Bluffs of Weiss


Mountain Property Daytrip to Ivy Green – The Birthplace of Helen Keller

If you are inspired by people that overcome overwhelming obstacles, then you surely will want to schedule a daytrip from your mountain property at The Bluff to visit Ivy Green. Helen Keller, the lady who showed immense courage to overcome her of her blindness and deafness while growing up in Ivy Green, a small southern estate of Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was one of the most famous people from Alabama, who was not only loved locally but also respected by the people of the entire world for her courage and willpower. A tour to Helen Keller’s birthplace at Ivy Green is truly thrilling as most of us have read about her since our school days.

Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 to Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller. The birth took place in the annex of Ivy Green, the Keller’s estate. Her father was an editor and publisher of The North Alabamian - a weekly newspaper. Helen’s mother belonged to the Adams family of New England. Helen was a normal and healthy baby when she was born, but a severe illness left her blind and deaf when she was only nineteen months old. She was taken to a number of doctors and hospitals, but nothing could restore her sight or hearing.

It was in the garden of Ivy Green that darkness began to melt from Helen’s mind, as Helen’s teacher, Miss Anne Sullivan was steadily pumping cool water into Helen’s hand and repeatedly tapping out a code of five letters on the other hand. After a painstaking struggle Helen learned the meaning of water. Thus Helen’s journey began and she ultimately graduated in 1904 from Radcliffe College.

Ivy Green – the cottage

Ivy Green was built in 1820, one year after Alabama became the 22nd state of the Union. It was built on a 640-acre tract, by David and Mary Fairfax Moore Keller, the grandparents of Helen Keller. Ivy Green looks like a simple home designed in typical southern architecture. The main house is of Virginia Cottage construction, with four large rooms on the first floor, bisected by a wide wall. There is an individual fireplace for each room. Upstairs consists of three rooms connected by a hall.

The old whistle path of Ivy Green takes you to the outdoor kitchen from the main home. The other attractions of this estate are the Lion’s Club International Memorial Fountain, the “Clearing and Herb Gardens, the Carriage House and the Gift Shop.

The birthplace cottage

Helen’s birthplace cottage is situated east of the main house and consists of a large room with a lovely bay window and a playroom. There are also the home and museum rooms, which are decorated with much of the original furniture of the Keller family. Among them you will find Miss Keller’s personal mementos, books and gifts. You will also find her complete library of Braille books and her original Braille typewriter.

Ivy Green – the name

The entire estate of Ivy Green is nestled under a cooling canopy of English boxwoods of 150 years old, magnolia, mimosa, and other trees, accented by roses, honeysuckle, and smilax. There is also an abundance of English Ivy, for which the estate receives its name – Ivy Green.

Since 1954 Helen Keller’s birthplace at Ivy Green has been a permanent shrine and Ivy Green was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ivy Green is located two miles off highways 72 and 43 in Colbert County, Tuscumbia, Alabama. The house is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. However, it is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.