that the historical society is not giving up on our house. It is not a loss, we are just having to wait until we are cleared and the investigation is concluded to start moving forward with our next plans.

Thank you for understanding at this difficult time. We are all heartbroken beyond words.”

Sandi Playford Maroney, President, St. Clair County Historical Society

Currently, the board of the St. Clair County Historical Society is determining the next steps for the home, which may include a fundraiser for repairs. This article will be updated once plans are finalized.

Follow the St. Clair County Historical Society to stay up-to-date on the renovation process.

Have you visited the Looney House? Tag us at @bhamnow to share your photos!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

Articles: 843