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Pepper House

1852 (300 South Pepper Street)

The Presbyterian Church bought four acres of land that had originally been part of the Craig family’s two-hundred-acre Hans Meadow estate in 1845. Seven years later, in 1852, the Georgian-style Pepper House was built as the church manse. Reverend Nicholas Chevalier and his family were likely its first occupants. The church sold the house in 1858, as in their view it “did not answer the purpose for which it was intended.” The house is named for a later resident, Dr. William R. Pepper, who purchased it in 1873. Dr. William Pepper may have been the namesake of the popular soft drink, since Wade Morrison, who gave Dr Pepper (the soda) its name, lived and worked for a time in Christiansburg. There is no concrete evidence to support this tradition, however. Minnie Pepper inherited the house from her father William in 1901. She was a teacher and a graduate of the Montgomery Female Academy. Her brother, John William Pepper, had part-ownership of both a car dealership and a dairy.

Before the manse was built in the 1850s, the land here was the site of at least one hanging. In 1822, a man named either Isaac Mongold or Michael Montgole met his end on the gallows for either stealing a horse or killing his wife. H. H. Farmer recorded a second hanging on the Pepper House grounds in an 1890 article for the Montgomery News: according to him, a slave was hanged on this spot in 1809 for the murder of his master.

In 1983, the Montgomery Museum & Lewis Miller Regional Art Center bought the Pepper House from the Harkrader family, who had owned the property since 1948. The building currently houses historical exhibitions and the work of local artists. In 2013, the building’s roof was replaced for the second time in its history.

 

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Pepper House

The Montgomery Museum shortly after opening in the 1980s.
(photo courtesy of the D. D. Lester Collection)

 

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