In the 1920’s, Henry Stuart of Idaho was told by his doctor –mistakenly – he had just a year to live and should head to a warmer climate. Packing south to Fairhope, Stuart built and lived in a small domed hut for another 18 years convinced he could die any day. Walking about barefoot with a foot-long white beard, he named his home Tolstoy Park after his favorite Russian writer. His legacy is the 14 foot wide concrete hurricane-resilient domed hut, sunk two feet into the ground where a cool 57 degrees kept the place comfortable. Originally obscured on the 10 wooded acres Stuart bought when he moved here, growth north of Fairhope to Montrose finds the hut today in the parking lot of a real estate office. In the 1980’s, author Sonny Brewer discovered and became fascinated with the hut and its eccentric resident – researching Stuart’s story and ultimately writing the best-selling “Poet of Tolstoy Park” (even living in the hut himself during the final months of writing.) Today the hermit hut is on the National Register of Historic Places and restored as Stuart lived until his death in 1946. An iron skillet on the stove collects donations from visitors who sometimes come to meditate daily or even spend the night.
Hermit Hut of Montrose
22787 US Highway 98
Read New York Times Article on the Hermit Hut
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