Jayfe Ware residence
The Jayfe Ware residence is a 1,800 square-foot Queen Anne-style farmhouse, built by Jayfe Ware around 1905 on his 100-acre farm in eastern Jefferson County. The house is located on Old Springville Road in Clay. The large barn, near the house, was a triple-level structure clad in unpainted boards.
The City of Clay purchased the farm, including the house and barn, in 2003 for $750,000 and developed plans to construct an athletic complex and nature park on the site.
The city rejected several proposals to preserve the structures, including one from the Clay Legacy Association, led by Pam Trylor, out of concern for their dilapidated condition and the safety of children at the park. The Alabama Historical Commission indicated that the homestead could be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. and included it on its 2005 "Places in Peril" list.
Resident Richard Aldridge mounted a last-ditch campaign in May, 2006 aiming to save the house only, but the money he raised was pledged for preservation of both buildings, as an ensemble emblematic of the town's rural heritage.
Meanwhile, the barn was sold to Tim Head for $485. Head supported Aldridge's efforts to preserve the structure, offering to sell it back to the city and help with the work, but the city did not agree that preserving the barn was feasible. Head began taking it apart on July 8, 2006. He planned to use the lumber in a new barn he was building on his land in Blount County.
After passing on Aldridge's plan in May, the farmhouse was listed on the government property auction website govdeals.com. The listing was removed in late July when the Council agreed to give resident Sheryl Spivey 60 days to raise money and prepare a restoration plan for the house.
The plan proposed by Sheryl Spivey in October 2006 was for a $131,000 restoration of the home with its eventual conversion into Clay's first public library. Richard Aldredge was contracted to carry out the restoration. He removed a later addition, replaced the roof, shored up the foundations and restored the front and back porches. Public funding came from the city of Clay and from discretionary Jefferson County funds allocated by Bettye Fine Collins. In March 2009 the city approved a $49,750 contract with Diversified Interiors for interior renovations.
The library occupied the farmhouse beginning later that year, gradually expanding into former closet and kitchen spaces. In 2015 the city was denied a termite bond on the building, and began setting aside money to build a new facility. The library moved into a new 6,600 square foot building closer to Clay Elementary School on June 2, 2018.
- Debro, Anita (October 11, 2006) "Embattled Clay home may soon become public library." The Birmingham News
- Tidmore, Tina (July 17, 2006) "A fourth plan for house will be allowed." Clay News Forum
- Martin, Wayne (July 9, 2006) "Clay barn going down, house bids coming in." The Birmingham News
- Debro, Anita (June 24, 2006) "Clay rejects plan to spare historical house." The Birmingham News
- Debro, Anita (May 29, 2006) "Clay man seeks funds to rescue historic site." The Birmingham News
- Gregory, Melanie Betz and Ellen Mertins (Fall 2005) "Places in Peril: Alabama's Endangered Historic Landmarks for 2005." Alabama Heritage
- Debro, Anita (September 10, 2008) "More money sought to restore house for Clay library." The Birmingham News
- Bouma, Katherine (March 11, 2009) "Clay, Alabama council approves funding for library in historic Ware House." The Birmingham News
- Megginson, Chris (April 19, 2017) "Clay Public Library brings charm, books to community" Cahaba Sun
- Megginson, Chris (November 15, 2017) "Clay to build new library in 2018" Cahaba Sun