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The Karsner-Kennedy House is significant because of its architectural characteristics. Benjamin F. Karsner (1800-1897) of Maryland married Sarah McCarter of Virginia in 1827. He was a prominent figure in Florence and at times he was a Justice of the Peace, Tax Assessor, and Commission Merchant. The Karsner home was constructed from 1828 to 1831. The two-story Federal Style cottage, uncommon to this area, was situated on Lot No. 7 according to the original plat of Florence as drawn by the Cypress Land Company. The house had 13-inch brick load-bearing exterior walls, broad pine plank floors and wood ceiling and roof framing. The main chimney was an integral part of the wall and not projected on the exterior. Other structures at the site included a smokehouse, root cellar, and cistern. The Karsner House was remodeled several times before complete restoration to its original style in the early 1970s. In all modifications, the original structure of brick and wood remained basically unchanged.
After Mr. Karsner's death in 1868, Mrs. Karsner remained in the house until her death in 1880. The Karsner family sold the house to Mary Fannie Hudson and it was used as a residential rental property.
(Continued from other side)In 1907, Dr. George W. Carroll purchased the property. A few years thereafter, the house became the property of his oldest daughter, Bertha Carroll, and her husband Oscar Y. Kennedy. In 1971, the lot and house, then in a very dilapidated contition, were sold to the Florence Housing Authority as a part of the Downtown Urban Renewal project. Unter the supervision of Karl Tyree, Jr., Executive Director of the Housing Authority, the history of the house was carefully researched, after which the structure was restored in 1971~1973 to its original style and condition. It became an addition to the Housing Authority's Central Office. From this location, Tyree coordinated numerous major urban development projects in Florence.
Throughout its long history, the Karsner-Kennedy House has stood as one of the finest examples of Federal Style domestic architecture in the Tennessee Valley. In 1971, it became the second local entry, after Wilson Dam, and the 17th Alabama entry to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.