Fire severely damages historic home in Twickenham district of downtown Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A historic home in the Twickenham district of downtown Huntsville was severely damaged in a fire on Sunday.

An architect who helped restore the home explained to WHNT News 19 what the loss means for the community.

“The Twickenham district has our oldest houses and so it’s a collection of houses dating from the early 19th century through the mid 20th century, so there are some really wonderful examples of historic architecture. We think of it as a museum of architecture,” said architect Frank Nola.

In a museum of architecture, the Davis-Rawson house at 426 Randolph Avenue was a masterpiece.

“It was a very good example of a large 1880’s Queen Anne style house,” said Nola.

Originally built in 1889, the home never stood alone. It was one of two built at the same time for sisters, but now only one of the houses remain.

The home was destroyed in a fire early Sunday morning. Huntsville Fire Captain Frank McKenzie said it took six crews two hours to put out the flames. One firefighter was injured and taken to Huntsville Hospital.

The homeowners were out of town when the fire happened.

It’s not yet clear how the fire started. What is clear is that the loss of the home is a loss for the entire community.

“Each one of these houses is very precious and when you lose one it can’t be replaced,” said Nola. “You can try to build a replica but it’s hard to get the sense of history without kind of building something that’s completely fake.”

Members of the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission said they aren’t sure if the homeowners will choose to rebuild, but the commission will offer assistance in whatever way possible.

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