Winston Smith T remembers Town House Restaurant
*Winston Smith T died in 2007. His family has graciously permitted the “Observer” to reprint some of his stories about old Opelika. It is preserved here in his own style.
The Town House Restaurant was one of the best restaurants ever in Opelika, and the structure that housed it was one of the most beautiful homes of historic Opelika: the Burt home.
For the restaurant, Dean Humbracht was the up-front hostess, and her mother, Mrs. Houston – a superb cook – oversaw the kitchen. I particularly remember the line at noon on Sunday when Auburn students and locals lined up for frequently more than a block waiting to get in to eat.
People came from all over to eat at the Town House. I remember that Vera’s mother came from Columbus with friends almost every week.
The house, at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and North Sixth Street, was a beautiful old colonial home with tall columns. It’s a shame that such a fine old structure was demolished.
Mrs. J.A. (Florence) Burt lived in the house many years until she died. Mrs. Burt was a tall, thin, impressive lady. I remember her particularly when the United Daughters of the Confederacy put on their annual programs at the auditorium at Clift High. Mrs. Burt was usually center stage, and she clapped vigorously whenever the names of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were mentioned.
Miss Florence was a Bedell, and she was either the sister or the first cousin of Mr. H.A. Bedell, who lived on the corner of Second Avenue and North Eighth Street.
I don’t remember Mr. Burt, but I am told that he was a good deal shorter than his wife. Mr. Burt and my grandfather, John Smith T, were partners in the farm supply business briefly around 1900.
The Burts had two children, a son and a daughter. Both went to Birmingham. James Burt Jr., married a very wealthy woman, a Woodward of the Woodward Iron Works family. James was a vice-president of the First National Bank of Birmingham.
They had a son my age, James III. They called him Bobo. I remember when he visited his grandmother in Opelika. I have tried and tried to find out whatever happened to him but had no luck.
The daughter, Virginia, married an Evans from Birmingham. Their daughter, Bedell Evans, was a college roommate of Vera’s (my wife’s) older sister.
Bedell Evans had a first cousin, Mary Stuart Evans, who married Bill Horsley of Opelika and lived here for a number of years.
Bedell Evans married a Holder who was in business with Bill Triplett – the Jack’s Hamburger chain – for a while. She had grandchildren who played on Little League teams with my grandchildren in Birmingham. Vera Britton (my daughter) would see her at games occasionally.