Piedmont Historical Society
The Piedmont Historical Society welcomes you to Piedmont, Alabama! We hope you enjoy your stay at the Roberts Home Museum “Night in the Museum” Hotel. Yes, you are staying in a museum for the night; just like the 2006 movie “Night at the Museum” featuring actors Ben Stiller and the late Robin Williams!
This museum has been known as the Dailey-McCollister Roberts Home. Major Jacob Forney Dailey built this home for his daughter, Mary Catherine Dailey, around 1880. Mary Catherine was wed to Alexander McCollister. At this time it was the only house in the area of West Ladiga Street. This is one of Piedmont’s oldest and best preserved homes. Mr. and Mrs. McCollister had two daughters, Grace Moody McCollister born in 1884 and Addie McCollister Barlow born in 1886.
Major Dailey built the Episcopal Church in his son-in-law’s yard around 1884. Mr. McCollister was Mayor of Cross Plains when the name of the town was changed to Piedmont. Deeds in Miss Ruby Roberts’ possession show that Robert McKee and wife (editor of the Piedmont Enquirer) sold the house to Charles B. and Rosena May Cooke in 1899. Charles and Rosena sold it to Charles and Susan Cook in 1900. This couple sold it to the J. E. Roberts in 1905, and it has remained in the Roberts family till 1999. For some reason the Cooks left Piedmont hurriedly, even leaving their furniture in the house. When Mr. Roberts purchased the house, vines were growing inside and the furniture was still in it.
This beautiful home represents some of the finest woodwork of the period. The exterior of the house has remained virtually unchanged. The front features a beautiful bay window with four windows and a porch that extends around the house (front porch removed to allow relocation to present site). Please note the original wavy glass. The bannisters and columns contain decorative gingerbread carving which adds to the beauty of the home. A smaller porch extends on the western side of the home. The house is painted a soft gray (presently gray clad vinyl siding) with a snow white trim, a color that might have existed on the newly completed structure.
Two owners of the home, Miss Leola Roberts and Miss Ruby Roberts, were educators in the Piedmont City School District. Students of Miss Leola have fond memories of her oral reading of The Secret Garden each day after lunch. Many of them remember that she taught their parents as well, for she had a long and successful 40 years in the local schools.
Miss Ruby Roberts bequeathed the home to her church the Piedmont First Baptist Church upon her death on August 1999, to be used for the kingdom of God with a written desire that “the residence not be torn down or moved for 25 years”.
The First Baptist Church of Piedmont (located one block west of the Roberts Home Museum) voted in January 2015 to tear this historical home down to make way for a parking lot on the west side of the church. The Piedmont Historical Society, an IRS qualified 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization that operates the Southern Train Depot Museum, began a preservation project by raising funds and support to first relocate the home to its present site (75 Southern Boulevard) with the purchase of old railroad bed land from Norfolk Southern Railroad Company and second to renovate the home to its original Victorian beauty as a safe public museum facility to display artifacts of Piedmont’s history and as a unique “Night In the Museum” Hotel for bikers and hikers of the Chief Ladiga Trail and visitors traveling through the Appalachian Mountains. Please look out the front door to see Dugger Mountain, second highest point in the state of Alabama.
Again, welcome to the Roberts Home Museum and Hotel. May you enjoy your visit to Piedmont!