Tolstoy Park

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Henry Stuart House
Tolstoy Park Sept 2012 01.jpg
The house in September 2012
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Location22787 AL 98, Montrose, Alabama
Coordinates 30°33′23″N87°53′38″W / 30.55639°N 87.89389°W / 30.55639; -87.89389
Arealess than one acre
Built1926 (1926)
ArchitectHenry Stuart
NRHP reference No. 05000841 [1]
Added to NRHPOctober 27, 2006

Tolstoy Park (also known as the Henry Stuart House and the Hermit House) is a historic residence in Montrose, Alabama. The house was built by Henry Stuart, an Englishman who had emigrated to the United States as a child. Stuart was living in Nampa, Idaho, when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and advised to move to a warmer climate to live out his days. In 1923, he purchased 10 acres (4 ha) outside Fairhope, Alabama, which he named Tolstoy Park.

Stuart began building a circular, domed hut in 1925, pouring each concrete block himself. Construction was completed in less than a year, although delayed by a hurricane in September 1926. The house is about 14 feet (4.2 m) in diameter and sunk 2 feet (61 cm) into the ground. Six top-hinged windows circle the building, and there were two skylights in the roof that are now permanently closed. Stuart sought to live a simple life, growing much of his own food and weaving rugs on a loom he brought from Idaho. He kept a guestbook for visitors to sign; notably, lawyer Clarence Darrow visited the hut six times. Stuart left Alabama in 1944, moving to Oregon to live with his son, where he died in 1946.

Today, the hut and a large oak tree are all that remain of Stuart's estate; a parking lot for a real estate office surrounds the hut. [2] A novel based on Stuart's life, The Poet of Tolstoy Park , was published in 2005. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. [1]

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  1. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  2. Wilson, Shaun. "Stuart, Henry, House". National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. National Park Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.See also: "Accompanying photos". Archived (PDF) from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.