Chelsea mansion auction overflows with treasures

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2007

After recently purchasing a large Chelsea home off Shelby County 55, some new homeowners got a small slice of history and a big education.

John Saunders recently purchased the four-story home and with it, the home&8217;s unexpected treasures. Scattered throughout the residence are over 600 pieces of American and European antiques, many of which are more than 100 years old.

&8220;It&8217;s amazing,&8221; said Barbara Murdock, resident and business partner of Saunders.

Some of the memorabilia included parts from soda fountain shops and old post offices; general store feed bins and a barber chair and pole.

Artwork by John Rogers and antique furniture help to round out the collection.

The pieces chronicle over 100 years of American, European and Birmingham history.

&8220;It&8217;s been an education,&8221; said Murdock.

The antiques will be auctioned off on March 10 and 11.

&8220;This has been an honor for my company to be able to conduct the auction,&8221; said Tommy Morrison of Cadle Auction and Associates, the company managing the auction.

Margery Preston and her husband originally owned the antiques and the Mansion, which was built in the late 1980s.

Preston, an avid collector, accumulated multiple pieces from around the world and displayed them in the home.

&8220;Ms. Preston was a traveler and collector,&8221; said Murdock. &8220;She and her husband went all over the world collecting pieces.&8221;

Eventually, Preston sold the home to Ray Pate, who was able to keep the artifacts in the home.

Saunders became the third owner of the estate after purchasing it from Pate.

With its new owners, the mansion will be turned into an extension of Murdock Manor, a Talladega-based bed and breakfast owned and operated by Murdock.

Murdock plans to open the the new business by early summer and says she hopes the Murdock Mansion will &8220;become the country club of the area.&8221;

Murdock and her husband, Cortez Ashton, live in the mansion when they are not residing in Talladega.

For information on the auction, contact Tommie Morrison at 668-0204