William Kroger House

Dublin Core


William Kroger House


National Register of Historic Places
"Tidewater Cottages in the Tennessee Valley" Thematic nomination


National Register of Historic Places property - William Kroger House - south side of Smithsonia – Rhodesville Road about 4 miles northeast of Smithsonia

The actual construction date of the William Kroger House is unknown but stylistic details place construction around 1830. The property is significant as an example of an early housing style in northern Alabama and for its association with early settlement patterns in the same area. The story and a half brick gable end house was built for William and Martha Kroger, both native of Virginia, with simple lines in a style that became known as a “tidewater cottage”. Martha’s family’s migration is known and entails time in Tennessee before the settlement in Alabama. This was a common settlement pattern during the early 19th century and often included Alabama as only a temporary residence before moving on to Mississippi or Texas in search of better land. The section of Lauderdale County where William and Martha Kroger settled is known as the “Colbert Reserve” or “the Bend” west of Florence in a fertile area north of the Tennessee River. The property also contains a historic board and batten outbuilding and a small overgrown plantation cemetery southwest of the house.
Tidewater cottages in the Tennessee Valley of this configuration also followed migratory patterns to earlier settlement areas in Virginia and Maryland. Robert Gamble in Historic Architecture of Alabama states that the 19th century versions of the style, like those in the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama, tend to have smaller chimneys and a shallower roof pitch than the colonial examples in Virginia and Maryland. Tidewater cottages are identified by their simplicity and their height to length ratio (double cube) with the house being twice as long as it is high. The Kroger House is a brick double pile form with the depth ratio mimicking that of the front elevation. Another example of the Tidewater cottage form in Lauderdale County can be found in the Peter F. Armistead house on Waterloo Road 3 miles west of Florence.
The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as part of a “Tidewater Cottages in the Tennessee Valley” thematic nomination. More information about the house can be found on the website of the Alabama Historical Commission or the National Register data base of the National Park Service.


Missy Brown, University of North Alabama


National Register nomination (#86001542)


Alabama Cultural Resources Survey