Brief History of GainesRidge
GainesRidge Dinner Club and Catering Service has been providing this area with delicious food, good service, and gracious atmosphere, since October, 1985. The ante-bellum dwelling in which GainesRidge is located was built in the late 1820's. Its modified I-frame architecture, absence of a center hallway, and Federal style interior, show that it predates the Greek revival style of building, popular during the 1840's and 50's. A landmark, it was once the only two-story building between Black's Bluff and Allenton, two early settlements almost 50 miles apart. Certainly it is one of the oldest structures still standing in the area.
The origin of the actual builder has become obscure with time, but it is known that one of the early owners was Reverend Ebeneezer Hearn, a Methodist Circuit Rider, whose family gave GainesRidge its historical name, "The Hearn Place." Reverend Hearn was a soldier in the War of 1812 and is buried in the Camden Cemetery. In 1898, the Hearn Place passed into the family of its present owner, Betty Gaines Kennedy, who now operates the dinner club.
The name "GainesRidge" was chosen for the business because it is the maiden name of Mrs. Kennedy and her sister, Haden G. Marsh, who was co-owner during the founding and first year of operation. It is the same Gaines family of George Strother Gaines, Indian Factor and prominent citizen of west Alabama in the early 1800's, and his brother, General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who captured Aaron Burr and McIntosh Bluffs, and for whom Ft. Gaines in Mobile Bay is named. Gainesville, Gainestown, and the antebellum mansion Gaineswood, in Demopolis, were also named in honor of these well-known brothers.
Like most old houses, GainesRidge has its share of ghosts - the woman who screams and calls out, and has been seen floating past windows - the incessant crying of a baby - the aroma of pipe smoke in one room, when nobody in the house is smoking - and the reflected image of a tall, gaunt man, dressed in black, with a long beard. (Old Ebeneezer Hearn, himself?) But these seem to be harmless apparitions and only serve to enhance the charm that is GainesRidge.