Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ivy Green, The Birthplace of Helen Keller-Tuscumbia AL

Tuesday, after lazing around a good  part of the morning, I twisted Rick’s arm into taking me to see Ivy Green, the home where Helen Keller was born and raised.  He wasn’t totally excited about this, but ended up enjoying the tour :)

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If you’ve seen the movie, The Miracle Worker, you’ll know most of the story. If you haven’t seen the movie, I encourage you to do so.  Helen Keller is one of the most inspirational women in history. What she accomplished in her lifetime is mind boggling.

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Ivy Green was built on 640 acres in 1820 by Helen’s grandparents. It was the 2nd home built in Tuscumbia. The city of Tuscumbia acquired Ivy Green on a 10 acre tract in 1951. In 1954, it was made a permanent shrine and  became included in the National Register of Historic Sites.

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The main house was a 2 story Virginia cottage style with 4 large rooms downstairs and 3 rooms upstairs. The downstairs was divided by a wide hallway.

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The upstairs consisted of 3 rooms joined by a center hall. To the right, was her brother’s bedroom. The center was the trunk room, a sort of closet/sewing room and the room at the end of the hall was shared by Helen and Anne.

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The birthplace cottage was originally built as an office, but when Helen’s father brought his second wife, Helen’s mother, to live at Ivy Green, he converted it to a bridal suite. It was here that Helen was born, perfectly normal, in 1880. At the age of 19 months, she became very ill and totally lost her sight and her hearing. It was not until the age of 7 that Anne Sullivan, the Miracle Worker, entered Helen’s life.

The famous “pump” where Helen learned her first word, water, is still there.  That day changed her life forever. The rest, as they say, is history. Helen accomplished a great many things in her lifetime, including being the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor degree. She did this, graduating with honors, at Radcliffe, no less. She could read Braille in 5 different languages, earned advanced degrees, wrote several books and traveled the world.

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The grounds, themselves, are dedicated to Helen. They include monuments given from foreign countries, a Lion’s Club memorial garden and the Moon tree.

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The Moon tree is a Loblolly Pine planted as a seedling from a seed flown to the moon and back on Apollo 14 in 1971.

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Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968. Much has been written about Helen’s life. Anne Sullivan’s life makes interesting reading also. If you’d like to read more about Helen and Ivy Green, start here. Then do some Google searches. You’ll find plenty of material. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. Great tour and information. We have driven by there often and never stopped including just few days ago. Next time, we will stop:)

  2. Great post about an inspiring woman who overcame amazing odds.
    Looks like a great place to visit.

  3. It really is remarkable what she was able to accomplish despite her impairment. Thanks for the tour.

  4. Wonderful information and great post! Will have to add this to our ever-growing list of places to visit!


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